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Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a static object like a beautiful picture we can hang on the wall to appreciate without needing any further work. Marriage is more like a living thing; if you don’t keep it nourished and healthy it will eventually shrivel up and die. Nourishing your marital relationship doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Here are three simple ways you can do that every day:
Spend time in bed together — and not just for sex
Physical contact is vital, but that doesn’t only mean sex. It’s good to have physical intimacy in other ways. Sleeping in each other’s arms without any further expectations can help establish a strong bond. It’s a mutual expression of love that helps feed other dimensions of the relationship. It can help a couple grow in empathy and patience.
And there’s also just getting some good sleep. Studies show that getting a good night’s sleep can increase your sex drive. A lack of sleep disrupts our hormones and diminishes our testosterone, which is crucial for sexual desire among both men and women. Couples who sleep fewer than 7 hours a night are more likely to have arguments and experience more conflict in their relationship.
Also, sleeping together at similar times helps a couple to have a better relationship. Couples whose sleep patterns are very different report having more fights, spending less time doing shared activities, and having sexual relations less frequently than those who share the same sleep schedule.
Face uncomfortable and difficult situations with honesty and transparency
None of us enjoy opening up about uncomfortable or embarrassing situations with our spouse, but it can actually be beneficial for our relationship.
When there’s intimacy, there’s vulnerability. If we want a healthy relationship with good communication, we have to be courageous enough to show our weaknesses to our spouse. This often means leaving our comfort zones, talking about things that matter to us, expressing how we feel, and acknowledging our own limitations.
Opening up about a painful experience from our past, revealing something we’ve never told anyone else, or acknowledging our mistakes with humility, can all be an important step in developing our relationship. It strengthens trust, makes healing possible, can help us deal with something that’s difficult for us, or simply help us to know each other, so we can help each other and know what to expect from each other.
Share household tasks together
Not everything we do together has to be something we like doing. When there are daily duties that can be a chore for one of us, organizing ourselves to do it together as a couple can turn it into something less bothersome, and create a feeling of teamwork.
Establishing shared objectives and helping each other to achieve something that improves the well-being of the whole family can help strengthen the foundation of our relationship, besides giving us the satisfaction of seeing our house clean and orderly. It also favors a sense of equality in the dynamics of our relationship: both spouses are actively contributing to it.
If we are do household chores together regularly, with constancy, it can become part of our routine. Routines help us to establish shared values, interests, and priorities. It shows that both spouses are interested in creating a shared future. Why not learn to enjoy it?
What it boils down to …
These are just three concrete applications of more general principles. If we want a strong marriage, we need to share time and activities together, take care of our own and each other’s health, acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses with empathy and humility, communicate about our needs and ideals, seek to reinforce our common ground, and contribute to the relationship (each in our own way and to the degree we can according to the particular circumstances). Whether we are in bed, or working around the house, or in conversation about difficulties in our lives, sticking to these principles can turn these moments into experiences that bond us more deeply and nourish our marriage.
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