Following on from my last post I thought I’d share some practical tips on creating the FOREVER mindset:
1. Have a marriage health check
No, I’m not talking about going to the doctors for that continual itch in your jocks (though you probably should have that seen to)! I’m talking about having an honest look at where your marriage is at. Are there walls that have been built up because you think something is missing from your marriage? For example; do you have a sense of entitlement about things? Are you withholding love or conversation? Perhaps not serving your spouse because you think you’re owed something? Are you spending enough time getting to know each other? Learning about this person who has ever changing goals, fears and passions. The person you married way back when may be a very different person today. Re-acquaint yourself with that person.
2. Create an environment of intimacy
Remember those days when you were dating, and the phone calls lasted for hours the dates were non-stop full of chatter, laughter, conversation and thought provoking discussion? In a marriage, intimacy isn’t just about the sexual union, but rather intimacy is about sharing your thoughts, emotions, weaknesses and passions, as well as your body. As many have said before, there’s a reason it’s pronounced; into-me-see. Learn to be vulnerable with the things that you are holding too close to your chest. Most importantly make time to share these with each other. Turning the TV off, taking the phones/laptops out of the room and going for walks really helps us. Going for walks in particular seems to work really well. We’ve actually found that we share more in a 30 minute walk than in an hour or two of sitting around the house. Try it!
3. Creating the FOREVER mindset
For Dave and I there have been times when throwing in the towel seemed like the easy option. However early in our marriage we decided to accept the ‘forever mindset’. This means that you acknowledge that as ugly or as hard as things may look, somehow you’re both are going to make this work. Although it may sometimes feel you’re married to a complete stranger, somehow you will find a way to fall in love all over again. That no matter what happens, through thick and thin, you’re in this together. When you create that mindset, you’re left with only two other options: 1) be happy or 2) be unhappy. When you both choose happiness you’ll make the tough calls and push through the tough times and rediscover a place of genuine love for each other.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There are many reasons why couples don’t seek advice; some think their problems are irreparable and can’t see the point, others think getting help means they’ve failed or their marriage is in serious trouble. Neither are correct though. If we’re honest, none of us have all the answers. There’s some truth in the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”. That’s why I’d encourage anyone who feels like their marriage could be better to seek advice from professionals and mentors. Best of all they’ll be able to give you personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, often all we need is a guide to help us navigate our way through it.