1. Make Small Moment into Pivotal Experiences
Think about the honeymoon phase of your relationship - that time when everything about your partner seemed fascinating. You were head over heels. Fast forward a couple of years and there is no doubt that you are still drawn to your partner, but you'll notice that the 'flame' is a little less vibrant and it seems a chore to make time to be together. This is when the intentional work of maintaining your marital friendship is most important.
Couples who are in long-term relationships must learn how to make the seemingly small and mundane moments pivotal moments that show their partner that they are in tune with their world. You must take the time to tune in, actively listen to, and respond to your partner in a way that leaves them acknowledged and heard.
2. Express Genuine Interest in Your Partner
Do you take the opportunity to do fun things during your free time? You don't have to have the same interests as your partner, but it is absolutely possible to enjoy time spent together by engaging in one of their/your interests.
Open up to the idea of doing things that you may not otherwise do on your own, for the sake of your relationship. What you will eventually find is that, through your willingness to do so, these activities will become enjoyable. The aim is not to force yourself to like golf if you actually don't, but to look for moments to enjoy with your partner while you're out golfing with them.
As contradictory as it may sound, the smallest ways that you acknowledge your partner's questions and expressions are the most significant in strengthening and securing your physical bond.
According to Dr. Gottman's research, there is actual legitimacy to the "romance starts in the kitchen" mantra. Daily chores such as washing the dishes, folding laundry, watching TV, or cooking together can be opportunities for a deeper connection to occur. During these moments you can talk about your day, talk about your goals, or simply ask how each other is feeling.
4. Make Your Friendship Unconditional
When you think of your closest friends, you probably know that there are few things that could break the bond between you. There's an acceptance of your differences, an understanding that you may disagree occasionally, but love each other nonetheless.
Bringing this mentality into your marriage will do wonders for your connection and romance. Recognizing that you will have different opinions and ways of addressing certain issues that come up can allow you to explore your partner in a whole new way.
Work stress, issues with family members, and many other things can overflow into your marriage. There should be no conditions when it comes to being there for your partner. Treat your partner with the same understanding and unconditional support that you would hope to receive from them.
5. Be on Your Partner's Team
This goes way beyond being able to accept your differences. when it comes to you and your partner versus the world, you should always take your spouse's side. Never side with the enemy.
Show genuine interest in being on your partner's side, and never say or do anything that could leave them feeling alone and insignificant. Stand up for your partner when you see that they're feeling uncomfortable in a social setting.
As with any friendship, your marital friendship is a bind that has got to be nurtured and prioritized. Creating meaningful experiences, showing genuine interest in each other, prioritizing romance, and being on the same team are all simple actions that can help strengthen your marriage.
Cultivating these will become a potential lifeline for your relationship and, later down the line, could potentially save your marriage from breaking apart.