Courtesy of www.marriagemoment.org
Often people say they want to be a better spouse or have a stronger marriage. But many times they admit that they don’t know how to accomplish this. One of the easiest and most effective ways is to be more friendly. It really is that simple. Begin to treat your mate as a genuine friend and the levels of bondedness and emotional intimacy will increase dramatically in your relationship. Below are ten tips to get you started.
1. Make your spouse feel important.
Everyone likes to feel valued and important. Your spouse is no different in this regard – and is the most deserving. Make a greater attempt to make him/her feel like their happiness and well-being is a priority to you. “Just because” notes or messages, small gifts, hugs, and so forth are a good practice. But ultimately your time and attention will convey the message most clearly.
2. Be more courteous.
In nearly every social situation most people are naturally courteous to others with whom they come in contact. We exchange pleasantries, engage in small talk, and generally behave in a positive and friendly manner. Most people wouldn’t dream of acting in a distant or ambivalent manner to mere acquaintances or even to strangers. Oddly, many are guilty – at least part of the time – of treating strangers with more courtesy than their own spouse. A friendly and courteous demeanor conveys to your partner that you do not take them for granted – even in the little things.
3. Demonstrate honest appreciation.
There are many creative ways to express appreciation to others – both verbally and with your actions. The most important thing is to let your sincerity shine through. Don’t view showing appreciation as a single venture – view it as a recurring mission.
4. Become a better listener.
If your goal is to become a better spouse one of your primary pursuits should be to seek to become a better listener. Tune-in when your mate speaks to you. Focus on developing active listening skills such as: eye contact, facial expression, body language, clarifying, questioning, summarizing, and so forth. This is an area in which virtually everyone can improve.
5. Show interest in your spouse’s interests.
No two people are alike. Often a husband and wife have completely different interests. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. It’s not vital that you enjoy all of the same things. But it is important that you make the effort to understand what your partner likes and spend time discussing these things – and, perhaps, even participating in some of them. It demonstrates that you care about things that matter to him/her.
6. Do not complain, criticize, or nag.
Few things will erode friendship and emotional intimacy quicker than grumbling. Not only is it annoying – it is demoralizing. The sad thing is that people often have the least amount of verbal discipline with those with whom they are the closest to and love the most. In your efforts to become a friendlier spouse don’t thwart your progress by succumbing to the temptation to complain, criticize, nag, and so forth.
7. Be an encourager.
Life is difficult. Stress is real. Weariness is inevitable. We can all use a timely word from a friend to pick us up and encourages us from time to time. Be that person for your mate. Avoid the temptation to try to “fix” their problems, however. Sometimes the best encouragement is simply being there reminding your spouse that he/she is loved, accepted, and not alone.
8. Smile more often.
Happiness is appealing. Nothing expresses happiness more than an authentic, heartfelt smile. The more you smile and exhibit a friendly manner the more attractive you become to your mate.
9. Avoid unnecessary conflict.
Disagreements and difficult conversations are a part of life – and certainly a part of marriage. Sometimes unpleasant circumstances need to be addressed for the sake of the health of the relationship. But in the typical marriage there are many areas of conflict that can and should be avoided. Much of what couples argue and fight about is not important in the grand scheme of things.
10. Show respect for your spouse’s feelings and opinions.
Respect is important in any relationship. But, it’s vital to a strong marriage. One’s thoughts and feelings are an essential part of their being and identity. It is crucial that you demonstrate respect and validation in this area. Be supportive – even when you don’t understand your partner’s emotional state or agree with his/her point of view.