There’s no shortage of reasons why your marriage could run off the tracks but, no matter what the root of the problem, it’s got one undeniable frustration: Your relationship is suffering. While disagreements are to be expected in any healthy relationship, the truth is that many married couples go through tough times due to more severe issues.
However, whether your present situation is due to infidelity, the tension surrounding finances, or some other kind of disconnect, there are a few ways you can regain intimacy and affection between you and your spouse, going a long way toward a more sustainable, romantic relationship going forward.
1. Remove yourselves from your current environment.
No matter the relationship issue at hand, you’ll subconsciously feel that negative energy in your current space, whether that’s your home, city, or another familiar place. A marriage retreat is one particularly effective way to take the two of you out of your current environment—and all the bleak associations that come with it—and allow you to have a good time together, combining marriage seminars with professional relationship experts with both one-on-one counseling and couples sessions designed to foster a prosperous, healthy long-term relationship.
Don’t know where to start? First, head to your favorite search engine and look for “marriage retreats near me” to find out what’s available in your area. Or, search the same sort of phrase for a retreat in another location, such as that destination the two of you have always wanted to see or one with a special meaning in terms of your relationship. From there, you can consider the different types of retreats and available packages to determine what works best for your own marriage and its unique needs.
2. Show genuine kindness towards one another.
Ask any happy couple, and they’ll surely tell you that the secret to a healthy relationship is to love each other a little bit every day. But, unfortunately, when your marriage is off-track, it’s easy to find yourself with feelings of contempt or resentment. To make a marriage work, though, you’ll need to replace these negative emotions with more positive feelings, like gratitude and empathy.
When you’re coming from the brink of divorce, this can seem a little bit forced or downright uncomfortable. However, you can more or less let go of the thought process behind these acts of kindness and rely instead on your lover’s instinct. For example, you might take a minute to fluff her pillow before she heads to bed in the evening or offers to play his favorite board games one Saturday morning, even if you aren’t especially interested in them yourself. This can even be as simple as stopping to hold hands for a few moments amidst a busy day. Each tiny piece of compassion or romance will contribute to greater feelings of intimacy and a stronger, healthier relationship.
3. Identify your problem areas.
To fix the problems your relationship is facing, you must know what issues to solve. Take some time to consider your situation from a rational rather than an emotional point of view and ask yourself: What are the circumstances, thoughts, feelings, and actions behind this result of an unhappy relationship? A counselor can be a fantastic tool by differentiating each of these factors. For example, you might find that feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, or defensiveness stem from a situation that you simply see as a bad thing that happened.
Then, you can start to consider what efforts you and your spouse can take to strengthen these week points. For instance, if misunderstandings and miscommunications are at the root of many of your issues, you might look to work on your own communication skills while helping him recognize when the way he expresses a specific thought or feeling comes off as a tone of disrespect. For the sake of your own mental health, you must remember that you can’t force people to change, not even when they’re your partner. However, in a couple that’s dedicated to getting their relationship back on track, they’ll be ready and willing to put in this work.
4. Consciously choose to rebuild your relationship.
Once you’ve worked on the issues causing issues in your marriage, it’s time to embrace forgiveness but avoid forgetting the situation altogether at the risk of cliche. Instead, you should remember the point from which you started this process, helping you gain a more perceptive viewpoint. You must remember to keep improving upon these former weak spots, but do so with genuine openness and willingness to improve your love life, not through feelings of resentment or fear.
For the most significant degree of relationship satisfaction, you’ll have to make space for quality time with your partner, even when your work life is hectic. In addition, you must endeavor to prioritize your relationship so that the next time you’re torn in multiple directions, you remember what matters most. As they say, when one door closes, another one opens—in this case, that second door is a wide-open opportunity to regain a happy marriage.
5. Take time for yourself.
While spending time with and otherwise prioritizing your partner is essential, it’s just as critical that you schedule some time with yourself. A bit of “me time” can foster a positive, healthy relationship! So, take some time for that hobby or other distractions, like joining your friends on a long-awaited get-away. The happiest couples strike a balance between alone time and couple time, allowing for connection and self-renewal in turn.
How much time or how little time you spend on each facet of your life will depend on you and your marriage, as will the activities you choose as sorts of self-care. For one person, it may be time spent in their workshop, building or creating. For another, it might be a Zoom call with friends or long-distance family members. In any case, it doesn’t matter what you do or how much time you spend doing it—what matters most is how well it works for you and your relationship.
While couples therapy or marriage counseling can be a good idea when it comes to getting your marriage back on track, a psychologist isn’t the only endeavor that can guide you towards a positive outcome. A few seemingly simple relationship tips can prove to be practical tools for making your relationship work in the long run. Of course, every couple will have their own most powerful way to foster intimacy and connection. At the end of the day, though, the only thing that matters is that they find that vital tool—once they’ve done that, they may very well feel like newlyweds or a couple on a first date all over again.