1) Be Present
The key to having a good relationship with your husband is being present in each other’s lives. This means while you are busy raising your children or living your life, make sure you’re not neglecting your relationship with him. You have one spouse for a reason—don’t let that connection fade away because of absentmindedness. If he asks you a question, answer it right away. If he wants to talk about something, be there and listen without another distraction around.
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2) Keep Open Communication
Having a safe place where you can express your feelings, emotions and thoughts are so important in any relationship. It’s important to keep your communication open throughout all aspects of your marriage. Without an open line of communication, you and your husband will start becoming disconnected, which could be detrimental to not only your marriage but also your family. Whether it’s a disagreement or something more serious, don’t bottle things up until they become too much for you to handle. Be sure that both parties are fully involved in conversations and feel comfortable expressing their true emotions. If one party feels like he or she can’t be completely honest with his or her spouse, then issues will arise.
3) Express Gratitude
One of the easiest ways to improve your relationship with your husband is by expressing gratitude. Expressing gratitude has been shown in multiple studies to decrease overall stress and increase happiness, which can definitely work towards improving a relationship. It also shows that you appreciate what you have rather than focusing on what’s lacking in your life. This doesn’t mean you should act like everything is perfect – communication is important for any marriage – but it’s worth noting that saying thank you actually helps improve relationships.
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4) Negotiate Conflict Constructively
No one likes conflict, but if you’re looking for ways to improve your relationship with your husband, then conflict is inevitable. According to marriage experts Scott Haltzman and Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love, there are three basic types of conflicts in a marriage: task-related disagreements over money and day-to-day affairs; emotion-based disputes concerning individual personality differences; and identity conflicts when two individuals have differing views on what it means to be married. In order to negotiate any type of conflict constructively, it’s important that you learn how not to frame arguments negatively—and instead focus on asking open questions and being willing to compromise.
5) Keep Your Expectations in Check
One of the keys to a strong relationship is having realistic expectations. Don’t expect your husband to be your best friend, even if that’s what you grew up with at home. There’s only so much of your life you can share with someone else and it isn’t always natural or easy for people who have known each other since childhood to suddenly open up their most intimate feelings and experiences. Similarly, don’t expect him to listen sympathetically every time something goes wrong in your day. Like anyone else, he gets worn out by work, kids, and household chores—and those are just some of his responsibilities. He has his own problems that might seem more important than yours from time to time.
6) Schedule Quality Time Together
If you and your husband are like most couples, you have a long list of excuses for why it’s hard to fit time together into your busy schedules. But even if you only find 30 minutes a week for an activity that’s just about you two, it can make a difference in your relationship. One study from Ohio State University showed that couples who consistently spend time with each other (i.e., spending no more than two days per week apart) see their relationship satisfaction go up over time, even if they don’t maintain regular contact when they’re apart. The act of being together is what matters most; planning fun activities help ensure that happens on a regular basis.
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7) Create New Traditions
One thing that I loved about my husband was his optimism. He truly believed that everything would work out and made a conscious effort to find something good in every situation. Of course, he wasn’t able to do it all of the time, but I was always grateful for how he tried and how much easier it made my life when he took charge. One of our favorite things about being married is creating new traditions together. We’ve fallen into some predictable ones, like coming up with a crazy meal plan every month or planning something fun for our birthdays. But we make sure we create at least one new tradition each year so that we have memories from our first year together all throughout our lives.
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8) Focus on What You Have Instead of What You Don't Have
As humans, we have a tendency to focus on what we don't have. If you're lacking in one aspect of your life, it's easy to set that as your goal and put all of your energy toward improving that one thing. This can actually end up causing a lot of stress in our lives since so much of our attention is focused on something (or many things) that may never happen. The best way to strengthen your relationship with your husband is by focusing on what you do have—and there's a lot. Don't focus on what you don't have; try and improve upon things that are already good.
9) Stop Nagging (Seriously, Just Stop!)
Nagging is a relationship killer because it’s built on negative interaction. The more you ask your husband to do something and he does it, but in his own way, or not at all, the less you feel like doing anything positive for him. Nagging rarely leads to results; when it does work, there’s often an underlying resentment about it. To strengthen your marriage and improve your relationship with your husband, try being more aware of when you are nagging and make a conscious effort to stop! Asking for what you want with respect will build positive communication between partners, which will lead to better results...and happier relationships!
Marriage is not a contest, though it sometimes feels like one. It’s a collaboration, and as with any collaboration, you need to listen to your partner in order for both of you to succeed. Marriage maybe works, but it doesn’t have to be hard work. - Sally Johnstone.
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