Building a marriage is hard work and working as a team makes it much easier. Unfortunately, many couples compete against each other, keeping score when hurt, needing to have the last word or one-uping their mate and withholding forgiveness when wronged, according to Dr. Brett Sparks, a therapist at the National Institute of Marriage. Couples can behave like enemies, rather than teammates. Working cooperatively is a better option for spouses, especially when you both win by having an outstanding marriage.
Make your marriage a priority, advise Dave and Claudia Arp, marriage experts and authors of “10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage.” Let your family know that your husband comes first with you, followed by your children. Remind them that you love them dearly, but you must build your family your way.
Take time each day to spend time talking, working together on challenges and building your relationship together, advise the Arps. Ask him how his day was and what he might need from you. Consult him about decisions that need to be made, such as major purchases, disciplining the kids and how to meet each others needs. When he sees that you put him at the top of your priority list, he can follow suit and work with you to make your relationship a partnership.
Encourage him on a regular basis and cheer for him rather compete with him, suggests psychiatrist and marriage columnist Dr, Gail Saltz, who writes that it is normal to feel some competition when you are both doing the same tasks, such as parenting your kids or taking over your kitchen, especially when he seems to be doing a better job. Resist the urge to measure one another with a yardstick. Talk about your feelings so you can work it out together.
Consider what you need and want him to be and then try to fulfill those needs, suggests Michael Hyatt, former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. The behaviors you need from him and can demonstrate yourself could include being supportive, articulate what is best in him, say “Thank you” when he does something you appreciate, listen with an open mind and heart and love him unconditionally. Keep demonstrating that loving behavior until you and your husband are in synchronicity with each other.
Discover what your husband’s top five emotional needs are and meet them, suggests Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. in “His Needs, Her Needs.” Harley says that men and women have similar emotional needs, but they are not identical. Men’s basic emotional needs tend to be sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, physical attraction to a spouse, domestic support and expressing admiration. Women’s needs tend to be physical affection, conversation, honesty, financial support and family commitment. Dr. Harley writes that your husbands needs might vary from others, so discuss his needs and then set yourself to meeting those needs.
- National Institute of Marriage: Your Spouse is Not the Enemy
- 10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage; David and Claudia Arp
- Dr. Gail Saltz: Competition with Your Spouse
- Michael Hyatt: How to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend
- His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-proof Marriage; Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr.
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