In celebrating our wedding anniversary on August 25th, I’ve reflected upon some commonsense strategies that have worked for us over 20+ years. Here are 6 meaningful ways to strengthen your bond because healthy marriages= healthy hearts!
Always Show Gratitude: My wife Lisa, has always expressed appreciation for even the most mundane tasks and I’ve learned over the years that being grateful never grows old even as we do. On the other hand, not being appreciative on a regular basis (or supportive, for that matter) will erode a relationship.
Be United: Just like there is no I in TEAM, working together a united front strengthens bonds. For example, don’t fall for your kids manipulative games such as “well Mom (or Dad) said it was okay”. When one of us is not readily available, our mantra has consistently been “…your mother (father) and I will discuss it and get back to you”.
Compromise is Key: Because life in a 24/7 environment can be super busy, we sometimes forget things/tasks/priorities. Not to worry…when this happens, we make it a point to compromise… “I don’t have time to take George (our dog) out today or tomorrow, can you please take care of him and I will make it up next week?…”
Divvy up Duties: Even though this may seem intuitive, it’s not uncommon for relationship imbalances to occur as it relates to household chores, spending and other shared responsibilities that can lead to bad will and resentment. Just like financial portfolios tend to be readjusted on a regular basis, rebalancing shared responsibilities (if needed), will solidify the relationship.
Embarrassment is never an option: Embarrassing your partner in public (intentional or otherwise) is disrespectful and destructive to relationships. Air out grievances behind closed doors and in a civilized tone that cannot be heard by others.
Find time to celebrate your relationship: You may need to add it to your (mental) calendar but carving out time specifically designated for the 2 of you only (such as a weekly date night) is precious time that is well spent.
Michael Miller, MD is author of the bestselling book “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“ & Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland USA.