1. Match expectations with reality and you will not be disappointed.
    You are a being with faults, weaknesses and strengths. So is your spouse. Do not over or underestimate each other. You need to love and appreciate the true, inner qualities.
  2. Nourish your relationship every moment of every day with love
    Water relationships with daily doses of kindness, courtesy, consideration, respect, appreciation, gratitude and forgiveness. They will weather every storm.
  3. Keep a daily track of your negative and positive interactions
    Record your preventable and satisfying relationship deeds daily. Make sure that the latter far exceed the former. If you fall behind, make up for the lost opportunities.
  4. Body language communicates your inner feelings
    In tennis, partners in doubles matches improve their solidarity by touching hands after a point won or lost. Actions speak louder than words. Exhibit togetherness and affection always.
  5. Take time off for your loved ones
    The time you will invest in your loved ones will yield fine returns by way of renewed love, togetherness and unity.
  6. Resolve issues before going to bed
    Carrying forward differences to the next day means multiplying them. Solve the equations the same night and wake up refreshed the next morning, for it is a new day.
  7. Do not bring negativity home
    Tensions from outside the home should be left outside. Dust your feet on the door step and shake off the accumulated cobwebs of differences before stepping inside. A home should remain a haven of peace.
  8. Open up new channels of communication
    Blocked paths collect dirt and prevent a free flow. Clear channels allow expression of thoughts and feelings and avoid blockages, which lead to explosive situations.
  9. Avoid run outs. Remain in harmony
    Partners need to have faith and trust in order to know each other better. Just like in a cricket match, partners who are batting together need to play in harmony. If there is a disruption, they may get ‘run out’ and remain stranded in the middle of nowhere.
  10. True love overrides every aggravation
    Psychologists call this PSO [Positive Sentiment Overdrive]. If we genuinely love someone, we can ignore their blemishes and respect their positive sides.
  11. Pray together
    Regardless of the religion you practice and believe in, there is no more efficacious way of staying together in loving harmony, than by praying together as a couple and as a family. Through prayer we connect our spirits and minds to the almighty force which has created’ us and which rules the universe and all creation. Our studies found that those who pray regularly, preferably together, are able to achieve greater heights of peace, harmony and bliss, than those who do not. Even if you are an atheist and do not believe in the existence of God, reaching in your mind outside yourself, and connecting to the wider spiritual nature around you, will bring serenity and comfort. An experienced counsellor told us, that in her opinion, married couples need to realise that in a marriage they are actually three entities: the man, the woman, and God. Keeping this in mind helps steady the marital boat when it rocks.
  12. Dine Together
    We are ruled by the demands of our stomachs. In fact there is a saying that the way to a person’s heart, is through the stomach.
    After our extensive research, we realised that those families who enjoy their meals together, at home or even outside, have a greater degree of affection and cohesion than those who are not particular about dining together. Many couples make it a point to eat out at least once a week and together at home as far as possible.

10 min/day for a revitalised marriage

Both partners should separately record their scores of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ interactions daily for 30 days, comparing notes at least twice a week. We tested this strategy on 1008 couples who were undergoing stress in their marriages and all reported significant positive shifts in attitudes.

Questions

  • When my spouse conveyed his/ her feelings to me, did I instinctively turn on the defensive/ offensive?
  • When I experienced problems at work / home, did I blame my partner, in thought, word or deed?
  • Did I lose my composure, shout, or express annoyance to my spouse?
  • Did we, as a couple, generate resentment in relations with relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues?
  • Did we greet, wish, and say ‘please’, ‘thanks’, ‘I love you’, praise, and appreciate each other today?
  • Did we pray together?
  • Did we laugh, play, and relax together?
  • Did we offer recognition to each other through flowers, gifts, care, help for services rendered?
  • Did we together remember to celebrate significant occasions of relatives, friends, and neighbours?
  • Did we express our expectations from each other for the future?
  • Did we discuss our desires and how to fulfill them?
  • Did we discuss ways and means of solving problems facing us or the children?
  • Did we express regret or apologise for mistakes we made?
  • Did we discuss ways how to achieve long-term goals?
  • Did we discuss self-improvement issues and practices to learn/train further?
  • Did we jointly try to forgive those who, we think, have wronged us?
  • Did we discuss income generation, financial investment /savings?
  • Did we discuss ways to help/respect elders and persons in need?
  • Did we determine to transform the negatives into positives on the next day?

This was first published in the March 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Bharaat Vyas
Bharaat Vyas has three decades of experience as a writer, editor, publisher and motivational speaker. He is the convenor of the Association for Happier Marriages and editor of e-magazine 'Marriages 4 ever'. He is also the co-author of Decoding Happy Marriages.
Pankaj Verma
Pankaj Verma is the co-author of Decoding Happy Marriages. He has held senior positions in the field of marketing and sales. Pankaj Verma excels in giving shape to creative ideas and he is also the co-author of the book Great Marriages.