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Marriage Tips (Top 7 that Really Help!)

Marriage tips (Top 7) that are sure to improve the quality of your relationship. These 7 marriage skills and activities have been gathered from the best advice of couples counselors and family mediators.

Marriage Tips: The Top 7 Skills and Tools for Couples

In addition to the relationship skills and repair techniques in the Relationship Repair Game, below are the top seven marriage tips for improving trust, connection, and the overall quality of your relationship. For each of these tips and activities that you both agree to implement, it is important for both of you take the initiative or take turns initiating, as the effort expresses love as much as the relationship skills themselves.

1. HUGGING UNTIL RELAXED

Particularly effective within the first 15 minutes of seeing each other at the end of a busy day, this marriage tip builds connection and safety while helping to inoculate each of you against the stresses of life. Gently and silently hug each other with eyes closed, while inhaling breath into the anxious and tight places and releasing emotional and bodily tension during the exhale. Continue doing this until both of you are relaxed and present, which may take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the degree of stress in your life and body. 

2. COMMIT . . . TO DATE NIGHT

Many people feel awkward about having a regularly scheduled time to have fun and enjoy each other's company, believing that should happen naturally. However, the fullness of work, parenting or life often takes over, and it doesn't naturally happen. Scheduling a regular weekly or bi-weekly "date night" (kid-free) expresses and demonstrates this relationship is a priority. It is all the more important when there is a lot of processing of relationship problems: If you do not share play, fun and enjoyment of each other, it is difficult to maintain the enthusiasm for "working on the relationship." While date night can be brief (at least 90 minutes), it is essential that you protect the time with a focus on enjoying each other, holding any complaints and criticisms separate for a different time, as described in Relationship Skill #3 below.

3. PERFORM A ROUTINE CLEARING

When there are regular arguments, verbal jabs, whining / complaining or demanding in a relationship, then each person is likely to be existing on eggshells, living on the edge of nervous system reactivity and rarely relaxing fully into trusting they are safe and accepted. To relieve this anxiety, schedule a regular weekly time for clearing any relationship problems and gripes. For example, each person would have up to 20 minutes on a Wednesday evening to express their frustrations and upsets, while the other person uses empathetic listening or other non-defensive active listening techniques aimed purely at understanding and expressing care. Throughout the week, each person agrees to not make provocative comments, jabs or gripes at other times, but rather saves it for the scheduled clearing time.

4. EXCHANGE CARING REQUESTS

On a scheduled day each week, (Sunday evening is ideal), take turns asking each other the following question: "What can I do this next week to help you feel more loved, supported, or cared for?" The person asked will offer at least three different specific and doable requests, and the person asking will choose one of them to clarify (if needed), agree to, and commit to making happen. This practical marriage tip has many potent relationship skills embedded in it.

5. LEARN THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE, AND SPEAK IT

Author Gary Chapman identified 5 primary ways people most easily express and receive love: words of affirmation/appreciation (including leaving little notes), spending quality time connecting with each other, relevant gifts (sometimes the small ones are the sweetest for conveying you're thinking of the other), acts of service (doing and errand, the laundry, etc.), and physical touch and affection. This “love languages” lead to one of the best marriage tips: Ask and notice what love languages speak most to your partner, and focus your efforts of demonstrating love on those areas, where they will have the biggest impact.

6. GO DEEPER DAILY

Even in substantially satisfying relationships where we respect and love our partner, we fall prey to thinking of our partner in particular, stagnant ways and forget to bring our curiosity to the table. To counteract this habit, develop a practice of curiously inquiring one level deeper amidst speaking to each other about daily life concerns. Some helpful prompts are: "What does that mean to you?" "How does that affect you?" "Where do you guess that habit or belief came from?" "Does that remind you of something?" "How does that express a core value of yours?" "How do you wish that could be, if you could have it anyway you wanted?" This relationship skill of developing curiosity is especially potent when you are feeling triggered and want to criticize or judge your partner.

7. LESS WORDS, MORE TOUCH

Sometimes the most simple relationship advice is the most effective. By increasing the number and frequency of brief, loving touches, you can share love in a way that can circumvent the busy mind and be received more directly by the body and heart. A silent, one-to-five second shoulder squeeze, cheek kiss, gentle butt pat, etc. is complete and non-questionable act in itself, which can quickly convey love, affection, and even understanding/compassion during stress. Aim for five quick touches per day.

Read more advice for best marriage tips and marriage advice.

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