A First-Aid Kit for your Marriage
Today I would like to share some tips that my husband, Kendall, and I are working on putting into practice in our marriage. Perhaps you have a good relationship and these tips will make it even better. Or maybe your marriage is dying a slow death and your relationship needs a major overhaul. I highly recommend the book, The Man’s Guide to Women: Scientifically Proven Secrets from the “Love Lab” About What Women Really Want by John Gottman, PhD, Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD, Douglas Abrams, and Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD.
“If you are a man and you bought this book (or borrowed it), congratulations! You are a pioneer. A sterotype-busting man among men. A soon-to-be-Hero who knows how to be the man that all women wish they had…We’ve written this book as an easy-to-read and easy-to-use guide…So here’s the news flash: Men, you have the power to make or break a relationship.”
–The Man’s Guide to Women, page viii
One aha moment for me (Ruth) was realizing that “Men regard intimacy as playing or working side by side.” I used to wonder why Kendall invited me outside to help him with mechanical tasks. For me, intimacy is about talking to someone I can trust. Now I know that my husband was wanting to be closer to me. I usually rejected his invitations because I am NOT a mechanic. Now I realize that just being with him while he is working shows him I care about him.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Tip: wives, accept your husband’s invitations to work with him. #marriage[/tweet_box]
Something Kendall did not realize is that stress makes me fearful. And when I’m fearful I don’t want to try anything new. And when he pushes me to do something new, I become more stressed. And round and round it goes.
“When a happily married woman held her husband’s hand, the fear response was completely shut down in her brain.”
–The Man’s Guide to Women, Page 30
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Tip: husbands, try not to make your wife feel afraid. If she is afraid, hold her hand to help calm her. #marriage[/tweet_box]
Kendall and I used to go on dates and all we could talk about was our kids. If we didn’t talk about the kids, we just sat there and looked at each other. Our dates have become much more fun since we discovered asking open-ended questions that help us learn more about each other. Not sure what to ask? Try 15 Questions You Should Ask Your Partner or The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, PhD. s
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Tip: Ask your partner open-ended questions that will draw you closer as a couple. #marriage[/tweet_box]
“Unlike men, women are much more geared for collaboration, not competition.”
–The Man’s Guide to Woman, Page 56
I (Ruth) am learning to enter friendly competition with my husband. Kendall is learning to sit and listen, not just to the words I say, but also to the meaning behind the words.
The Man’s Guide to Woman has chapters on Understanding a Woman, Dating a Woman, Romancing a Woman, Making Love to a Woman, Living With a Woman, and Loving a Woman for a Lifetime.
If you want to “Affair-proof” your marriage, here are some suggestions from the book:
- The 6-second kiss (every time you leave and come back together)
- Date each other
- Get to know each other
- Appreciate each other
- Honor each other’s dreams
You may also be interested in a new course by Sheila Wray Gregoire:
- Ten 10-minute videos and modules
- Each module has a fact sheet with extra information, a worksheet, and a brainstorming exercise, along with some extra resources if you want to read more.
What tips have you found helpful in building and/or maintaining your relationship?