Small Habits that Build Marriages

Frances Hodgson Burnett said, “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” What a person focuses on (i.e., their attitude, habits, and actions) determines the outcome and the quality of their relationship.

Marriage is a significant relationship for the building of a society. I believe married couples can have a thriving relationship after years of being married. Many marriages drift apart and experience a fallout because couples do not prioritize the importance of their marriage. They quickly take each other for granted after marriage. As the saying goes, “We reap what we sow.” Thus, a thriving relationship between a married couple can continue to bloom and flourish if they reprioritize and cultivate the following few habits:

1. Treat Your Partner Like a Good Friend

Do not take your spouse’s love and friendship for granted. It is important to carve out time to create a relaxing atmosphere to interact, reconnect, and have fun together regularly. There is a saying, “Happy people stay together.” Married couples should continue to develop trust and intimacy through time together in sharing their vulnerabilities, needs, desires, and dreams they have. It will also give them the opportunities to discuss their expectations and avoid any misunderstanding, disappointment, or frustration they might have with one another. Treating your partner like a good friend means maintaining the essence of friendship in your marriage. It means spending quality time together, communicating openly, and being there for each other emotionally are all essential aspects of this habit.

2. Build A Culture of Appreciation and Respect

We live in a fast-paced world. The busyness and demands of our daily lives can cause us to feel exhausted. We might be operating in survival mode. Marriages will not grow, last, or thrive if we do not give appropriate attention to nurture and develop it. Hence, it is important to create rituals for connection, to establish regular stress-reducing connection, and to attune ourselves to our partners. We can build a culture of appreciation by trying the following activity: Three to four times a week, we can set aside ten to fifteen minutes to take turns telling each other one thing we appreciate or are thankful for. Be specific and sincere in the compliments and listen attentively without interruption. At the end of the conversation, we can hug and give kisses as affirmation and appreciation for our partner. Expressing gratitude and showing respect are vital for fostering a positive atmosphere in a marriage. Taking time to appreciate each other regularly can help reinforce feelings of love and connection.

3. Handle Conflicts Kindly and Positively

John Gottman said, “Conflict is an opportunity to learn how to love each other better over time.” If a couple hopes to maintain an intimate and lasting relationship, they need to learn to communicate and handle conflicts in a kind and positive way. One golden rule to remember is when there is a disagreement, try not to engage negatively. Positive conflict resolution requires individuals to maintain a positive attitude, listening without criticizing, blaming, or becoming defensive, shutting down, or acting superiorly over others. Try to understand the problem from your partner’s perspective. Take turns to speak without raising your voice, listen with empathy, do not give unsolicited advice, and show genuine interest in one another. Take a break or time off when emotions are escalating or overcharged. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but how it is handled makes all the difference. Approaching conflicts with empathy, patience, and a willingness to understand each other’s perspectives can lead to resolution and growth rather than resentment.

In conclusion, when I was young because I loved reading fairy tales because I loved seeing couples live happily ever after. Now as I grow older, I still love seeing couples get along and live happily in their relationships as married couples. The world that we live in is a chaotic one, there are people hurting around us. When marriages break down, not only are the couple hurting, but so is everyone else all around them. By consistently practicing these three habits, couples can create a strong foundation for their marriage and navigate challenges together effectively. Healthy relationships will contribute to the well-being of society through the strengthening of families.

If you need any support in your marriage, please do not hesitate to call SACAC as we have a group of professional therapists and psychologists who can help you.

Written by:
Joyce Ng
Clinical Psychologist MSPS
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
SACAC Counseling Pte Ltd

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