What Are The Secrets To A Satisfying Marriage

It is far from easy to constantly have a satisfying marriage.  If you are looking for a secret recipe that will take you to the end of your days with your lover….well….it is not going to be the easiest thing to achieve.  Expect some marital bumps along the way.  If you want to achieve some satisfaction in multiple areas of your marriage, you will need to rely less on secrets and more on synergistic principles.

marriage satisfaction levels

But guess what!

Being married to the person you think is the fellow or gal of your dreams can be an amazing experience if you learn to tap into a few select principles.

So what do I mean by principles?

Think of it as your code of marriage life, day in and day out.  There are things you and your husband or wife can do to create some special moments and connections.  What I want you to think about is finding a new way celebrate your marriage.  Yes, I know that sounds cookie cutter, but hang on and see where I take you on this little journey before you judge!

Marriages are colored by our everyday experiences.  Sometimes, a good marriage isn’t about something as basic as repeating vows…though I do like that idea if it is done with some style.  Sometimes to make a good marriage that is satisfying on multiple levels is found in the principles of what I like to call “uncommon sense”. Sometimes things that we know we should do inside our marriages do do not come to mind until someone points them out.  It is uncommon for most couples to see the full picture, particularly if they are in it.  I hope I can enlighten you with some sensible things you and your lover should be doing to better your marriage!

Today’s recipe is made of five key components.  But guess what!  A satisfying marriage is not predicated on just one recipe.  There are actually multiple recipes you can employ and integrate into your marriage to make it more fulfilling . And I am going to take all of the mystery and secrecy out of it by just walking you through one of my favorite marriage recipes that should usher in some blissful and satisfying moments in your relationship.

If you are not satisfied with your marriage and are looking for ways to kick start your marital routines, then climb on board because I am about to take you for a ride! The train is about to leave the station and if you are not leveraging these five tactics to arouse attraction, then you and your spouse are missing out on a lot of fun times.

So let’s get on with it.

Random Marriage Acts of Kindness

Most of us are naturally dialed in to maximize our happiness.  In a marriage, one way to create happiness is to offer up yourself to your spouse in a way that promotes reciprocation.  I am not talking about unselfishly giving of yourself to your husband or wife in a sexual way, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with that as you will see later in this article.

What I am driving at is the Kindness factor.  When you treat your husband or wife with kindness, even if is just small acts, it can lay down a foundation where they reciprocate and treat you in a similar fashion.  That begats even more kindness being exchanged between you and your spouse.  And that is all good.

What I am talking about is akin to “doing  on to others as you would have them do to you”.  Or another way of saying it is is to treat others in the way you would like to be treated.   And it all begins with embracing kindness as a regular way of interacting with each other.   These acts of kindness can be extended in the way you talk to each other….the tone you use….the pleasant and supportive words you employ…the gestures you make.

Surprising Your Lover Enhances Satisfaction

Another way you can bring about greater satisfaction levels in your marriage is to take opportunities to surprise your lover.  The surprise need not be a large thing such as a party or expensive gift.  Indeed, I think you and your spouse get more mileage at employing more little surprises which occur with greater frequency.

This tactic shares a common denominator with the idea I advanced earlier regarding living  your daily lives in your marriage with an eye to kindness.  A kind act can also be a surprise.  Take for example something as simple as the gesture of telling your wife (let’s say she normally does the dishes at night) that you would like to do the dishes so she can have some relaxing time.  A pleasant and satisfying surprise can take the form of back massage or the placement of a single rose on a pillow.

When you can couple kindness with a surprising act, you are embracing one of the most powerful acts of a successful and satisfying marriage.  I refer to it as leveraging synergy.  If you do this frequently enough, it becomes part of the routine of the marriage.  And this is the kind of routine you want your relationship to lean on during good and bad times.

You will find that little surprises you offer up to your lover will more often than not be reciprocated…meaning that your husband or wife will naturally (and possibly unconsciously) employ a psychological technique called “mirroring”.  When you offer up a surprise to makes your spouse feel valued, loved, and/or appreciated, they in turn will return the favor.  When this becomes part of the fabric of your marriage, you both will enjoy many days of contentment and satisfaction.

Reinventing the Marriage

So what else can you do to keep the marriage on the right track?  Well, I am really big on couples learning to recognize and accept that relationships can grow stale. Satisfaction and enthusiasm can wane.  This is not a necessarily bad thing because it is very basic to marriages as time goes by.

Should you just swallow hard and learn to accept that your marriage will at times go through periods of dullness, drabness and boredom?

