Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage



You are probably familiar with the statistic suggesting that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, but what this statistic doesn’t tell you is that the underlying reasons for divorce can be widely varied. An unhealthy relationship doesn’t happen overnight – it builds up over a period of months or years with both parties sharing the responsibility. If you want to improve your marriage and strengthen your relationship with your spouse, it all starts in learning about the most common reasons that marriages fail.

Why Do Marriages End?

Many therapists and relationship experts will agree that lack of communication is by far one of the most common reasons relationships fail. It is easy to place the blame on your partner, faulting them for not opening up to you, but it is important to remember that communication is a two-way street. Without proper communication, there can be no trust in a relationship – this is another trouble area for many relationships. Trust is about more than just fidelity – it is also about having your needs met by another person and allowing them to become an integral part of your life.

It is not uncommon for people to say during a divorce that their spouse is not the person they thought he or she was. In most cases, this is not actually a matter of the spouse changing over the course of the marriage but a case of unrealistic expectations. Wanting or expecting your spouse to be someone he or she is not can put a lot of strain on the relationship and on that person. If neither of you is willing to compromise it will only lead to disaster.

Feeling a lack of fulfillment can also lead to trouble – if you feel like your spouse is holding you back from taking certain opportunities or from achieving goals, you will become bitter toward them and that will poison the relationship.

Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

A strong relationship is a bond between two individuals who genuinely care for each other and who routinely act in the other’s best interests. Sometimes in order to prioritize your marriage and your spouse you must do things that you don’t like. For example, many people find it difficult to apologize to another person – even if they are obviously in the wrong. If you let your pride rule your actions it will form a wedge between you and your spouse. Making an apology is not just about admitting that you were wrong – it is also about acknowledging and legitimizing the other person’s feelings.

Another simple way to strengthen your marriage is to make your relationship fun. Many times, people become focused on the things that are going wrong with the relationship and they forget to think about the things that bring them joy. Take the time to enjoy each others company and if your spouse does something you like or appreciate, tell them! Something as simple as a “thank you” can go a long way toward making your spouse feel appreciated and loved.

As important as it is to spend time with your spouse, in order for your relationship to thrive, however, you must also maintain your lives as individuals. You cannot expect your spouse to fulfill all of your needs and you do not need to spend every waking moment together. Don’t be afraid to have your own friends or to pursue your own hobbies. Sometimes spending a little time away from your spouse can help you to appreciate them even more when you are together.

And Don’t Forget About the Sex!

Though sex is not the most important part of any relationship, it is still very important. Being intimate with your spouse will help to develop your feelings of trust and love for one another – plus it is a great way to relieve some stress! Some married couples feel that scheduling sex is helpful because it becomes easy to forget about it in the hassle of busy daily life. Only you can understand your own marriage so you and your spouse should decide together whether scheduling sex is something that could help you or if you prefer to keep things spontaneous.

Forming a strong relationship with your spouse will take time and commitment from both of you. If you are serious about keeping your marriage strong, be proactive about it! Have a conversation with your spouse about areas of the relationship that might be lacking and discuss ways to make improvements. Above all, don’t forget to compromise so that both of your needs are being met!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

What marriage advise would you give to a newly married couple?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2016, 01:46 PM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

I disagree. Athol Kay, a prominent online marriage consultant, says: Marriage is at its heart, a sexual relationship. Without the sex it's just a legally binding friendship, which is a needlessly complicated way of having a friend. The basic agreement of being married is to meet each other’s sexual needs and not to run round getting them met anywhere else.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2016, 03:21 PM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

It's all good advice and for the most part, it's all do-able and can be worked on, with the gross exception of sex.

Like jbird669 said, sex/intimacy and even simple acts of affection are integral parts of what gives each person the reassurance that despite everything else going on, "we're ok." These go a long way to ensure the survival of a marriage, because plain and simply, it's what caused two people to connect in the first place. I'm sure this has been talked about over and over on these boards and I find it very curious that men and women alike try and expand on this simple subject to point of hilarious discourse and extrapolated explanations, when it's a simple fact.

