58 million pounds of chocolate, 190 million cards, and 198 million roses were exchanged this Valentine’s Day with one hope to find true love. Six million people went a step further and proposed marriage.
In a month dedicated to finding and celebrating love what can couples do to protect their marriages for the long haul?
Most couples fall for the fairy-tale deception that the struggle comes in getting to the altar. After the wedding, life is happily ever after.
Because they believe the marriage will just happen, many couples fail to be intentional. This leads to unhappy marriages and, too often, divorce. But, it doesn’t have to.
Three key habits help couples become intentional about building their marriage. These create connections that draw spouses closer to each other. They come to know, accept, and join with each other no matter what.
If you would like to divorce-proof your marriage, follow these:
Habit 1) Each day engage with each other.
Whether it’s coffee together before work or the first minutes when returning home, take 15 – 30 minutes each day, away from everything and everyone else, to focus on each other.
Explore topics such as:
- What will you face today?
- How can I support you today?
- What happened during your day?
- What was the best moment of your day? The worst?
- What great story or joke did you hear?
Bribe the kids with a video and ban them from interrupting for anything but gushing blood. As you consciously set aside this time, you remind yourself that your spouse is a top priority. You deepen the connection that drew you together. You grow as a couple.
No time? Tell that to Joanne and Chip Gaines. Hosts of a top-rated television show on HGTV, they also run 5 businesses, manage a working ranch, and parent 4 (soon to be 5) children. They know life could easily pull them apart, so they have coffee together every morning to stay connected. If they can do it, so can you.
Habit 2) Each week schedule two meetings.
One for business. . .and one for fun.
Meeting 1–Business. Set aside time to plan the coming week. Cover subjects such as:
- special work obligations, and
- upcoming opportunities.
Conflict usually erupts because of unmet expectations. One of you counts on the other saying something, doing something, or just being available–and they fail to meet the expectation.
For example, Mom leaves a grueling day at work with one hope–when I get home, hubby will be able to help with dinner and the kids. She finds a message on her phone informing her that a meeting she didn’t even him know about will run late. Both get frustrated, which has a tendency to come out against each other.
These meetings help ensure that both of you are on the same page and supporting each other. If you both know ahead of time that each has a challenging day you can schedule a sitter, arrange to pick up dinner, or at least emotionally prepare.
Businesses thrive because leaders plan the future together. It works for families, too.
Even more importantly, the conscious process of looking ahead together builds the we most people desire when they get married. You blend perspectives, desires, and priorities as you make purposeful decisions about time, money, and goals.
This meeting can also be an opportunity to resolve issues that didn’t seem big enough to mention at the time, but continue to nag. It’s a chance to say, I felt a bit betrayed when you cracked that joke about me at the party. I know you meant it in fun but it hurt my feelings. I’ve tried to let it go but I’m still upset, and I’m afraid it’s coming out on you. Can we talk about it?
Meeting 2–Date night. People marry because they love being together. They want to spend every day together.
Then, along comes a more challenging job, a few kids, and bills to pay. These often creep in to rob couples of fun time. As you focus on getting life done, you lose connection with each other.
Date nights preserve and deepen connection. They build a bank account of good times which prove invaluable for the inevitable hard times.
Whether it’s a candlelit dinner on the living room floor, a walk through a park or bookstore, or a night on the town preserve one night a week to focus on sharing life together and building memories.
Habit 3) Each year take a trip.
Whether an overnight getaway or two-week cruise, take time away without children each year. Time away together lets you explore the world and invest in each other.
This helps ensure that when the children leave, you still connect with each other. And have a habit of making big plans together.
Valentine’s Day offers the hope of true love. These habits help preserve the connections that deliver on the hope and make marriage last.
If you would like more information on building a healthy marriage, call 317-344-9740 or email Tess@TheResolutionCenterIndy.com. We look forward to serving you.