What does it take to have a special, long lasting relationship? The simple answer is lots of work and communication.
It also involves recognizing that you will make mistakes and that forgiveness is necessary, the mistakes become learning blocks.
Here are some tips that I have found useful in being married.
Communicate – Verbally
The most important thing that I have learned in over 20 years of marriage is to communicate. Communicate more, communicate often, and communicate about the big things as well as the minor things. A note to my wife—I still have a long way to go!
Communication involves both verbal and non-verbal forms. There are some simple strategies to improve your verbal communication.
Couch Time. Before we had children, we had time to talk. After we had children, we had to make time. We had “couch time.” Fifteen minutes when I first came home was time for us to talk without interruption. The children learned very quickly this was time for just Mum and Dad because they loved each other. Afterward, there was time for children and household tasks.
Couch time for an opportunity to catch up on what had happened in each other’s day. It is a time to listen to her without trying to fix the things that went wrong in her day. Trust me, at this point, she wants to be listened to, not have her problems fixed.
You need to compliment your wife. Tell her the things you appreciate and like about her. She likes to here why you fell in love with her and why you still love her. Let her know that she is beautiful, that’s she’s funny and smart. Tell her that you love her and what you love about her.
Let her know that you appreciate her and everything that she does for you and your family. Ensure that you look for things that she has done unnoticed, and mention them.
Talking regularly with your wife. It will strengthen your relationship with her, and give you success in other areas of your life as well.
Communicate – Non-Verbally
While communicating face to face is ideal, there are many ways we can communicate non-verbally. Text your wife and tell her that you love her, or what you appreciate about her. Put it on her mirror, in her handbag or lunch so it is a surprise when she finds it.
Reading is romantic, so read her something that interests you; part of a book, a story, something different.
Hold her hand. Nothing symbolizes love, like holding a lady’s hand, giving it a squeeze. Give her a hug in the morning and when you come home, particularly if her love language is physical touch. At the same time, don’t expect a reward for doing so.
Being present is probably one of the most important things a husband can do. Paying her attention, listening to her, focusing on her without the distractions of the world. It allows for a relationship to grow emotionally.
There needs to be a recognition of the Biblical truth that as the male in the relationship, you are to lead through serving. There are many ways that you can show that you love her through service.
Clean up after yourself, particularly in the bedroom and bathrooms. Make the bed when you get out in the morning. Clean up the kitchen after dinner, wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher and turn the dishwasher on, take the rubbish out. These are small things that only take a little time, but show that you care and that she is important.
Make a meal occasionally. I began with a choice of two meals, neither which were very good. But my wife was appreciative and gentle with her feedback. Now I cook more often than not when I am at home.
Lock up at night. Her knowing that you will lock the doors and windows, turning out the lights makes your wife feel secure and sleep better, in knowing that you are taking steps to protect her.
Look After Yourself
Your wife wants to see you fit and healthy, so look after yourself. Eat wisely, limit your alcohol intake. Even remembering to brush your teeth before bed. Looking after yourself gives her security that you will be around for a long time.
Give Her Time
Sometimes wives, especially mothers just need some down time. Some time to sleep in, relax, without husbands or children. Give her the time. Take the children out for a few hours. An afternoon nap on the weekend can bring new life to her.
Romance your wife. Learn her love language, and treat her to it. Buy her flowers or gifts. Ask her out on a date. Romance her like you did when courting, and make her feel special. Even the small things like opening the car door.
Praise her in front of others. Let her hear the thoughts you have about her, and you telling others how special she really is.
Be a Man
Finally, it’s about you, as a man. You need to demonstrate that you are a man to her. This is not physical acts of aggression, rather through practical things like working hard and showing you respect her. Also through emotional means of opening up and communicating with her. Tell her you are sorry when you make mistakes. Admit your weaknesses. You don’t have to be right all the time.
Love your wife, like there is no tomorrow. Cherish her. It’s worth the effort.
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