Advertising
Advertising

10 Simple Ways To Keep The Twinkle In Your Marriage

10 Simple Ways To Keep The Twinkle In Your Marriage

Married couples face a huge stigma from single people and the rest of the married world alike. We’re told that once you get married, you’ll get bored with each other, fight often and wish for your younger days. But that’s just a stereotype, and your marriage doesn’t have to be like that at all!

I may still be young, and I may only be 1 year and 4 months into my wife-life, but my husband and I haven’t gotten bored or sick of each other in the least, and I think that these actions are part of the reason why.

1. Don’t get stuck in front of the TV.

in front of TV

    Image by Iain Watson

    It can be really easy for both of you to come home from work and get caught up watching HOUSE re-runs until you fall asleep, but this lack of interaction is harmful to your relationship. Don’t get me wrong, a movie night once in a while is great. But when all you do together is watch TV, you’re not really interacting.

    Advertising

    Instead, try going for a walk together or even cooking a meal together. Anything is better than silently staring at the same screen for hours on end.

    2. Be impulsive.

    impulsive together

      Routine is good for work and managing your weekly errands, but too much routine in your marriage can lead to feelings of boredom fast. Studies show that boredom in marriage leads to significantly less marital satisfaction even after 16 years of being together.

      Be spontaneous in how you live each day, even if it’s only through small things like going out to eat or procrastinating your laundry for another day. Random decision like that are sometimes all it takes to break away from the monotony of everyday life.

      3. Show that you care in everything you do.

      Advertising

      love sticky notes

        Whether it’s making the coffee in the morning or packing a surprise lunch for your partner before you leave for work, there are a million small ways that you can show your favorite person how much you care about him or her. I, personally, like to write sticky notes for my husband and leave them around our apartment in places I know he’ll look. He never isn’t happy to see an “I love you!” sticky note tucked inside of his closed laptop.

        4. Have an “us” weekend.

        US weekend

          Having lots of friends is a great thing, and of course you and your spouse like to spend time with all of them. But every now and then, it’s good to reconnect by having a “just us” weekend. Sleep in ‘till noon, go out for a special dinner or marathon your favorite TV show together (this is my ONLY exception for rule #1 above). Whatever you want to do, just do it together.

          5. Surprise your spouse with thoughtful gifts.

          thoughtful gift

            Please note that thoughtful  does not mean expensive. Picking up any surprise gift that reminds your spouse how much you love them for who they are is a great way to touch his or her heart and keep your relationship strong. My husband surprise-orders graphic tees for me every couple of months, and I’m always amazed at how he finds just the right styles to match my personality.

            Advertising

            6. Say the important things.

            things that matter

              While it’s great to feel comfortable enough with your spouse to assume that your feelings are obvious, saying how you feel now and then is important too.  Saying things like “I missed you today,” “I’m proud of you,” “You look great,” “You’re so fun” and other often-thought feelings can really help keep your relationship strong. You can be sure that your spouse really knows how much you appreciate them, and they’ll tell you how much they appreciate you too.

              7. Don’t skimp on sex.

              dont skimp on sex

                Sorry, but I have to say it: you just can’t lose your sex life to a hectic schedule or low energy. And I’ll admit it, this is something that I personally struggle with, but that I think is really relevant to a lot of married couples (and even non-married couples!). Sex is about more than just having sex, though. It’s about connecting with your favorite person and being close to him or her, which, consequently, makes it one of the building blocks of a strong relationship and marriage.

                8. Make time to cuddle.

                Advertising

                cuddle

                  Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with just snuggling up to each other and talking either. Cuddling on the couch together for a little bit each day can be a really good way to spend some quality time together before you start making dinner, doing more work from home or running the kids to soccer practice.

                  9. Create a surprise special day.

                  special day

                    Aside from thoughtful gifts, another great way to surprise your husband or wife is to dedicate a random surprise special day to him or her and plan a day that’s all about them. Plan out a fun event or trip for just the two of you and don’t tell them about it until the day of.  Better yet, have them make plans to do something boring with you and then surprise them with tickets to see their favorite band, go to a pro sports game or take them out for a romantic picnic.

                    10. Talk about “us.”

                    talk about us

                      Lastly, one of the best ways for you to keep the twinkle in your marriage is to simply talk about your marriage together. Whether it’s reminiscing about when you first met, your first kiss, a funny moment the two of you shared together or things you’re excited to experience together in the future, talking about “us” is always a great way to reconnect and bond.

                      I hope these tips will help you and your spouse continue to feel head-over-heels for one another for decades to come!

                      Featured photo credit: Timothy Marsee via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      Kayla Matthews

                      Productivity and self-improvement blogger

                      41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About 50 Best Documentaries Of All Time That Will Change Your Life Try One of These Nighttime Routines for a Better Morning 10 Self-Improvement Tips for Winter (None of Which Require Leaving the House) 9 Ways to Donate to Nepalese Earthquake Victims

                      Trending in Communication

                      1 How to Deal With Negative Thoughts (the Healthy Way) 2 How to Cope With Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again 3 How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump 4 7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers 5 8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                      8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                      8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                      How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                      Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                      When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                      Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                      What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                      Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                      1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                      Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                      Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                      It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                      2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                      This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                      Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                      3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                      It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

                      Advertising

                      I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                      If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                      4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                      While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                      To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                      My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                      Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                      Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                      How To Be a Better Listener

                      For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                      1. Pay Attention

                      A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                      According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                      As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

                      Advertising

                      I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                      2. Use Positive Body Language

                      You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                      A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                      People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                      But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                      According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                      “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                      Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                      3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                      I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                      Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                      Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

                      Advertising

                      Be polite and wait your turn!

                      4. Ask Questions

                      Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                      5. Just Listen

                      This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                      I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                      I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                      6. Remember and Follow Up

                      Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                      For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                      According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                      It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                      7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                      If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                      Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

                      Advertising

                      Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                      Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                      NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                      1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                      2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                      8. Maintain Eye Contact

                      When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                      Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                      By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                      You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                      And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                      More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                      Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                      [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                      [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                      [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

                      Read Next