Absolutely not.  Sure, it is important to recognize that a married couple can get set in their ways and soon the routines of their life begin to define their marital life. But you do not have to accept it.  On the other hand, once you recognize signs that the marriage is not as satisfying as it once was, you both need to take action.

I am not talking about bolting to the nearest marriage counselor, but rather what I would advise is that you introduce some new routines.  Change up the way things are working.  Do something together that is new and invigorating.  It could be a sport you both take up or a class you agree to both participate in.

But sometimes, when you recognize that the marriage seems stuck in neutral, you need to put the relationship back in another gear and head off in a different direction.   Change can be frightening for some.  Having certain routines in place in your life helps with managing anxiety and uncertainty.  But doing the same thing, the same way, over and over again will not lead to growth.  Indeed, such marital behavior patterns will lead to deterioration of your marriage satisfaction levels.

Learn to Talk Nice to Each Other During a Fight

There  should be rules of engagement when couples deal with conflict.  The surest way to tear down marital satisfaction levels is to allow your conflicts to become messy, ugly, and destructive.  The tone of your voice and the content of the words you use when you are “fighting” can make a huge difference in how you come out the other side.

You see, fighting in a marriage will always happen.  It is just our nature.  We sometimes cannot control our combative nature and invariably the worst of our emotions will sometimes rear its ugly head.  So knowing this advance, just make a vow with your lover to talk nice to each other during a fight.  For those of you who think that you are just not built that way and cannot control yourself when conflict arises, I would respectfully say you are copping out.

I agree none of us are completely immune to the dark side of our nature taking over, but such times should be rare.  The fact is that you and your spouse will have numerous discussions that can easily lead to fighting and conflict. Arguments can mushroom over any number of things.  What I am saying is you and your spouse need to sit down and discuss this reality and vow to each other that you will not give in to the “dark” side (the baser side of your emotions) and will commit to talk nice to each other.

That doesn’t mean you will always agree.  Nor does it mean that your fight will not leave its mark.  But what you are shooting for is that your fight will not result in huge withdrawals being made from your marital trust fund.  And mean and ugly words flying back and forth often hurt more than the conflict that initiated the fight itself.   So if you want more satisfying times, talk nice to each, even when you are fighting.  We are talking damage control!

Lots of Sex in Varying Ways and Different Places

The final ingredient of today’s recipe is that one of the most basic ways in which you can get your level of marriage happiness to higher levels and sustain these levels is to leverage the natural occurring hormones and chemicals that are released when the two of your get it on.

Yep…we are talking sex.  But what I want you to think about is the value of not just having sex in the same way or the same place.  Just like a marriage can grow stale, so to can your sex life.  So every once in awhile, take an opportunity to reinvent yourself as a couple when it comes to having sex in different ways and most importantly, different places.

Sex is a very sensual experience and every thing you do when you have sex is heightened.  Cherished memories and bonds are formed.  If everything is the same, the heightened experience becomes less pronounced.  So a simple recipe to improving your spouse’s (and your own) satisfaction levels within the marriage is to “get out of the box” and try new things.

Try talking about it.  Just discussing such a thing is going to enhance the anticipation and excitement.  Find different environments to make love.  I am amazed at how often couples rarely discuss such things.  It could be part cultural or possibly due to shyness that makes it difficult for couples to verbally tackle this topic.  My advice is learn to talk about it, a lot.  If you can make love, you certainly can talk about it before hand to help make it all the better.

In closing, feel free to ask any questions you may have about your relationship or share your thoughts about this post and any others I have written.  I will get back to you at my earliest opportunity.

How the No Contact Rule Can Work in a Failing Marriage

So what we have on the table today is the question of whether the No Contact Rule can help you in a marriage that is failing or seriously struggling.  Perhaps it just seems like yesterday the two of your were cutting  your wedding cake and everything seemed  so blissful.  But things can happen and the marriage can turn sour.

What are you to do?

If any of you have ever visited my other relationship websites that deal with the recovery of your Ex, then you are probably up to speed on the No Contact Rule and how it works and why it can be effective.

principles

But I am going to assume that you have not. And even if you have, guess what! When it comes to the No Contact Rule or Principle (which I prefer to call it), there are a few different wrinkles we need to discuss and iron out as it applies to married couples.

You may have come here because you think you may have a failing marriage. There are essentially three directions a marriage can be heading.  It is either growing and evolving with a general move in a positive direction.  This is the kind of marriage you want.

This raises an interesting point.  When someone comes to me and tells me that their marriage is great and is getting better and better with each and every day.  I am usually pretty happy for the individual.

a happy marriage

I like to hear those kind of words. Such marital descriptions are certainly better to hear about than when someone tells me their marriage is in ruins or it is struggling or imploding.

