Nine Ways to Improve Your Marriage

By David Burgess

1. Make a Commitment.

Research substantiates the importance of commitment in a satisfying and healthy relationship. Commitment will provide the additional motivation and purpose when one or both partners do not “feel” like working on the marriage.

2. Attend to Your Partner Totally.

It is important to retain your own individuality in any relationship. However, when you are together, and even on occasions when you are apart, develop the habit of focusing your attention and energy on your partner. Being attentive to the other person’s needs and interests will help that person feel valued and important. They, in turn, will usually express their appreciation appropriately.

3. Express Love Openly.

There are verbal and nonverbal methods for conveying expressions of love. Study your partner. Learn to understand their specific ways of expressing and receiving verbal and nonverbal messages of love. Do this often in your relationship. Acts of love are always acceptable ways of telling someone else how much they are truly appreciated.

4. Listen

Develop the art of listening in your relationship. It is a skill! Research in marital and family therapy studies consistently emphasizes the value of listening skills in fulfilling and healthy relationships.

5. Observe Your Partner.

This requires time and energy invested in your relationship by studying your partner and learning about him/her. This means becoming well acquainted with likes and dislikes and special characteristics of your partner.

6. Feedback.

Learning to express both positive and negative messages of feedback in a relationship will enhance the quality of intimacy between partners. Use nods and smiles to give your partner feedback about how you feel concerning the relationship.

7. Communicate.

Share what is on your mind, especially your feelings. The communication of thought and feeling in any relationship is a basic.

8. Be Honest

As you communicate your thoughts and feelings, state honestly and openly how you feel, as well as what you want. It is important to use good judgment and to express consideration for your partner’s feelings. Remember, in any workable, satisfying marriage, honesty is important.

9. Grow Together.

A healthy marriage is one in which both partners learn to appreciate and respect the differences and similarities that exist. Growing together is a skill that takes time

Article adapted from Contactmagazine, January 1993.