Create the relationship of your dreams.


So, what can you do to make your marriage the relationship of your dreams? The key is becoming a better partner. Improve your relationship by practicing these steps.

1. Practice gratitude.

The key to having more passionate and fun feelings about your spouse is to write down the things your spouse does for you, both short-term and long-term, that make you feel grateful. Happiness stems in large part from gratitude. What’s on your list?

2. Let go of your resentment.

If you have a chip on your shoulder because your partner isn't helping in the kitchen often enough or planning social outings, those negative thoughts could be affecting the love and good feelings you've created over time. Take a hard look at the expectations you believe your spouse isn't meeting. To get the excitement back, first you have to get over your resentments and strive for acceptance of your spouse. Doing so will change the whole dynamic of your relationship, making it a lot easier to communicate, connect and feel more in love.

3. Get physical.

Reincorporating everyday physical gestures here and there can help stir up those loving feelings again. Start small with a gentle brush of the arm, a pat on the back, holding hands, just putting your hand on top of his. Every gesture counts. The skin is your body's largest organ, and physical touch is very important to humans. Touch really can bring you closer together.

4. Avoid the negativity bias.

The longer you're married, the more likely you are to pay attention to the negative aspects of your spouse, rather than the traits you found adorable at first. It's part of human nature.

To counteract this tendency toward criticism, you have to change your mindset and look for what is good. It's not always easy and requires work.

5. Learn how to de-escalate.

When those inevitable arguments happen, try this approach. One person gets to call “Stop!” It’s called “de-escalation.” Put the heated discussion on pause and send yourself back to safe, quiet spaces in the house to calm down. The pause usually lasts 20-30 minutes, maximum, and it is miraculous how you can solve things in two minutes after re-engaging following a de-escalation.

6. Always be kind.

This is hard to do—especially when your partner pushes your buttons. Make a list of the things that irritate you most about each other and have a plan to respond with kindness instead of venom. This will improve things fast and make your partner feel loved and important.

7. Do new things together!

Experts suggest you can increase happiness by increasing novelty—meaning doing new things and sharing new experiences together! Suggest taking a salsa or ballroom dance class, go on a biking trip together—even trying a new restaurant can help to break up the monotony and build excitement again. Tell your partner that novelty works (even in your sex life)!