Keeping your relationship healthy takes a lot of work. But referring to it as "work" sure takes the fun out of being married, doesn't it?
That's the thing that couples unconsciously do amidst the business of keeping their marriages afloat. You became a couple to enjoy each other's company, and when the responsibilities of married life come rolling in, the relationship feels like an endless series of boring chores.
Marriage doesn't have to feel like work all the time; as a couple, you owe it to yourself to remember the pleasure of enjoying the little things.
Take your daily conversations for instance. When was the last time you had a pleasant chat that wasn't about the kids, your bills or the errands you have to run?
If you're having a hard time answering that, there are a few things you can do to make your conversations a way to make your marriage more pleasant on a daily basis:
#1: Don't Talk About Your Problems
Remember when I just asked about the last time you talked to your spouse about something other than your marital duties? This is actually the first rule of pleasant conversation!
When you're at a party with your co-workers, talking about work is probably not a great way to keep everyone in a festive mood. Instead, you'd probably feel bummed out and stressed.
The same should apply to your marriage. You signed up for better or worse, but it doesn't mean ALL of your conversations have to revolve around the mountain of stuff you need to get done.
Everyone needs a break, so take the initiative to set aside a certain time of the day to use that release valve and talk about something that you do like. It can be the simplest of things, like the funny joke your boss cracked at the board meeting or that silly cat video you saw on YouTube.
#2: "There, threre"
Ok, so maybe your spouse will feel like talking about things that are stressing him or her out (to blow off steam) and you feel like offering some helpful guidance on what to do about it.
Here's a tip: Don't.
As much as you might want to play counselor at this time, it would be better to hang back and let your spouse do the talking instead of coming up with a solution. If you really want to help, try to identify what he or she is feeling and mirror it back to your spouse.
For example, you can tell your spouse, "Geez, that sucks!" or "I'd probably throw a fit if that were me!"
It's actually more important to lend a sympathetic ear and make your partner feel you're in their corner. This is the best time to enforce that valuable sense of "we-ness" with something as basic as "I can't believe what a jerk your co-worker is!"
#3: "And Then What Did You Do??"
Who says all gifts come with a price tag? Your undivided attention is one of the best things you can give to your spouse to make them feel special.
Expressing a real sense of interest in their life is very beneficial to your marriage as it validates your partner's feelings. Chances are, your partner will have strong emotions attached to their anecdotes, so keeping your ears peeled and asking follow up questions is like saying, "I get you."
Sometimes, the basic courtesy of being a good listener is one of the simplest yet overlooked tricks to a great conversation with your spouse.
We've mentioned in the past that stress can accumulate in a marriage. Although we need to take the edge off marital difficulties by taking care of ourselves, your daily conversations can serve to de-stress you on a shared level.
Making a conscious effort to tweak your conversational style can surprisingly go a long way in doing that. In time, you'll develop the daily ritual of chatting your stress away at the day's end!
How do you make your conversations with your spouse more pleasant? Let us know in the comments!