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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.

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    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.

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      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.

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            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.

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                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

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                      Kayla Matthews

                      Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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                      Last Updated on August 12, 2020

                      When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                      When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                      Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

                      In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

                      How to Listen to Your Gut

                      The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

                      Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

                      1. Tune Into Your Body

                      Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

                      However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

                      Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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                      Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

                      In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

                      2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

                      Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

                      There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

                      3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

                      Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

                      As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

                      This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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                      4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

                      As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

                      Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

                      5. Challenge Your Assumptions

                      When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

                      In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

                      A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

                      6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

                      Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

                      There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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                      Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

                      Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

                      Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

                      We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

                      The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

                      We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

                      7. Trust Yourself

                      It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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                      Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

                      If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

                      The Bottom Line

                      The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

                      Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

                      More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

                      Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
                      [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
                      [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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