Marriage problems can happen even in loving marriages where couples raise children, don’t fight and seem to be fine on the surface, according to Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of sociology, psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. You can find yourself in a rut and coasting along, or you can have more obvious problems, such as an affair or conflict. If you want to save your marriage, you can adopt some behavioral patterns that will turn your wife’s heart back toward you to get your marriage back on track.
Treat your wife exceptionally well, advises Jim Burns, President of HomeWord and author of “Creating an Intimate Marriage.” Remind her on a daily basis that you love her and appreciate all that she does for you and your family, no matter how difficult your problems are. Make your comments specific, such as “I appreciate how hard you work to keep our home organized and feed us nutritious meals.” Add loving actions to your words, such as rubbing her feet when she’s had a long day, offering to help her with chores and leaving her loving notes. Refuse to let your marriage problems cause you to treat her unkindly.
Schedule time for regular romantic intimacy no matter what else is going on, suggests Sallie Foley, MSW, director of the Center for Sexual Health at the University of Michigan. Burns agrees and recommends that you schedule regular date nights and relieve your wife from childcare duties so you can focus on your relationship together with enjoyable activities. Ask her where she would like to eat dinner or catch that movie she said she wanted to see. Go for a walk in the park or fly kites together. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but it should include activities she would like to do. Don't let marital problems steal your sense of fun or convince you that dating her isn't necessary.
Speak to her respectfully, even when you don’t agree, suggests Dr. Gary Smalley in his book, “Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships.” Find constructive ways to deal with marital conflict so that you can resolve things quickly and reduce anger. Refuse to let problems pile up. Avoid angry outbursts or annoying behaviors that cause her to withdraw from you or shut you out, draining her love bank and causing her to resent you, advises Dr. Willard J. Harley, Jr., in his book, “Love Busters.”
Touch her without it necessarily leading to sex, Smalley suggests. Provide eight to 10 significant, affectionate loving touches every day. Let her know she is desirable and you like being married to her, despite the rough spot you are in. Hold her hand when you go for a walk, hug her as you pass her in the kitchen, cuddle, kiss her when you come and go from the house or dance her around the room to music only you can hear. If she responds and wants sexual contact, make it happen in a loving, fun and caring manner.
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