The Top 5 Actions You Can Take to Keep a Healthy Marriage
Pardon me for using a bowling term, but it is the best way I could describe our efforts to keep the ball on the lane. Keep the bumpers up if you don’t want to end up in the gutter.
No. 1 Keep traditions. Keep praying before meals, going to church, taking a vacation, cuddling before going to sleep. Have your family devotions. Celebrate holidays. Traditions keep the family strong.
No. 2 Stay affectionate. Keep saying “Please” and “Thank you” and “I love you.” Remember eye contact. Remember to touch. Small frequent affectionate squeezes of the hand, a back rub, a foot rub…all these keep the connectors alive and well.
No. 3 Sit beside the road. Remember little time-outs just to “be” with no stress and time restraints. A walk, a night out, sitting on a deck, etc. Give time to catch up and go deeper.
No. 4 Remember the 5 to 1 ratio. In the famous marriage research done by Dr. John Gottman, it was discovered that it takes 5 positives to outweigh 1 negative response. Usually a negative is a criticism of some sort and it takes 5 things your mate did right or well to offset a criticism. It is a careful ecological balance.
No. 5 Create a strong safety net. I teach that each promise kept ties a knot in the safety net. Pay attention to the agreements you make. Be a person of your word. If you absolutely must break the agreement, be sure you are negotiating a new agreement. Life is going to drop some really big rocks in your net, so be sure you have created one that can handle the small ones and the boulders.