10 Habits that Keep Marriages Strong

We are always looking for ways to perk up our marriage and keep it strong.  We found this article:  10 Habits that Keep Marriages Strong on MSN.com and in several other places.  We have found many of these habits to be important in our relationship.  One that stands out is “Phrasing requests as a favor, rather than a demand.”  We find that it is a way of showing respect for the other, rather than leaving them with the impression that they are just being used.  It also helps to offer a solid thank you when the other complies with your request.

We list below each of the 10 habits with a short quote from the article and a link to the complete text.

1.  Not trying to change each other

Maybe you wish he folded his socks, or that he would chat it up with your friends without prompting. But, his inability to notice hair in the sink may stem from the laid-back personality that drew you to him in the first place. “One of the things we see with happy couples is that they know their partner’s differences, and have pretty much stopped trying to change the other person,” more

2. Framing your demands as favors

Whether you want him to unload the dishwasher more often or pay closer attention to the kids, your partner will be more likely to change his behavior if he feels like he’ll get relationship brownie points.  Throw it out there like a favor. more

3. Vocalizing your appreciation

Giving your partner positive reinforcement sounds like a no-brainer, but couples often forget to do it.  more

4. Focusing on the positive

“Unhappy couples are stuck in a negative state of mind,” says Wilk. “You will always find what you look for. If you look for stuff that bugs you and that your partner is doing wrong, you will find it every day. If you look at what your partner is doing it right, you’ll find it everyday.”  more

5.  Taking trips down memory lane

Happy couples tend to rewrite history by glossing over the bad stuff and focusing on the happy times,” says Wilk. By reliving memories out loud to your partner, it actually changes your mindset, and how you view him and think about your relationship.  more

6.  Never siding with the enemy

“Sometimes what affair-proofs a relationship is simply being there when your partner needs to vent, and having their back without trying to fix the problem,”   more

7. Not getting too comfortable

Trust, security, and commitment are key elements in any relationship, but having them doesn’t mean you can treat your relationship as rock-solid, and stop trying.  more

8. Having rituals of connection

“It’s not only about having a date night, but happy couples seem to do a lot of mundane things together,” says Wilk. “They have little habits that they decide to do together, whether it be sitting down to pay the bills once a month or folding laundry.”  more

9.  Knowing your partner’s calls for attention

Happy couples are mindful of those little moves their partners do for attention. When Gottman’s team studied 120 newlyweds in his Love Lab, they discovered that couples who stayed married six years later were paying attention to these bids for connection 86 percent of the time, compared to only 33 percent of the time for those who later divorced.  more

10. Doing the little things

“When it comes to relationship satisfaction, you can’t just ride on the big things like, ‘I don’t drink, I pay the bills, I don’t beat you, we went to Hawaii last year,'” says Wilk. “This stuff is not really what keeps couples happy in their daily lives.” more

We hope you find these useful.  If you are into self-improvement practices for Lent, consider deciding together to work on one of these habits during each week.  By Easter you might then see growth on six of them.  If you have incorporated any of these in your marriage and they have been helpful, please leave a comment.

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Bob & Rita’s Book:  Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime, is available on Amazon.com .  Also available for Kindle and Nook.

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About Rita & Bob Boeke

Rita Boeke has experience teaching scripture and with her husband Bob has experience in enriching marriages through workshops and retreats. They post a weekly blog at thewonderofmarriage.com and co-authored Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime.
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