Maybe your marriage is going through a difficult time. Or, perhaps your relationship is, for all intents and purposes, pretty near to perfect. In either case, there are surely ways you can work to improve your marriage. Just like even the happiest person would never turn down the chance to better their life, even a content couple can benefit from a happier, healthier relationship.
Whether you’re hoping to combat relationship problems and disagreements in marriage counseling or couples therapy or you’re just trying to find new ways to strengthen your connection to your spouse, small improvements can add up to a truly healthy relationship, even if you have a great marriage in the first place.
1. Consult a professional.
Whatever your motivation for improving your bond as a married couple, a counselor can prove to be a critical tool in your arsenal. Couple counseling or even individual therapy sessions can provide invaluable insight into your relationship and a deep sense of self. When your marriage counselor is a good fit, you’ll find that any number of therapy sessions can support you in not just combatting marital problems but improving your life more generally. Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of infidelity, feelings of loneliness within your marriage, or resentment over unresolved conflicts, there’s no telling what positive results a counselor can bring to your relationship.
Strictly in terms of improving your marriage, though, counseling is a step that comes with massive benefits. You may even turn to an intensive couples retreat for the even more monumental effects of marriage therapy. This is an even better way to take advantage of a good therapist and its potential impact on your marriage. On your first year of marriage or your 50th, your relationship is sure to see positive results from your first session of marital therapy or counseling.
2. Focus on self-improvement.
Most relationship advice, whether from a couples counselor or a well-meaning friend, focuses on your marriage or partnership, tackling relationship issues like poor communication skills, disconnection, or a sex life devoid of spark. However, the first step towards improving your marriage through relationship counseling or DIY methods is to look inward.
Beyond your relationship with your husband, wife, or partner, you’ll find that self-improvement can do wonders for a troubled relationship, whether through marital counseling or as a new approach you implement without or in addition to professional help. Of course, you should never become a different person in the most fundamental ways in an attempt to find common ground in your relationship. However, taking time to become a better person can be an equally impactful form of therapy. When your treatment plan includes meeting your own needs, your relationship is sure to follow suit.
3. Increase intimacy in all its forms.
Research shows that intimacy is as critical a factor in healthy relationships as anything else. The hardest part of this concept, though, is finding the ways your marriage can effectively increase that intimacy. This sort of closeness and connection is something that even dozens of counseling sessions with an expert couples therapist can’t create if it isn’t genuine.
However, couples or family therapy can provide a safe space where you and your partner can build upon this intimacy. Through individual or group therapy sessions, you and your spouse can work with the right therapist to set goals, strengthen your bond, and build greater emotional resilience even as you face more serious issues through years of marriage still to come.
4. Express genuine gratitude.
While marital problems can happen for any number of reasons, far too many types of tension stem from dissatisfaction or the implication thereof. Fortunately, both members of the couple can improve marital satisfaction and interrupt that perceived underappreciation and the negative feelings it bolsters in no time.
As any relationship expert will tell you, gratitude is a crucial part of the emotional bond between you and your spouse—in fact, it may be the most important thing in any kind of relationship. For your marriage to last for the long haul, it’s important to express gratitude for your partner and the little things they do for you. Of course, you don’t have to thank your husband for doing a load of dishes or tell your wife how much you appreciate every move she makes. However, a fulfilling long-term relationship will be built on feeling and expressing gratitude for your S.O.
5. Look at your relationship in a new way.
Even the most happy relationship can start to feel stale after a long time together. Those butterflies in your stomach inevitably fade, and you lose the pressure to be the best version of yourself every time you’re around your partner. After all, you’re spending the rest of your life together already—if you didn’t commit to the right partner, your romantic relationship would have struggled to come such a long way.
The best relationship advice you could receive is to take a deep look into the depths of your relationship every single day. The only thing standing between you and a more successful relationship is taking enough time to meet you and your partner’s needs alike. One great way to do so is to examine your marriage on a regular basis. Happy couples make time to plan regular date nights and make small gestures that let their partner feel the intricacies of true love.
All couples experience conflict, but a lot of people fall into the false perception that their marriage can only improve if they’re struggling to make the relationship work in the first place. However, that couldn’t be less true. So long as you and your partner share a willingness to improve your marriage and practice good communication to understand the other person’s needs better, you’ll find it can make a big difference in even a happy relationship.
Every day, real couples use marriage counseling to build upon their existing compatibility and affection, becoming more successful couples with each therapy session. From spending quality time with your best friend (to whom you just so happen to be married) to your opening yourself up to greater vulnerability, your marriage can thrive with a little extra effort.