The way couples perceive, improve and strengthen their relationship has surprisingly changed over time. A successful marriage is pretty much like a Car. When it is new it hardly needs any work, looks great and will last a while until it slowly begins to wear. It could go out of style too. When things start to break down in a marriage, it is time for rejuvenation. The only difference is that in the case of marriages, you have to do the servicing yourself. Marriages don’t come with warranties; you have to do all the repair work. The sooner you realise this, the better life gets for you and your partner.

Read this ultimate guide on how to strengthen your bond with your partner. Sometimes you can read all the books in the world and you still fail to mend a broken relationship. Sometimes just a small thought provoking article revives you and gives you all that positivity and hope. I recently read the book by Dr Gothman-‘Seven principles of making a marriage work’. This has to be one of the best self-help books out there. His research and years of study on couples make his work so much satisfying and reliable.

There are some widely known myths about marriages that have done more harm than good. One such myth is -‘Men are from Mars and women are from Venus’. This is such an unsound and defective belief system and quite delusional if you ask me.

Yes, they are two different genders and so there are bound to be differences. After an in-depth research, Dr Gothman claims that 70 % of the men and women, when questioned about traits, said that they want to see a best friend in their partner.Since both the genders want the same from each other, this really proves that when it comes to relationships and expectations,  they are on the same side of the coin.

So, let’s analyse some scenarios and see what makes a relationship successful

1)   You had an argument with your partner and now you have to somehow barge out to see your friend and basically share!

For me, marriage is a deep-rooted friendship. I have been married for 9 years now, every time I come back from work I have to go through my day with him without even him asking me about it. Although I have a few good friends, I am one of those people who will never share with my friends  ‘My Grief’. Human nature is such that people judge and form opinions. I love my partner too much to shatter his image in a moment of heat and allow anyone to form an impression about him. I see my husband as my best friend, every time I have a strife, we don’t stop, we continue to squabble until we are both on the same side. He is someone who I can trust ,will not judge me for what I say, all my madness and moods will be welcomed with an open arm , accepting that I am only human and I have every right to be angry/upset. If he does, at any point, feel that I am getting hysterical, he will say so without beating around the bush. I know him, and he knows me. I believe that the couples in a marriage are like two boards leaning on one another. If one leans over too hard, the other will fall over. We continually are practising this balancing act every day.

2) ‘Oh, so you never have conflicts and ……..how long have you been married for? ’

I read this quote the other day, “don’t worry when I fight with you, worry when I stop; it means there is nothing left worth fighting for”.

Happy marriages are not those that don’t have collisions, Happy marriages are those where issues are resolved calmly, without screaming, without dragging in any past mistakes, without resorting to name calling and with as much patience as possible. Might seem a bit unrealistic as human nature is such that anger is an automated response when you are agitated. Just like you learn different skills in life, it is absolutely vital for you to learn to deal with your emotions in a better way. It all boils down to the fact that if you love someone, you will go that extra mile to calm yourself down. It is inevitably the rough waters of life that you go through, that are meant to turn you into a smoother, shinier stone. Never stop learning, and never stop improving.

3) “I had the last word, I won.”

When either person in a relationship tries to win, you both lose. Creating one ‘I win, you lose’ battlefield when having arguments is a huge setback in a relationship. You are both in it together and both need to make it work. It is not me against you; it is us against setbacks in life, us against miseries, and us against the storms. You could be doing this without even realising it. See what this means:

You are justifying your position rather than listening to your partners complain.

You continue to talk while she is upset.

You continue to play the blame game until your partner gives in to accept that it’s their mistake.

You walk away while your partner is fuming and angry.

You tell your partner to not feel the way they are feeling.

If you are someone who I am talking about, come out of the battlefield and hear your partner out. You might be able to rescue your love.

4) ” I cannot stand him/her another second”.

Taking your argument as the end of the world signals a shaken marriage. A few more of these conflicts will eventually result in a divorce. Everything has a solution. Things do work out, the pieces do fall into place and life does get better for most people. If you look around, there are people who don’t have a partner, and then, of course, there are people who have no food or a house to live. Bring that ray of optimism in your relationship when you have had an argument and laugh it off. Be thankful and feel blessed. Maybe you were just stressed and you let the heat out. I sometimes start laughing at the end of a heated argument, because that’s when I realise that I was being unreasonable and silly.

