Many individuals enter into marriage with the expectation of a “happily ever after” without truly committing to the hard work required to achieve it. There is no guidebook to deal with the challenges of marriage, making it easy to feel lost and unsure about how to sustain a marriage.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Maintaining a marriage can be challenging, yet it can also be deceptively simple and apparent. However, it necessitates putting in the effort to establish daily, weekly, and annual rituals that foster a deep connection.
Here are 7 actions couples should perform each year to uphold their marriage for a lifetime.
1. Relationship Assessment.
I once counseled a client who has been married for 10 years. When I inquired about the key to his successful marriage, he attributed it to an annual evaluation, aimed at assessing the state of his relationship and marriage.
Every August, they engage in this ritual on their porch with drinks in hand. They first discuss the status of their relationship.
They deliberate on whether they still share a friendship, whether they are consistent in their way of life, and if any frustrations have arisen. They reflect on what is going well and what areas might need improvement. Lastly, they ponder whether they would choose to stay in the relationship or part ways.
Subsequently, they shift the focus to their marriage, delving into the minutiae of their shared life on a regular basis. While it may seem repetitive, for them, distinguishing between a relationship and a marriage is critical – the latter involves their vows and the contractual aspect that they also like to reassess.
Hence, engage in a relationship assessment with your spouse, even if it’s an annual or monthly event. It is vital to ensure both of you are aware of each other’s sentiments and are aligned in steering your partnership towards success.
2. Unified Holiday Celebrations.
Amidst the chaotic nature of life, dedicating time and resources for a shared vacation annually is crucial for sustaining a lifelong marriage.
When I got married, life was in disarray. My husband’s lengthy work hours, children’s plethora of activities, extended family commitments, and daily chores left us with minimal interaction. This lack of connection prompted us to initiate annual holiday getaways.
For instance, every June, we entrust our kids to my mother in Virginia and embark on a week-long hiking trip to West Virginia.
During our vacation, we rekindle our bond, rediscover the essence of the person we fell in love with, and revel in uninhibited laughter and freedom from daily constraints.
Once a year, we relish the opportunity to be lovers rather than just spouses and parents, effectively revitalizing our marriage to navigate the chaos of everyday life. While taking time off work or managing the financial aspects of a vacation may pose challenges, there are always alternatives to address these hurdles. Remember, your marriage’s sustainability hinges on it.
3. Solo Holiday Celebrations.
As marriages evolve, the familiarity with one’s spouse may lead to taking them for granted.
Engaging in routines such as savoring morning coffee together or enduring their nightly snores can contribute to a sense of stagnation and disconnection. Escaping on a vacation without one’s spouse can offer a fresh perspective, allowing individuals to indulge in personal pursuits and reconnect with their individual identity.
This solitude promotes self-indulgence and self-discovery, providing a necessary breather from the rigors of everyday life. Subsequently, upon reuniting, both partners will appreciate each other’s absence and cultivate increased gratitude, fortifying their relationship.
Spending holidays apart from your spouse serves as a reminder of the initial reasons for your union and grants valuable time to recharge amidst the bustle of daily responsibilities. Return rejuvenated and grateful, nurturing a stronger bond within your relationship.
4. Commemorate Special Occasions.
Over the course of a marriage, frequent observance of special events often takes a backseat amidst life’s demands. However, prioritizing these milestones, irrespective of their scale, is essential.
A disheartened client of mine neglected to celebrate his wife’s birthday, their anniversary, and Mother’s Day, attributing it to the familiarity accrued over the years, rendering grand gestures seemingly unnecessary.
By disregarding these occasions, he inadvertently isolated his wife, overlooking the significance of these cherished moments. Hence, setting aside time to honor such events, whether big or small, is crucial. Acknowledging one’s first date, the declaration of love, the acquisition of their first home, or the proposal at least once a year can foster a sense of shared appreciation.
5. Financial Dialogue.
Financial discussions often evoke unease, especially within a marriage. However, engaging in an annual dialogue regarding finances is paramount for a harmonious and fulfilling union.
Unchecked financial matters often lead to unwarranted anxiety, hindering the relationship’s stability. Achieving transparency and candid discourse around financial topics is pivotal to fostering a thriving partnership.
Initiating these conversations with your spouse on an annual basis can alleviate the apprehension typically associated with such discussions, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding and mutual planning concerning your financial well-being.
6. Establish Aspirations.
Similar to charting a course for professional success, setting and pursuing goals within a marriage is equally essential. Setting annual objectives and outlining strategies to accomplish them is crucial for fostering growth and cohesion.
Post-assessment, devise a roadmap for the upcoming year, outlining the desired trajectory of your relationship and the envisioned state at its culmination.
Envisage the impact of achieving these objectives on your relationship and emotional well-being, serving as a guiding force for the year ahead and possibly beyond.
7. Embrace Your Narrative.
Ruminating on the enchanting tale of your courtship and love journey can reignite the spark within your relationship. Reminiscing about the magical beginnings can rekindle fond memories and fortify the bond forged over the years.
Hence, annually revisiting and sharing your unique rendition of this narrative with your partner bestows a sense of closeness, reminding you both of the profound love that binds you together.
While these endeavours may initially pose challenges, with perseverance, they will become second nature. May your efforts pave the way for enduring happiness and fulfillment in your journey together. All it necessitates is a measure of commitment and mindfulness to materialize.
Mitzi Bockman is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them achieve who they want to be. Mitzi’s bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.