Daily relationship maintenance sounds like a good idea in theory but the daily part makes it sound so hard.
Like way too much work.
Like totally exhausting. Especially in these unprecedented days of extended enforced togetherness.
Just the thought of maintenance begs the question,” Isn’t marriage supposed to be the one place where I can relax and let my guard down? Can’t I just be myself?”
Shouldn’t marriage be the one place where I can count on love, understanding and support on the regular?
Do you find yourself asking, “Why do we always have to work at it?” or even more to the point, “Why do I always have to be the one to work at it?”
Your marriage is your ideal opportunity to create the foundation of a happy life.
Especially in these days of so much enforced togetherness. Keeping your marriage positive and supportive is a key to enhancing your sense of well-being when you need it most.
The usual obligations, distractions and preoccupations that give us space from partners are few and far between.
So, yes, you do the work. Even if you’re the only one paying attention, it’s actually possible for one of you to bring the two of you together.
Taking control of your marriage maintenance puts you in the driver’s seat of a Ferrari rather than tootling along in any old car with tires low on air.
This often shared Harvard Study, which following a class of men non-stop for many decades, found a strong connection between happiness and close relationships like spouses, family, friends, and social circles. “Personal connection creates mental and emotional stimulation, which are automatic mood boosters, while isolation is a mood buster,” says Dr. Waldinger.
So, let’s hold off on the resistance and the “it’s too hard” thinking and get down to business.
Here are two simple recommendations to keep your relationship fine tuned and your well-being in tip-top form.
#1. Ditch that expectation that it’s your husband’s job to meet your needs and make you happy.
That expectation only causes trouble.
Just imagine if this scenario occurred before you decided to marry. You were lying in your lover’s arms, gazing into his eyes and whispering, “Let’s get married so you can take responsibility for every feeling I have for the rest of of my life. Wouldn’t you just love that responsibility? Imagine how deeply fulfilled we’d be.”
When you nurse any expectations that your husband should be your everything, your soulmate, your partner in crime, your best friend and lover, it’s easy to see how that’s a lot of pressure on one human being.
No wonder so many women are disappointed in their partners. They never do “it” right. They don’t make us happy in the right way or make us feel sexy, wanted, or beautiful enough. Why are they so clueless no matter how many times you try to explain?
It’s not your husband who causes your happiness, your feelings or thoughts. It’s you and only you.
Think hard on that that. You are the only one who has the power to make you happy in your marriage.
Let’s up the odds that you can enjoy the love, understanding and support you desire.
Easier said than done, I know, but just drop all expectations and accept that your husband’s only job is to be there for you to love him.
Feeling love, sexy or beautiful is 100% an inside job.
Then it’s always you who gets to feel the love. All the time. Even when he’s just another flawed human being struggling with his own issues or even when he’s acting like a total jerk. And even when he doesn’t do it right no matter how many times you’ve tried to tell him how, you still get to love him.
Just because you decided that that was your job.
#2. Brainstorm love every day.
Now that you’re entertaining dropping your expectations, suggestion number two only requires that you intentionally shift your focus toward the good things he does and away from the annoyances and frustrations you have with him.
Ask yourself questions like these:
- “How can I love him?”
- “What do I love about him?” Think of ALL the things. Write them down so you can remind yourself when necessary.
- “How is this man my perfect marriage partner?”
- “What thoughts could I think on purpose that create loving feelings?”
- “What if everything that’s happened is teaching me exactly what I need to know to find the happiness and well-being I seek?”
Focus on your husband’s best qualities.
Find aspects or even the slightest remaining remnants of the original magic and add your loving thoughts to make them grow.
Don’t tell yourself that if you think or say nice things it’s all a lie. Why would you do that? There’s no upside.
Don’t tell yourself you’re only deluding yourself. Where’s the upside in that?
All of life is merely an illusion or a delusion or a figment of your imagination anyway.
Remember, your thoughts and feelings about your marriage are just an interpretation of the things that have happened or are happening. There’s nothing absolutely right or wrong here. You get to decide how to interpret them.
Make your interpretation a good one.
What you look for, you will find.