5) “Oh, I don’t think he/she would care, leave it….”

When you start living parallel lives , where you have lost all interest in revealing to your partner what is bothering you, you are treading downhill. From the once really committed and exciting couples, you have now started leading your own life and have fallen apart. There are so many couples I know that are already doing this without even comprehending it. You could be a very self-reliant and self-sufficient  person but when you start keeping your problems to yourself, I am sorry to say, you are living a single life. You are a lonely person and something needs to be done about it. You cannot just be involved in your own endeavours, tasks, chores and concerns. You have already withdrawn from one another and still say that we are together. You began growing apart in subtle ways and now as soon as you realise, you need to subtly narrow the distance and talk to your partner about being in it together and finding ways to revive.

 

Keeping the spark alive.

If you have come this far and read this article, I bet you have a healthy relationship, been together for a few years now and are sensible enough to be looking for ways to keep the spark alive.

Let’s admit it. Life will not stay the same in a long term committed relationship. The passion is bound to decrease, the heat will eventually simmer down and you are not going to be the same person you were a few years ago. Your passionate love is now just a companionate love and sex is just a physical need. Let’s admit, we are all biologically hard-wired to crave variety. Sex, in a long-term and committed relationship, involves the same partner every single day. No human can maintain the same fervour or avidity that existed when the love was unexplored and new. Once you have let this sink into your thought process, it is time for us to navigate into how you can sensibly keep the spark alive. Clearly, just two pointers should be enough to start servicing your relationship.

Communication that matters

When you are married for a few years and you have gone through the ups and downs of life together, you don’t just see a lover in your partner, you see a buddy, someone who is there for you day and night. How you communicate with your partner will speak volumes of your relationship with them. What pickles the couple together aren’t really the beautiful words of love. They are nice and needed, but not really what every woman/man wants. It is what Dr Gothman describes as ‘adding value to your emotional bank account’. His twist is quite unique and I would love to share this with you. For instance let’s say, a husband is watching his favourite programme and his wife is by the kitchen door sorting the garden pots. Wife says-“Oh, look isn’t this a lovely flower?”. Husband responds-“Is it Pink, I saw it this morning?” They both get back to what they were doing. What the husband just did is responded to his wife’s bid and deposited some credit in their mutual love bank account. These little moments add up and keep reminding them the love they share. According to Dr Gothman, this is more like a verbal touch, it is like telling your partner that I am in the same space as you and aware of your presence. If for instance, the husband ignored the bid, this draws from the account, and lowers the deposit, there are more chances of conflicts lurking in. when you do have a conflict, it could easily be resolved when you have enough credit(moments)  in your mutual bank account. It will also liven up the spark that we are looking for in a relationship.

Isn’t this a lovely observation?

“I am not an attention seeker”

This is not for the Woman in the relationship, but Men want to be appreciated too.

You had a stressful day at work, you were really busy and you came home to find that your wife also had a stressful day and she was also very busy. What do you do?

You must respect the fact that you have both come in shattered. Accept the fact that today is unusual and so you are both in it together, so you say, “Honey, I will clean up and you can fix the dinner”. Appreciating your partner for understanding you is absolutely vital. In this day and age when most women have come this far and have entered the male workforce, they still want to be acknowledged, it is not seeking attention, it is demanding for what is rightfully hers. Appreciation and paying attention to little clues of love is an ever-evolving process that needs to be in every relationship, no matter what. If you say that you are a busy person, you will have to be prepared for the consequences that come with under-appreciating you partner or not giving them the kind of attention they are longing for. It is every couple’s responsibility to work on showing love and appreciation to the other. According to the 2012 statistics from the journal of marital and family therapy, 14 % of married women have cheated compared to 22 % of married men. Although women are not exceeding men, what is worth observing is that when a woman cheats, it is for emotional intimacy and appreciation whereas when a man cheats, it is for physical pleasures. Why would you let someone you love so much, slip out of your arms just because….you are busy!

I hope this article is an eye-opener for some of us. Let us all now get off our gadgets and start working on the love that we once had. Excuses will always be there, Life will always be hard. Let us incorporate love and understanding into every fold of life, come what may!

 

 

 

 

About The Author

mm

A Science Teacher in a Mainstream School in the U.K | MCA | B.Sc (Physics) | PGCE (QTS) |A Writer and Blogger

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