A great relationship is work, but it should feel like fun, too.
If you've been feeling frustrated that your relationship is in trouble, don't panic! Getting professional help from a counseling program or therapist may be important eventually, and it's an option you should keep in mind. First though, it's important to try to recharge your battery together. Here are 7 surprisingly effective quick fixes to fix your marriage:
1. Soup Up The Sex
There's always room for improvement in your sex lives! You can start by setting aside more intimate time. Then, figure out how to make the sex you have even better. For example, add music. Spend more time being affectionate before you hit the bed. Move more and use those pelvic muscles. Even take a look at some how-to sex books. The reality is that sexual connection is the key reset button for elevating the tone of a relationship in both men and women!
2. Switch Your Focus
Because eyes look outward it can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what your partner does that bugs you. Better, though, stop trying to change your partner, period. Re-focus your eyes on insight. Figure out what you can do differently. How would the changes you can make - the ones that you have control over - lighten up both of your lives?
3. Do The Math
Focus on how to add more affection and appreciation into your relationship. Subtract out negatives like criticism, disagreement, blame and complaints.
4. Look Ahead
Focusing on the past risks feeding old resentments and disappointments. Instead, figure out what a great relationship would look like and start acting that way TODAY. Placing your energy on future goals as a couple will help you create a game plan for getting there.
5. Mind Your 3-Letter Words
Eliminate the word "but" when speaking to your partner. Each time you respond with "but..." you are erasing what you just heard, making your partner feel erased, too. Eliminate "not" too: I'm not pleased, I don't want to, etc… Instead, use lots of "Yes!"
6. Stay In The Calm Zone
Anger is very off-putting. Sadness is healthy to share, and anxiety too. Anger, by contrast, drives your partner away. If your partner initiates an angry interaction, you're at risk for catching fire, so exit ASAP. Stand up, say something like, "Excuse me, I need to get a drink of water," and use your legs to get out of range. When you return, initiate affection and change the topic.
7. Have More Fun
Fun doesn't have to cost money. Turn on music while you do dishes together. Go outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Or do just about anything that's different. New, with a positive attitude, is invigorating.
At some point you also will want to dig deeper to fix the broken pieces in your relationship, especially if they are tough ones like addictions, excessive anger, infidelity, financial problems or communication problems. But it's helpful to first use the tips above to fix your relationship connection.
Susan Heitler, Ph.D., author of The Power of Two book and workbook, invites you to check out PowerOfTwoMarriage.com.