Here are three ways to keep your marriage solid and happy while going through periods of major stress or change:
1. Get on Team “We”
Maintain a team mentality. As far as household chores go, researchers at Brigham Young University found that couples are happier when they do them together. The best part? They also found that it isn’t the actual division of labor that matters; it’s how satisfied the couple is with that division of labor.
So, create an open dialogue about the ongoing chores, divvy them up in a way that works for you both, and then discuss and together, tackle other tasks as they come up.
A team mentality leaves both partners feeling supported, regardless of who is doing what. As a member of a team, you have a loving co-collaborator to consult with and rely upon when needed. You share goals — whether it’s tackling the evening dishes or getting your son through college — you simply plan … together … how to accomplish them.
2. Communicate about … everything.
“Communicate” does not mean talking about it endlessly. Keep each other in the loop, but don’t spend every spare second of your time discussing the minute details of who’s doing the laundry or who’s taking the cat to the vet. Also, talk about the big stuff, too … hopes and dreams for your kids, who you’re voting for in the next election, all the fun things you want to add to your bucket list — give equal time to communicating about the good stuff!
This is key: Stop and take time to articulate your appreciation for your partner and acknowledge the contributions they make to the family. It’s really easy to get caught up in the mundane details of running a household and forget to say “thank you.”
3. Feed your love with “the little things”
Do something unexpected that shows you care; those small gestures go a long way. Hug for a little longer in the morning, bring home flowers for no reason, compliment his outfit, or bring her a cup of tea … you’ll find that actions really do speak louder than words. Those little moments are a saving grace during challenging times. They’re another way to say “I love and appreciate you. And I’m by your side in this.”
You may not realize how precious and important those small kindnesses are to your partner.
A friend once told me that watching her husband do the dishes was better than foreplay (perhaps, better known as “choreplay”). Now there’s a thought!