Many people seem to believe that a successful marriage is largely in the lap of the gods.
Well, that’s a pretty complacent attitude, if you ask me, although there are always going to be unexpected occurrences that will impact upon your marriage.
As a civil celebrant, I specialise in bringing people together on their big day, rather than keeping them together afterwards. However, I am convinced that you can be pro-active about your marriage. Consider (and act upon!) the following factors, as these may make a real difference.
What men crave
No, not (just) that …!
Research has shown that subtle indications of love and esteem are very powerful – notably (though not exclusively) for men. They appreciate kind words and compliments and non-sexual touch, such as hand-holding.
This is still valuable for women, but they tend to receive these tokens from other people they come across in day-to-day life; men don’t.
Communication is vital for a successful marriage. It is important to talk about your relationship – but also about other things altogether. Examples might include an anecdote before you knew each other, a recent film or a personal plan for the future.
It is dangerous if the marriage becomes too predictable. When routine rules the roost, people stop appreciating each other.
Getting out of a rut
My wife and I (happily married for 17 years, with a lovely teenage son) recently started going out for weekly pub quizzes. (A routine, because it’s weekly, I accept – but it’s something new and brings us together with other people, and we actively look forward to it.)
I understand that novelty increases dopamine in the brain and this can help sustain feelings of romantic love. (I won’t go into our marital experiences here, though!)
Appreciating your partner
Talking up your other half – rather than dwelling on the negative elements – is vital for the success of your relationship. There will be times when you may have to speak out critically, but your partner probably means well. Wherever possible, giving your partner credit for what they have achieved is going to reap benefits.
Regular sex – provided that both of you want it – is important. It helps you to feel connected and, of course, the chemicals released give pleasure.
I hope you can see that there really are things you can do to influence your marriage positively, and I suspect you will enjoy trying most of them out!