Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things. We think that important problems must have complex or difficult solutions. This is especially true of our relationship. Many of us do nothing about a stagnant or lackluster marriage because we assume that the steps to repairing those problems are going to be very big steps. We’re so convinced that we need complex answers to our complex problems that we miss the simple steps that are right under our noses. Sometimes, the answers to bringing happiness back to your marriage are very simple indeed.
Dr. Gail Gross has a terrific article on HuffingtonPost.com this week about this very thing. in “Simple Tips for a Happy Relationship,” she shares several deceptively simple ways to bring the joy back to your relationship. At the foundation of her advice is the idea that simple steps can be the best first steps to making your marriage happier and healthier.
We’d like to share three of our favorite tips from Dr. Gross.
1. The Empathetic Process
We really like the way Dr. Gross explains what she calls the Empathetic Process:
When a relationship is in trouble, it is important to communicate in an empathic way. Empathy helps to put things in perspective. This means to dialogue without defense, to listen to each other in an intimate way, by holding hands or touching, in a neutral environment, without accusation or blame.”
Think about the ways you show empathy to your friends and relatives when they’re going through a tough time. Do you still do those things for your spouse? Focus on being more empathetic, whether your mate has just had a bad day or has been laid off from work.
2. Remember to laugh.
Very often, when we’re asked what made us fall in love with our mates, we say that we laughed a lot in the beginning. Are you still sharing laughter? Laughter releases endorphins that make us feel content and happy with the people we are with. If the laughter has been missing from your marriage, go out and find it together.
Humor is a cure for almost everything. Even in our darkest moments of despair, we can smile and laugh at some quirky or funny event, or some memory. Be playful, watch comedies, go to comedy clubs, etc. Fill your relationship with laughter.”
3. Try something new together.
Remember when you first got together and you each tried things that the other liked but that you had never done before? Some were winners and some were losers, but you had fun and it brought you closer. How long has it been since you tried something new as a couple?
Be creative and find new and interesting things to do together. Though it takes a little energy, the rewards are worth it. Preferably choose something that neither of you have ever tried. This adds to the relationship, the fun of exploring new things together.”
These three steps may seem overly simplistic, but they’re accessible to any couple, regardless of finances, time or age. More importantly, they work. This month, try at least one of these simple tips to bring happiness back to your marriage. Sometimes the simplest solution is also the most effective!