But a word of caution.

In my view, the natural course of a marriage is not straight up like a rocket ship.

If the couple finds themselves exhilarated with everything about their marriage and are constantly dancing in the aisles, then I usually give them kudos for their attitude.

They must be doing a lot of things right. But I also encourage them not to get too far ahead of themselves.  Every relationship will encounter some bumps along the way.  Looking for ways to continuously reinvent and improve the marriage is always a good track to take.

In a little while, we are going to talk about how you can employ the No Contact Rule to get through a major marriage speed bump, such as a marriage on the verge of failure.

Ok, let’s get back on our track!

Remember what I said earlier?  There are generally three directions a marriage is usually heading.

The first one is one that is moving forward.  That’s the kind you like.  While it is not perfect (no marriage is perfect), it is progressively evolving in a mature and positive way.

Think of a climber who is going up a mountain.  To progress upward you have to climb a series of switchbacks.  It is hard work, but rewarding as you make your way up the mountain.

Sometimes as you climb, a switchback might take you down for a spell.  It is normal to have some setbacks…to lose some marriage ground…but a solid marriage will correct for these temporary setbacks as the general direction is upward.

This is a healthy marriage in my view.

A second type of marriage is one that is failing.  Possibly it is failing miserably. This marriage is headed for trouble if an intervention is not made. The struggle to just keep it together and to keep the marital commitment intact, can be overwhelming.

a marriage not going well

This is where an intervention is really necessary and for such marriages that are balanced on the tip of disaster, implementing the No Contact Rule can potentially help you and your husband or wife re calibrate.

A third type of marriage outcome is a relationship that is stuck in neutral.

It is neither growing and evolving to higher heights, nor is it descending into the depths of despair and pain.  Now, all marriages will go through a period where things seem neither bad or good.  It is easy to get lost in life and forget to put effort in expanding and renewing the marriage.

Just as with most things in life, if you leave it be (unattended), it will grow stale.

So what can one to do if you feel your marriage is in shambles (or headed that direction), but you are not ready to give up?

There is an abbreviated from of the No Contact Rule that may very well help shake things up and enable you and your spouse to get back on the right track of improving your marriage.

Let’s explore what that might look like.

The No Contact Rule for Failing Marriages

the no contact rule can help you

It would be best to start off with an explanation of what the No Contact Rule is all about.

Now, one word of warning.  Before you rush to judgement to agree or disagree with what I am about to say, be sure to read my comments in full.

Ok, so let’s get back to explaining how the No Contact Rule could  possibly work in certain marriage situations.

Think of it this way.  There may come a time where it might be beneficial to simply shut down all communications with your spouse.  That means not talking, not texting, no phone calls, essentially no communications.  Obviously, this is not easy to accomplish if you are still married and living under the same roof.  It is even more difficult to accomplish if you have children together.

So for a married couple, my advice as to whether you should implement and how you would go about implementing the No Contact Rule is predicated on many factors.

First and foremost is the degree in which you perceive the marriage is failing.  The worst the marriage, the more inclined I am to recommend the Principle.  Though I think elements of the No Contact Rule will likely have to be adapted.

Let’s peel back a few more layers because, quite frankly, this is a complex conversation when evaluating if there is benefit in adopting a No Contact Rule while you are married.

I generally don’t recommend you adopt the No Contact Rule within a marriage because after all, you are married.

You are not technically going through a break up or separation. Though, you may be suffering many of the same issues that singles experience when they break up with each other.

I have seen a lot of marriages that are failing in which the couple essentially live under the same roof, remain married, but for all practical purposes, the marriage is a bit of a mirage.

Such dysfunctional marriages are more frequent than you may realize.

unhappy together in marriage

Couples can walk through the motions of being married and carry on around others socially as if they are married, but when they return to the normal routines, they essentially interact with each other like brother and sister.

And the strange thing about it, one or both of them may not fully realize that is what the marriage has become.  Sometimes the two individuals can just get swept along, lost in the gravity of their routines.

Sometimes one of the parties to this arrangement is mindful that they are in a loveless marriage.  She (or he) suffers every day with the realization that the marriage did not even come close to living up to their expectation.

Marriages can be complicated entities.

In marriage where there is clear dysfunction and a breakdown of loving behaviors, we usually have a perfect recipe for failure.  So if you find yourself in such a relationship and it feels like the two of you are caught up in acting out dysfunctional marital roles, then you really need an intervention.  If you wish to extract yourself from a failing relationship such as I described, seek counseling if you have not already.

It is my view, that unless emotional or physical abuse is involved, you should try everything you can think of to save the marriage, before you consider separating or divorcing.

