Joanne, GOOD FOR YOU for attempting to see around corners (after all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!).
Despite some of the examples around you, I can assure you, and our Tokii staffers (aka: marriage cheerleaders!) will echo: Not all marriages are doomed to scorekeeping, one-upping, and lack-of-appreciating. Not only do all marriages not turn colder as the years progress, many here report that their marriages become closer, more
interesting, more mature, hotter, and stronger as the clock ticks. That said, Divorcerate.org confirms that in the U.S. and Canada both, first time marriages have about a 50-50 chance of making it. And… the greater the number of marriages a person has under his or her belt, the greater its chance of flopping. So, no matter what marriage it is,doing what you can to get it right and keep it right (right now!) is a great idea.
- If you’re not already (sounds like you are), get on the same page. As with any great plan, husbands and wives both have to make cherishing one another a priority. About 50% of the married population will tell you: One person doing it isn’t enough.
- Make a plan. People outline maintenance plans for oil changes, family budgets, food menus… but somehow rarely set real, logistical goals for how to keep their marriages hot and loving. Example: If you feel like your relationship requires one date night per week once kids arrive, then make a plan to do just that (and stick to it) without making excuses. Set goals that feel right to both of you. That may mean no past lovers as Facebook friends, no name-calling – ever, no leaving a fight, etc. The idea is that you mutually decide on relationship values and goals, then stick to them. Modify the plan as needed, along the way.
- Talk to each other – tenderly, naughtily, wonderfully – often and freely. Not only will it keep the butterflies fluttering, it will help keep awareness raised about your relationship, which affects your behavior on a day-to-day basis.
- Don’t be lazy. Push through, even when it’s hard sometimes. If you’re tired at the end of a long day, but you know your husband would LOVE for you to scratch his back because he is also tired… do it. The same applies to nookie. If you’re both putting the other one first… that means you’re both being cherished regularly!
- Communicate by doing. Don’t shy away from demonstrating little and big shows of love, even if your spouse doesn’t always. Would you rather be reminded how awesome “great love” feels by your husband unexpectedly pulling you into a tight spoon position in bed when you thought he was sleeping, or by him confronting you in an argument, saying “Why don’t you care about me the way you used to?”
Following these guidelines should go a long way in making loving for the long haul very doable (and extremely enjoyable)!
Valuing your relationship enough to worry about whether or not it will fizzle is a great place to start. Many take the “wing it” approach to marriage and relationships, and find out… it doesn’t work real well. A few really basic tips to get (and keep) things going in the right direction:
- Get on the same page.
- Make a logistical plan and stick to it.
- Talk to each other (often and freely)!
- Don’t be lazy about loving.
- Communicate by doing.
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