When these critical components severely diminish or nearly disappear all together, there's simply no excuse for the marriage to continue as is, despite everything else being "fine." Yes I'm a married man and I have bias because of my own situation but it does seem pretty clear to me. Especially when your spouse isn't able to properly communicate what it is that they actually want, and yet seem perfectly content to continue a sort of farce, almost like calling a bluff that the other party won't do anything really serious about it, only to later find out that they slept around and then accuse them of any number of improprieties, making them look like the ultimate bad person. When, all along the intimacy lacking, the affection wasn't there.

Sad isn't it?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2016, 03:22 PM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

Good advice. I am a very big believer in good communications. Sex is more important than most people realize. Sex releases Oxytocin, a hormone whose purpose is to emotionally bond a couple together. The more exposure to this hormone through sex, the greater the emotional bond and intimacy the couple will have. Don't get trapped into a dangerous cycle because the less sex you have, the less you want sex which in turn, results in even less sex.

Always make sure that you let your spouse know that she is still attractive, sexy, desirable and loved, each and every day. Be each other's best friends but also give each other their own space. Too much of a good thing is not good.

Studies show that most women who have affairs do so for emotional reasons. Their spouse takes them for granted and stops treating them like they did when they were still dating. No more reason to get all dressed up for a night on the town. No reason to buy sexy lingerie and dresses. They want someone to make them feel desirable and sexy like they used to feel before they got married. They also want someone who does not treat sex as routine and over with when only one of the pair has an orgasm. On the other hand, most men cheat just to have sex. Wives stop doing some of the things they used to do with oral sex being the main complaint. They make sex feel like it is something to get over with; a marital duty.

There will be times when your desire to have sex will keep decreasing due to stress, raising kids and driving them around all day, being tired, etc.. I have found that scheduling a night or two each week as date night helps a lot. These are nights that attendance is mandatory and sex and clothing are optional. You can just cuddle and talk or have sex. We have found that it always helps to get us back on track sexually. Have each other write down sexual fantasies or things you want to try. Compare list and see if there are things you both have in common or would not mind doing to please the other.

Communication is key and yet so many couples that are unhappy never talk to each other. I read things like she always seems unhappy or not in the mood for sex and then go onto the internet and ask strangers why she is behaving that way instead of asking their wife. Women in particular seem to expect their husband to know what is bothering them when in reality, we are clueless dolts. I cannot count the number of times my wife was giving me the silent treatment and I did not know it. I thought I was just lucky that she was leaving me alone for a change. I learned such things like my wife did not like stubble on my face; rubs her thighs raw and the reason why she never wanted me to perform oral sex on her. A shower immediately before sex also resulted in more oral sex for me. My wife found out why I do not do more around the house. I told her that I knew that whether I did it or not, she would complain. It was never exactly the way she wanted it done or done immediately because she is OCDC and needs things done when she thinks of them even though they can wait. There are all sorts of things both sexually and relationship wise that we tend to hold in and fix themselves. Talk, talk and talk until my wife tells me to stop talking. It really helps and if you are too embarrassed to talk, email each other. My wife and I do this often. It is sometimes easier to say what you want to say in writing rather than face to face.

Compromise. Marriage is a compromise. We are not so lucky as to find the best mate for us living in our town and who is the best lover, richest man and most intelligent human on earth. We settle and sometimes we settle for less than we need and that can be a problem. Women have a bad habit of marrying someone and thinking that they can change him. What you see is what you get so if you cannot change your spouse, accept them for who they are rather than get upset that your attempts at changing an adult is not working because he or she is not trying to change. I cannot remember a time when my wife and I disagreed and were not able to compromise. Neither of us did anything that the other did not want done. The way to do this is to consider the needs and wants of your spouse in every decision you make that will affect them.

