Just like preventive maintenance is cheaper than a new care so is re inforcing your marriage before trouble begins. This post is a little long but I feel it needs to be.
Any marriage will inevitably face a battery of storms during the course of its life cycle. Some couples may face bigger problems than others, but the one constant in any relationship is a series of tests and trials that will occur over the years and decades.
One way or another, you and your spouse will have to go through your own unique set of conflicts. When it comes to marital problems it’s always a question of “when” rather than “if”.
For many couples, the root of their difficulties doesn’t lie in their actual problems, but in their lack of preparation. Some think that being merely aware that married life isn’t perfect will be enough to help them get past conflicts.
However, foresight is much more than just anticipating the problems ahead – it also has a lot to do with taking precautions in order to deal with them.
That is why a regular habit of preventive maintenance is important in preserving any investment you make in life. With something as precious and priceless as your marriage, you should be mindful of the things you have to do today in order to strengthen your foundations on a long-term basis.
Think of your relationship as a tree; reinforcing your roots will make it difficult for any storm to yank it out of the ground.
Specifically, regular dates and rituals are some of the most practical but vital measures you can take to preserve the health of your marriage. Cars break down when they are neglected or miss their scheduled check-ups.
That’s basically what life is all about: constant maintenance that keeps everything in good working order. A little tweak here and a minor adjustment there go a long way in keeping your relationship from going off-course.
When you make the conscious effort to clear a chunk of your time for your spouse, it signifies that it’s in your interest to keep each other happy. Not only that, every date you keep or ritual that you habitually observe are small but infinitely powerful affirmations that you want to stay with your partner for better or worse.
Whenever you make the effort to leave the kids with your parents during Friday night movie date, you are also renewing the vows you made at the altar.
As an aside, I would like to point out that while rituals and dates should be part of your marriage, there is a distinction between them. Rituals are habits or practices that should be littlereminders of your love for one another.
They can be something as simple as passing by the bookstore where you first met, or choosing to sit in a certain section of the movie theater where you had your first kiss.
Dates also serve the same general purpose, but these are social functions done outside of the house. You can do those special rituals as part of your date, or separately for certain occasions. The important thing is that both things are done on a regular basis.
Another significant reason behind dates and rituals is that they keep the emotional connection alive by constantly creating and updating an exclusive pool of shared experiences.
After all, there should be some compartment of your marriage that’s reserved for only the both of you. It is this private feeling for one another which serves as your foundation and must be preserved at all costs.
A lot of busy couples make the excuse of ignoring these things, thinking that they can put if off for another time. When it’s a marriage we’re talking about, what you take for granted today can be whisked away tomorrow.
It’s very unhealthy to assume that things will stay the way you want to without making enough effort to keep it as such. Keeping a regular schedule for dates (and any rituals found within) should be part of your regimen to keep your relationship fit.
Here’s another way of looking at it: not investing enough time in your marriage puts that sense of intimacy at great risk. Often called by many as the “spark”, the emotional closeness you have with your spouse will keep you from falling apart when you run into problems.
It doesn’t take a relationship expert to realize that you need to drop everything once in a while and enjoy each other’s company to keep yourselves from being miserable.
Marriage is work, but all work and no play makes for a very dull marriage. Once that dullness sets in, it can cultivate an atmosphere of coldness and detachment. I don’t have to tell you that those are two very ideal factors for cheating.
In a nutshell, it is always in peoples’ nature to seek something that they feel are lacking in their lives. In the case of an estranged spouse, he/she may choose to capture that “falling in love” feeling with another person that they are superficially attracted to.
Simply put, any partner needs to have the feeling of being loved and validated by their spouse. Without it, they could very well go off chasing after someone else to satisfy that basic necessity lacking in their marriage.
This is one of the biggest reasons why people cheat on their spouse. If they can’t get enough happiness from their current relationship, a “starved” partner might justify running off with another person to satisfy their needs.
In short, going on dates and observing couple rituals keeps you focused on each other, and not on people outside the marriage. These things allow you to remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place.
Essentially, you are preventing a gap to grow between you both, lest that void be filled by someone else. It’s important to remember that it’s way easier to prevent a problem from getting out of had rather than fixing the damage resulting from negligence.
In today’s troubled economic times however, both spouses need to work just to make ends meet. As such, couples have to sacrifice their “we time” in order to pay the bills.
Yet you should bear in mind that the marriage you are trying to sustain needs more than just financial support. The emotional and romantic aspect of your relationship needs attention, too. Therefore, all couples must make time to reconnect with one another. Whether it’s on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis, you should make the effort to squeeze in some couple time.
Of course, every marriage has a different set of circumstances, so you’ll need to work out a customized date schedule to suit your situation. Do try to sit down and discuss this with your spouse so that both of you can agree upon which specific day(s) of the month are just for the two of you.
As for the dates themselves, they should go by a few general guidelines to make them effective. First of all, they need to be meaningful to you both. Whatever activity or outing you have in mind, they have to appeal to you emotionally.
I suggest that your dates should be a sort of reminder of your early days as a couple. This allows you both to remember the things that brought you together in the first place. For instance, if you first met on the dance floor, then you can go back to those times by setting a fortnightly or monthly ballroom date.
As we mentioned before, these have to be out of the house if you can manage it. Making the effort to dress up and go out will stimulate you into going through the motions of keeping your love alive.
While you can have rituals like vegging out in front of the TV and having a snack before turning in for the night, there also has to be an evident commitment to make time for each other at an outside venue. It can be a weekly trip to the planetarium, or a nice coffee date where you first met.
Whatever it is, your dates are best done at a special place aside from home.
Although there aren’t any hard and fast rules set in stone regarding the length of your dates, they do have to be long enough to allow you a nice conversation or the opportunity to renew your intimate connection.
To give you an idea, why don’t you try taking up a sport, or get back into doing some of the hobbies or interests that you enjoyed before you met? Physical activity is a great way to diffuse tension brewing at home and relieve the strain on your marriage.
Try engaging in sports that will either allow you to compete against each other or cooperate against other opponents. Generally, a minimum of one to two hours seems to work for many couples.
Another suggestion we have is for you to take part in some community work or any activity with a social cause. If both of you would be inclined to do so, this is a great way for you reconnect in a way that also benefits people and organizations who need all the help that they can get.
For example, volunteering to read books to the elderly or sick, help out at your local food shelter, or a fundraising community group, will help you bond and make you think of the things that you might be taking for granted as a couple.
The bottom line is that your dates should have no creative limits; as long as they can help you renew your connection in a tension-free setting, then you are doing the right thing for your marriage.
Life-threatening emergencies notwithstanding, the important thing is that you make a solid promise to one another to keep your regular dates and rituals etched into your respective calendars.
Even in your weakest or most trying moments, those dating rituals and dates may be the one thing that sustains you and saves your marriage.
And don’t forget, if you want more advice that is going to change not only your marriage, but the way you live the rest of your life, you must check out Save My Marriage Today.
firstname.lastname@example.org email address