It's never too early to start a love-sustaining habit. This is what many newlyweds don't realize. Early in your marriage is the best place to start putting into place powerful ways to communicate and treat one another. Too many couples take it for granted that they can slide along during the newlywed phase of their relationship.
There is a feeling that nothing can ruin that amazing love you're feeling now. The bond you and your new spouse share seems impervious to the challenges that drag down and tear apart others' relationships. This belief leads many to get sloppy and that means trouble... often sooner rather than later.
A recent survey by the Marriage Foundation showed that it's actually the early years of a marriage that a couple is most susceptible to a breakup instead of down the road. This means it's even MORE important to start your marriage out healthy and close from day one.
Incorporate these 6 beneficial habits into your daily married life!
1. Prevent icebergs. What happens when chilly water gets even chillier? It becomes ice and, with the right conditions, it can form an immense iceberg. If you've ever had a bitter disagreement with your partner, you've felt the chill we're talking about. Don't allow unresolved arguments or hurt feelings to grow. They will become immense and destructive if you let them and they'll destroy your marriage. Prevent "icebergs" by addressing problems when they first develop. This doesn't mean you pounce on your partner every time he or she gets quiet or is in a bad mood, but do take the time to sit down together and sort out a misunderstanding or conflict as soon as you notice it.
2. Ask this question... The vast majority of us tell ourselves stories. We try to understand other people and situations by filling in the blanks with guesses and assumptions -- and most of the time our stories are completely untrue. This causes heartache and hard feelings (on both sides) in your marriage.
Develop the habit of asking your partner this question instead: "Please tell me more."
When used as a request for more information and not a demand or interrogation, these words can help you move away from your stories and toward the facts. This leads to a lot less drama and a lot more connection.
3. Be honest. There are big lies that spouses tell one another about who they had lunch with at work, who they were chatting with online and how many times their ex texted them yesterday and these definitely demolish trust and can lead to divorce.
There are other lies that get told too and they are just as damaging. "Little" white lies that may seem to protect your partner's feelings are habit-forming and would be wise to stop doing now. Be honest with yourself about how you really feel and what you really want and then find a way to communicate that to your partner.
4. Be kind. Being honest doesn't have to mean you are blunt, harsh or hurtful. You can be loving and respectful AND truthful whether you're talking about every day topics or big and sensitive ones. Don't take your partner's love for granted by treating him or her worse than you would your best friend.
Use polite words when speaking to (and about) your partner and refrain from hurtful teasing or sarcastic comebacks when you're irritated or bothered. When you stay aware of how you’re feeling and you soothe yourself when you get upset, it's easy to be kind... and to remain close to the one you love.
5. Appreciate. You've probably heard too many times how important it is to regularly show your appreciation to your spouse. IT IS!
It's just not always easy to do. This is perhaps one of the most crucial habits you can develop from day 1 of your marriage. Challenge yourself to find 3 things each day that you can genuinely appreciate about your partner and/or your marriage. These can be very small and seemingly insignificant things that make you smile, feel supported, loved or that make you life a little bit easier.
It's best to share your appreciation with your partner in some way, but it has to be felt on the inside first and once you start looking for the good stuff, it’s not difficult to see and celebrate.
6. Have fun. Speaking of celebrating, don't allow the perceived seriousness of life stand in the way of you and your partner enjoying each other. Yes, deal with the painful and annoying issues that come up in your relationship, but intentionally set out to have fun together too. Have silly, smile-inducing and don't forget passionate... fun.