We usually get the importance of maintenance when it relates to our home, car, medical or dental health. How about the importance of maintenance for our marriage?
1. Listen and share about non-conflict areas, at least 15 minutes a day.
Show interest in your partner’s interests.
“Tell me about your day.” “How did your presentation go?”
2. When you disagree, actively look for something to agree with in your partner’s point of view.
“There’s some truth in what you are saying. I do have a tendency to……and I can understand that you don’t like that.”
3.Share plans, goals, dreams, values, priorities.
“Let’s talk about our financial priorities for this year and find out where we are and where we are not on the same page.”
4. Pause, slow down and breathe when you feel reactive and/or defensive. Take a time out if necessary but also make a plan to follow up on conversation if needed when both are calmer.
“I notice I’m getting upset. Let’s slow down. I can feel my temper rising and I don’t want to blow up. Let’s take a break and talk again after dinner.”
5. Relax and play together.
“Do you want to play a game/watch a movie/trade a massage after the kids are asleep?”
6. Imagine what it would be like to be in your partner’s shoes.
“If I were my partner, I can imagine feeling tired and over stimulated after a busy work day and really needing some quiet alone time when I first get home.”
7. Cultivate your willingness and ability to make-up after a fight. It's important to know how to repair your connection when it's been damaged. Being able to apologize and to fogive are essential relationship skills.
"Wow. I feel badly about how irritable and critical I was with you. I'm sorry."
8. Actively build a feeling of partnership and teamwork.
“Even though we disagree about how to handle these temper tantrums, I know we both want to help our child learn how to handle his/her anger constructively.”