Couples today may experience less satisfaction in their marriage as compared to their parents, research shows. One report indicated a 42 percent dip in satisfaction! One factor may be related to having kids later in life, and feeling more social pressure to provide the best of everything.
However, some research shows that marital satisfaction declines for all couples, including childless couples. The takeaway: Marriage is work for everyone.
Kelly Olson, with The Village Family Service Center in Moorhead, created this list of 14 things that can help couples communicate better, cherish each other more, and build a stronger foundation for their relationship.
- Be Open. Share your thoughts/concerns.
- Listen intently and openly.
- Designate special couple time daily (morning, lunch, night) to catch up.
- Find shared interests or hobbies (read a book, movies, dancing, photography, exercising).
- Have a discussion about division in household duties.
- Take turns taking care of one another, such as during illness or increased work demands for partner.
- Be realistic about changes in marriage. Don’t expect marriage to be the same as before kids.
- Your partner will make a mistake; try to forgive this. How will not forgiving help you or your intimacy of you relationship?
- Find special ways to think of your spouse. Bring home their favorite beverage or treat.
- Allow for individual time to recoup then come back together.
- Be careful with criticism and instead focus on positives.
- Approach issues as a team. (“What are your thoughts about how WE are going to tackle this problem?”)
- Be aware of negative ways you might default to when handling conflict (sarcasm, verbal abuse, withdrawing, bringing up issues from the past, etc.).
- Seek counseling not when things are horrible, but when things are rocky and you have tried the above.
The Village’s counselors can help couples who want to increase the satisfaction in their relationships. Call (701) 451-4900 to make an appointment.