Marriage isn’t experienced in blocks of time. It’s experienced moment to moment and day to day. That’s why it’s not surprising that some of the most meaningful and memorable things we do in our marriages are the little, everyday things that don’t always get much credit.
Last weekend, a friend sent us a link to a recent article on MSN’s Living site. It was called “5 Things Super-Happy Couples Do Every Day.” We loved the piece and we wanted to share some of the key ideas. A few of them may surprise you.
In the article, couples therapist Tina Tessina, author of “How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free”, says that daily habits and rituals are really important to a happy marriage.
If you’re really interested in making your relationship work, little rituals are a great way to do it.”
Tessina shares insights from her own happy marriage of nearly twenty years. She says that she and her husband Richard, have developed a number of daily relationship builders. For instance, every morning they repeat their marriage vows to each other. They also hold their own regular state-of-the-union meetings.
Here are the five daily habits of really happy couples, as culled from Tessina’s practice and interviews with over 6,000 happy couple.
1. Make time to connect
One couple has what they call “crook time”, a few minutes every evening when she nestles in the crook of his arm and they talk about their day. Another couple walks the dog together every night. Find a few minutes and spend it together talking.You can put the clothes in the dryer later.
2. Remind each other that you’re hot.
Busy couples may not be intimate every day anymore, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t remind each other that they’re still hot. One of the couples said this: After five days of eating chocolate cake, even chocolate cake doesn’t taste that great. But after talking about chocolate cake for five straight days, that’s all you want!
3. Share a guilty pleasure
Doing something together that you don’t exactly brag about to your friends can really build unity. Or as Angie, a marketing executive, says,
Life is serious enough, isn’t it? Sometimes you need to do something stupid. And if you can’t be stupid with your husband, who can you be stupid with?”
4. Enrich yourselves as individuals.
Many of us have already learned that constant togetherness is not great for most marriages. Lori and Joe each take classes in painting and other interests at night, separately. They say it’s done wonders for their marriage.
It all brings a freshness to our marriage because we both continue to grow as people,” Joe says. “Plus,” says Lori, “getting out of the house and out of each other’s hair keeps us from going crazy.”
5. Get spiritual together.
A recent University of Chicago study found that 75% of the couples who said they prayed together daily called themselves “very happy.” This doesn’t have to be anything formal of any specific religion. Even the simple act of saying grace before meals seems to have a great impact.
Check out the article to read some of the specific daily habits and rituals that the couples are doing in each of these areas. You may find some great new ideas to try for yourselves.