Another intervention could take the form of the No Contact Rule.

Let me explain how the No Contact Rule typically works in a non marriage environment.  Let’s take your average boyfriend and girlfriend.

Typically, when a couple breaks up, yet one of them would like to explore the prospect of re-uniting, I recommend the individual go through a No Contact Period ranging from 21 to 30 days (45 days at the longest).  This time allows the individual to get over the pain and hurt of a breakup and also work on becoming the best version of themselves.

Psychology plays a role when implementing the No Contact Rule.

When the other person seeks to reach out and start communicating, they will be met with silence.

Psychological reactance then enters the picture.  This happens to the person who is accustomed to communicating with their ex. Now they find that their ex will not respond.  Their emotional reaction will be influenced by an unconscious desire to connect.  It was a freedom they possessed before, but now it has been removed since their Ex has temporarily shut them out.

People often want that which they are told they can’t have.  As a result the “value” of the non-communicative Ex rises.

In a marriage that is failing miserably, something meaningful needs to happen. So in a situation where the two of you live under the same roof and the problems of the marriage just keep rocking along without solutions or worst, any effort to improve, an intervention might be the best medicine.

So how would it work inside a marriage?

How does a person implement the No Contact principle when you can’t help but see each other every day?

Well, there are a couple of modifications you can make to the No Contact Rule in this particular circumstance that I have laid out.

So what will progress look like?

For this situation, progress is being able to sit down with your husband or wife and seriously talk about the direction of your marriage.

So what we are looking for here is an intervention that will trigger a response that leads to a serious discussion.  But for the discussion to even take shape in a serious way, you have to do some priming.

And that is what the No Contact Principle can possibly do for you.  It can help change your spouse’s mindset in such a way that when the two of you finally sit down to discuss the quality and future of the marriage, the necessary commitment to a solution is in place.

No Contact Rule Disclaimer!

take time for yourself

Now, I don’t recommend you try doing this unless you have exhausted multiple attempts to talk to your spouse about the direction of the marriage.

I also want you to seek out counseling before you do anything like this.  While I would not characterize this as the “nuclear option”, it is pretty darn close.

So make sure you have done everything you can think of to get your spouse to a “place” where you both can have real, actionable, and constructive conversations about improving the marriage.

Any time you shut down all communications (even temporarily) you are doing something risky.  It is a meaningful event to simply choose not to communicate or see your husband for a limited period.

Could it backfire?

It sure could.

But if the marriage is already failing and you are miserable, you probably don’t have much more to lose.  But the idea here is to gain something.

There is a need for to a paradigm shift.  There needs to be an awakening.  To accomplish that, you sometimes need an intervention.

So here is one approach.

Consider leaving temporarily and go into full No Contact for around a week.

Why did I use the word “around”.

Everybody’s situation is different.  So maybe it is just for a few days.  Maybe it’s longer.   Before you do this,  I think it would be a good idea to leave a note and briefly explain what you are doing and why.

Tell your husband or wife you are unhappy and need “some days” to reflect on the state of the marriage.  Just keep the messaging simple. Don’t make it too wordy.

Ask your spouse to respect your privacy and not to contact you because it is your intention not to check or respond to such messages.  Advise your spouse that after 48 hours, you will check in by text to alleviate any concern your spouse may have about your welfare.

Since you probably have never done anything like this before, it is likely this self imposed intervention will shake things up.

The reactions from spouses can range from anger and resentment to shock, disbelief, and uncertainty.  They may take it very well and offer support.  Possibly, you might hear nothing from you spouse. The reaction from your spouse could be some of those things or all of these things.

Usually emotions run hard and fast in the beginning, but over time, calmer, more rational reactions come to the forefront.

Your aim through all of this is to create an environment such that future marital discussions will have a solid and constructive platform.

Eventually, once your week (more or less) of No Contact is concluded, you can reach out to your spouse and suggest the two of you meet someplace you feel comfortable.

I don’t think it should be at your home.  Not yet.   Ideally, it should be some place quiet where you both can talk.  Possibly a public location such as a park or a small, non crowded restaurant or cafe.

The point of this meeting is for you to explore your spouse’s readiness to have a serious and constructive discussion about your relationship sometime in the future.

Don’t get into all the nitty gritty relationship topics at this initial meeting.  You are simply trying to feel him/her out.  If your husband or wife is not ready to get serious about improving the marriage or even meet with you to explore the prospect of future discussions, then you may need to resume your No Contact Period for an indefinite period of time.