The last thing is something we and a few of our friends did. We did not require sexual fidelity. More than half of men and women cheat. They really have no choice. if they want to have sex with someone else, society dictates that they first destroy the life they built with their spouse, sell their home, fight for custody of the children and hate each other due to the legal battle that follows which will result in financial harm to both of you. All that just because you want to have sex with some women that you are attracted to. Non monogamy worked for us but to tell the truth, whether monogamous or not, the rate of divorce seemed to be the same among our monogamous and non monogamous friends. In our case it was useful because my wife and her best friend are bi. Although they both prefer sex with women, they want a man for marriage and romance. Since I cannot grow a vagina, it would have been a problem for us. Plus my sexual drive is much greater than my wife's and my fetishes, not to her liking .What we did was perfect for us. Everyone was happy and got all the sexual pleasure they could handle and as a result, were happy all the time. As I said, this is not for everyone but some form of an open marriage may work if the circumstances are right for it.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 02:54 PM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

I read the part about sex as "being important, but not the most important part". Good article.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 12:33 AM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbird669 View Post
I disagree. Athol Kay, a prominent online marriage consultant, says: Marriage is at its heart, a sexual relationship. Without the sex it's just a legally binding friendship, which is a needlessly complicated way of having a friend. The basic agreement of being married is to meet each other’s sexual needs and not to run round getting them met anywhere else.
Personally, I'm happy that my marriage isn't, at its heart, a sexual relationship. Don't get me wrong - sex is great and it's important that my husband and I both have our needs met - but our marriage is, at its heart, a friendship. We've been together 15 years or so now, and it's working out great for us.

I think there are actually a number of problems that stem from people assuming sex is (or should be) at the heart of a relationship. To me the true indicator of my relationship's health, though, has nothing to do with how much sex we're having. The true indicator is whether we're each striving to make sure we both have what we want out of life, which includes sex among many other things.

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Originally Posted by dm661 View Post
Like jbird669 said, sex/intimacy and even simple acts of affection are integral parts of what gives each person the reassurance that despite everything else going on, "we're ok." These go a long way to ensure the survival of a marriage, because plain and simply, it's what caused two people to connect in the first place.
I don't think sex is a good reason to "connect in the first place." By which I mean, it's a terrible basis for a relationship.

If you begin your relationship based on sex, and confirm it based on sex, it may be too easy to ignore the importance of other things in your shared life together until they begin to fall apart.

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Originally Posted by Vinnydee View Post
Good advice. I am a very big believer in good communications. Sex is more important than most people realize. Sex releases Oxytocin, a hormone whose purpose is to emotionally bond a couple together. The more exposure to this hormone through sex, the greater the emotional bond and intimacy the couple will have.
Eh. True, but this doesn't make sex the end-all-be-all for various reasons, including that there are other ways of releasing oxytocin, and other ways of bonding besides oxytocin. I'll get to those below.

