Last time, we shared the first five surprisingly simple ways to save your marriage from Harriet lerner, PhD, the author of “Marriage Rules”. These tips and steps are simple, very do-able and things you can do on your own to improve your marriage.
Here are the last five simple ways to save your marriage from Dr. Lerner:
6. Put some limits on your listening.
Listening to your spouse is crucial, but sometimes he wants to talk when you’re not able to listen. That won’t help anyone and could start a fight.
If your husband wants to talk about how much the two of you spent during the holidays right as you’re making dinner, supervising the kids’ homework and watching the news, you’re not going to be able to focus, and you might even say, ‘I can’t listen to this. I’m cooking!’ That doesn’t work. You need one more quick (calm) sentence in which you articulate that you will listen later, just not right now.”
Be sure you give him the same option, too.
7. Love—and praise—specifically.
Lerner points out that we need to be as detailed with our praise and the reasons we love our spouses as we are with our negative comments.
The longer people are together, the less they mention these kinds of details. Think about how specific your criticisms are: ‘Why do you put so much water in the pasta pot?’ or ‘Why have you come home with five bananas when I told you three are going to be rotten?’ Be exactly that specific with your praise too.”
8. Stop correcting your partner’s unrelated factual errors.
Whether there were 50 or 70 guests at the wedding has no bearing on whether you had way too much to drink at the reception.”
Keep it relevant and don’t try to distract your spouse from the issues.
9. Invent an imaginary British house guest.
We love this one, because it lightens things up a bit.
If you had a very proper, prestigious British guest at your home, sleeping in the bedroom adjacent to yours, you’d act differently during arguments. You’d behave more kindly and politely to your spouse when, say, he sold your mother’s hideous-but-beloved vase during a garage sale—if only because you didn’t want to feel deeply ashamed. So the next time you consider screaming, imagine poor Rupert lying in the guest room, overhearing your every word.”
10. Ignore the experts.
Even though Dr. Lerner is paid a lot of money for her marriage counseling, she says that all of us know at least three things we can do to make our spouses happier and we don’t need a professional to tell us that doing them is a good idea.
Each of us knows three things we can do to make our partner happier: clean the old fast food wrappers out of the car, seduce him before the kids wake up, and iron his T-shirts or whatever happens to easily and absolutely delight him. Name them—and do them, right now.”
All of these ten steps to help you save your marriage are things that you can do, right now, with or without your spouse. Pick one at a time or try a few this week. Do something positive on your own and you’ll not only get results from your spouse, you’ll also feel empowered and in control of your own happiness.