The cupid or the matchmaker has done their job. You have fallen in love and decided to get married to the partner of your dreams and start living the married life you have envisioned. Realistically, you will face hurdles. There will be days when you are over the moon thinking about your married life, and there will be days when you wouldn’t want to come home to avoid a fight with your spouse. The truth is, marriage has its many ups and downs.
Thankfully, just because there are certain challenges in a marriage, doesn’t mean it won’t work. Here are seven ways in which you can significantly improve your marriage and make it the happy and harmonious marriage you have always wanted it to be:
1. Create shared meaning
Two individuals in a marriage will have their ambitions, goals, dreams, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. They will lead their individual lives while they are in a marriage, and that’s healthy. Too much enmeshment can create chaos and resentment. Along with this, partners need to have shared meaning in life. This enhances their spiritual, emotional intimacy. Shared meaning can be in the form of shared vision as a family, belief systems, the legacy they want to leave behind.
According to Dr. John Gottman, a researcher and leading expert on marital relationships, one way to create shared meaning is to have a daily or weekly ritual to connect with your partner. It can be anything that- gardening together, executing shared goals, or drawing up a joint vision board.
2. Understand your sex life
Sex lives are dynamic. On some days, you won’t be able to keep your hands off your partner, and on some days, even cuddling will seem exhausting. That’s okay, as long as you communicate sincerely and sensitively with your partner.
Regardless of the ups and downs in your sex life, make sure you are on effective contraception unless you are looking to get pregnant. You can opt for Mankind’s Unwanted -21 birth control pills, where you take an active pill for 21 days, followed by your period. After the period, you start a new pack of pills. In case you didn’t take have any protection or if there was protection failure, you can take the Mankind’s Unwanted-72- within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It is India’s No. 1 Contraceptive Tablet, and you will easily find it in stores.
3. Enhance your ‘love maps’
Love Maps are essentially your understanding of your spouse. Knowing what are their dreams? What are their fears? Who are the other important people in their life? Having the answers to such questions will help you understand ‘life’ from your partner’s perspective. This will also make you more empathetic towards your partner, deepening your bond with them.
4. Adopt a ‘we against them’ attitude
What do you do when your spouse comes and tells you that they had a showdown with their colleague? If your partner has anger issues, it may be easier to think and say, “it must be your fault. You should have controlled your temper.” However, for a marriage to work well, both partners need to see each other as being on the same team rather than on the opposite end. In such cases, empathise with your partner and tell them that you get where they come from. Then, problem-solve together as a team. “Us against the world” gives both of you a sense of together-ship and feel supported.
5. Find time for each other.
Avoid taking your partner for granted. Make time for date nights where you can leave the children, pets, and responsibilities away. Take up a hobby class together, plan picnics, go for a movie, or just have a movie marathon with each other. After many years of marriage, it can be easy to get into marital complacency. Be mindful of that and make changes when you sense it creeping in.
6. Express gratitude
Simple ‘thank you’s go a long way in making your partner feel loved and appreciated. Whether you are expressing gratitude for them packing your lunch or managing the finances when you decided to take a 3-month sabbatical, no ‘thank you’ is small or big. Expressing heartfelt gratitude can also make your marriage feel meaningful.
7. Be authentic
Be who you are. Pretending that you are someone else can be exhausting for you as well as your partner. Express your vulnerabilities to the person who matters the most to you. Allow them to be there for you and show their unconditional acceptance for you.
Marriage isn’t easy. But with the right intentions and these few tips, it is surely worth it.