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Originally Posted by Vinnydee View Post
Don't get trapped into a dangerous cycle because the less sex you have, the less you want sex which in turn, results in even less sex.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. There've certainly been times in my own relationship when we've gone without sex for some time and it can be difficult for one or both of us to get back in the swing of it. To me the most important thing to remember is that when either person has a need, it's important that the other is willing to help fulfill it even if they aren't in the mood or mindset. That's really what's at the heart of a relationship - each wanting the other person to be fulfilled and happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnydee View Post
I have found that scheduling a night or two each week as date night helps a lot. These are nights that attendance is mandatory and sex and clothing are optional. You can just cuddle and talk or have sex. We have found that it always helps to get us back on track sexually. Have each other write down sexual fantasies or things you want to try. Compare list and see if there are things you both have in common or would not mind doing to please the other.
Weirdly, scheduling sex is something I haven't tried. But I suspect it's good advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnydee View Post
Communication is key and yet so many couples that are unhappy never talk to each other. I read things like she always seems unhappy or not in the mood for sex and then go onto the internet and ask strangers why she is behaving that way instead of asking their wife. Women in particular seem to expect their husband to know what is bothering them when in reality, we are clueless dolts. I cannot count the number of times my wife was giving me the silent treatment and I did not know it. I thought I was just lucky that she was leaving me alone for a change. I learned such things like my wife did not like stubble on my face; rubs her thighs raw and the reason why she never wanted me to perform oral sex on her. A shower immediately before sex also resulted in more oral sex for me. My wife found out why I do not do more around the house. I told her that I knew that whether I did it or not, she would complain. It was never exactly the way she wanted it done or done immediately because she is OCDC and needs things done when she thinks of them even though they can wait. There are all sorts of things both sexually and relationship wise that we tend to hold in and fix themselves. Talk, talk and talk until my wife tells me to stop talking. It really helps and if you are too embarrassed to talk, email each other. My wife and I do this often. It is sometimes easier to say what you want to say in writing rather than face to face.
I see a lot of this, too. My advice on the subject is generally to schedule a meeting out of the house. When you go to a coffee shop to talk, you're more likely to keep calm and reasonable and work to resolve issues together. I suspect our biweekly meetings are part of the reason my spouse and I have achieved so much together and are consistently on the same page. We still have our problems, of course, but they're shared problems. For example, we spend too much money on eating out. But it's something we work on together and we both take responsibility for curbing our bad habits, and make it our aim to help each other for our shared benefit.

I think emailing is a good idea to start with, but talking face-to-face is something a couple needs to be able to do with each other, even if they couldn't with other people. If emailing could eventually progress to writing out a practice email just to gather one's thoughts to say something in person, I think it would help bring both people closer together. Experiencing acceptance after sharing something personal or embarrassing is a powerful affirmation in a relationship!

Then again, I have a tendency to force myself to blurt things out in all kinds of situations (in an effort to be true to myself and assertive about my needs)... so perhaps I just have more experience with it and it's easier for me. Still, I know how much it's strengthened my relationship, to know my spouse accepts me, and actually, loves me all the more for the things I've shared with him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnydee View Post
Compromise. {...} I cannot remember a time when my wife and I disagreed and were not able to compromise. Neither of us did anything that the other did not want done. The way to do this is to consider the needs and wants of your spouse in every decision you make that will affect them.
The advise I always see about "compromise" makes me sad. It's not that I disagree, exactly. I mean, what you're saying isn't inaccurate. The problem for me is the focus on giving something up and settling for less for yourself.

I prefer to focus on the positive side of things: My wish for my spouse to have and experience all the things he wants out of life, and to incorporate those things into my vision for my own life. Sometimes that means shifting priorities away from the things I want, but that's not all that's happening. In doing so, I'm celebrating making something great happen for my spouse.

For example, as exhausted as I am with a new baby the past four months, I realize I'm not the only one who's tired. So when I went to visit my sister the other day, I made it into an overnight trip with the baby so my husband could have a night to recharge and go watch the Star Wars movie (also this way we aren't "those people" with a baby in the movie theatre :P) and not have me asking him for things all night. He pulls ten-hour night shifts from 9pm-7am, and he hasn't had a weekend to himself in far too long. So for me, it made me feel good to give him some peace and quiet. And when I got back, I had a happy, refreshed husband. Well, he also had a tummyache from too much Burger King but what can you do? :P

Anyway, I've rambled about enough stuff for the moment.

In a nutshell: I think sex is important, but ideally not the basis nor primary indicator of a healthy relationship. What really matters is a consistent want to make things great for each other.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 05:07 AM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

That's true. Commitment is another thing that helps a marriage .thrive. If couple could try and make some sacrifices that will be benefitial to their marriage, things will move on well.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 10:14 AM
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Re: Simple Tips to Improve Your Marriage

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There've certainly been times in my own relationship when we've gone without sex for some time and it can be difficult for one or both of us to get back in the swing of it.
God Bless you, Faiora. I couldn't deal with this. This is a small part of why my marriage failed. Now I have a great GF and sex is never an issue (other than when I don't see her cuz of work and have to take care of things myself).
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