Just like anything else worth having, marriage requires maintenance. The fact that you and your partner love each other is a great start, but in order to experience long-term marital success, both parties must be committed to investing in the relationship. Marital satisfaction is defined by psychologists as a “mental state that reflects the perceived benefits and costs of marriage to a particular person.” The higher the perceived cost, the lower the marital satisfaction. Similarly, the higher the perceived benefits, the greater the marital satisfaction. If this theory rings true, then achieving marital satisfaction is more about striking the perfect balance between costs and benefits than it is avoiding the work required to sustain a marriage. Here are a few tips for balancing the books in your relationship.
Say “thank you”
A study led by social psychology professor Sara Algoe found that couples who were grateful and took the time to express gratitude were more satisfied in their relationships and felt closer. In addition, research has shown that gratitude produces a cycle of generosity.
It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy. It’s going to be difficult to enjoy your marriage in all of its splendor if you’re constantly comparing what you have to the relationships of others. It’s easy to focus on one aspect of someone else’s relationship and covet what they have; however, you really don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors.
Celebrate your wins
Research suggests that divorce is more closely associated with a decrease in positive things as opposed to an increase in negative things. So set aside time to celebrate good news.
Set a date to hang out with friends
And encourage your partner to do the same. It’s important to maintain a life outside of your marriage. While your spouse should be your primary source of emotional support and intimacy, it shouldn’t be your only meaningful connection.
Do the deed
According to a study published in Psychological Science, sexual intercourse produces a period of sexual satisfaction that lasts for a couple of days. During this time, partner bonding is enhanced, which increases relationship satisfaction over time.
Give compliments on their appearance
Sometimes waking up to the same face day in and day out can cause us to lose appreciation for our spouse’s physical appearance. Take the time to actually see them and offer compliments whenever you get a chance.
Tell them what they do well
Of course, your partner is more than his or her physical makeup. Perhaps your partner is an amazing cook or a natural problem-solver. Be sure to let them know what you appreciate about them and what they do well.
Schedule monthly or bi-monthly date nights
Date nights are a way to connect with your spouse over something fun as opposed to the daily stress and responsibility that comes with family life. Commit to getting out of the house and spending time alone once a month or every other month.
Commit to doing better
When you commit to self-improvement, even in the smallest of ways, you send the message to your spouse that you want to be a better person for yourself and your family. You may also inspire your partner to work on themselves as well.
Have a daily check-in time
Between work and managing the kids’ schedules, couples often forget to sit down and catch up. Try committing to sitting down and emotionally checking in with each other at the same time every day. You can initiate the conversation with a simple question about how their day went or something deeper such as asking how they feel things are going with your relationship.