Here are my tips for a stronger marriage in 2020:
1. Do not criticize.
So many people do to try and get a different result. Like when my husband isn’t being romantic enough. I criticize him telling him his massages are awful. My point is to try and get closer to him (get better massages), but what happens is he gets pushed away. That’s the exact opposite of what I was looking for!
2. Do not get defensive.
The first reaction is criticism is defensiveness. It is so natural to block or counterattack when we feel attacked. This is a really hard skill to master, but do not become defensive. Try some vulnerability first and see how your partner reacts. They might be shocked at first.
3. When emotionally overwhelmed, take a break.
HOWEVER you must tell your partner when you are coming back to discuss. Do not leave your partner feeling abandoned. If you’re going to do this, talk about this tool beforehand when things are not stressful so when you use it, it doesn’t look like a way to avoid the conversation.
4. Don’t assume your partner is psychic.
Tell them exactly what you need. This is self-explanatory. Use concrete needs. If you “need more attention,” what does that look like exactly? No work calls after 8:00PM? Holding hands on the couch? Exactly what are you trying to say?
5. Kiss for 6 seconds.
Do this at least once daily. When you kiss for at least 6 seconds, hormones are released through your body that make you feel you can trust this person you’re married to. Trust is a major foundation in marriage.