There is no certainty this approach will work.  But if you arrive here with your marriage in a mess, then it is probably time to try something new to show your spouse that you are truly invested in doing something to shape the marriage in a positive way.

And by the way, don’t confuse this approach with a separation which is an even more serious intervention and a much more extended time apart.

If you seek a name for it, you can call it: “Marriage Time Out“.

 

 

What Can I Do to Make My Husband Happy With Our Marriage

Sometimes don’t you wish you had a secret recipe on what it takes to have a good marriage…a happy marriage.  Don’t you sometimes wish that your husband would show a little more in the way of contentment and satisfaction with your marriage.

evolution

It was never suppose to be easy, right?  Before you took the plunge to get married, you probably read all the articles and talked to lots of people, and observed from afar how couples got along.  While it didn’t sound easy, nor did it seem terribly difficult?  You were probably thinking to find a guy that is the right on for you would be a worthy journey.   Once you landed such a man you likely thought it would be a matter of time for the connection to grows stronger.  Then marriage would be the natural next step.  Easy as pie!  Except, it really isn’t.  What really happens when a couple gets together and decides to build a life together is far from the fairy tales we can easily conjure up in our minds.

So what is with some guys?  What causes them to appear like really good prospects before the knot is tied, but once they are in the marriage for awhile, they start acting like they are not terribly happy.  That might even act restless, bored and not very engaged.   You might have landed a guy, who in the beginning was wining and dining you, but perhaps now even catching a few moments of quality and fulfilling time together seems like an effort.  And it shouldn’t be.

What is going on in the mind of your husband when he acts like is is just not very enthused about you and his circumstance?

Well, it could be a number of things.  One thing I see when I counsel couples is what I would describe as the guy who personifies the “Divide and Conquer” attitude.  In the beginning of the “chase”, back before you were married, (yes, he was chasing you, wanting to possess you….that was partly what was going on in his psyche) it was clear he wanted you.  You may have made that chase even more exciting for him when you played “hard to get” or leveraged some “jealousy tactics”.  Then of course we have all those love hormones that causes both of you to desire each other like there is no tomorrow.

But once a couple gets settled into a marriage, their love and attraction for each other begins to morph into a more mature phase of attachment.  This is where some guys tend to withdraw a bit.  It is not that they don’t want to be attached.  They probably are not even thinking much about such things.  But what is missing in their quest for joy and fulfillment is the challenge of the chase.  Some guys just need to be stimulated.  If they have everything, they won’t desire it as much. Now on the other hand, if you take something away or make you husband work for something they are accustom to having, then they will feel engaged in the challenge.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Men are not complete Neanderthals whose only desire is to dominate their environment, hunt, track and conquer.  But they are little like that.  It is literally embedded in our genes.  There is also a primitive nature about a guy.  They are driven to have sex.  Sure, women do do, but for most guys the sex drive is steers them to be with a woman for the sex.  Women, more often than not, are driven into the sexual act as a reflection of shared intimacy.  Sex tends to make your husband a happier soul, particularly for that portion of time when they are engaged in the sexual act.  But helping your husband to become more happy within the marriage is about much more than sexual intimacy. If you are seeking to truly arouse your husband to become happy, then I have a thought for you.

It is not just about good sex, though that is important.  And it is not just about creating a chase environment so that all the things he wants from you is not particularly easy to achieve.  If the wife is a pushover in all matters associated with the marriage, then where is the challenge.  A guy needs some push back now and again.  If everything comes to easy, boredom creeps in.

So, how do you help your husband find happiness in your marriage?

First, let’s agree this is really a very complex question.  I am going to speak in some generalities, so don’t be surprised if I don’t cover your specific situation.  A man who is unhappy in his marriages could be so for numerous reasons not yet mentioned.  Maybe there have been far too many fights.  Maybe your husband is experiencing emotional depression for other reasons, but it is effecting the marriage.  So let’s agree that my commentary on this matter may help many, but not all.  I am operating under the assumption that your husband’s happiness has much less to do with potentially things you may be doing wrong.  Rather it lies in your husband’s attitude or the “place” he resides emotionally.

Here is where the proverbial light bulb needs to shine in my opinion.   First of all, the question is somewhat flawed. It is not your chore, as wife, to help him find happiness within the marriage.  That is your husband’s job.  He is responsible for his own happiness.  You can help point him down that road, but he has to learn to walk it himself.

Now there are things you can do within the marriage itself that helps create an environment for your husband to be happier.  I have already mentioned a few. But the biggest thing you can do for your husband to help him with appreciating what he truly has with you is to encourage him to explore his personal goals.

When a person is most most happy, they feel the most free.  Sometimes a guy can feel trapped.  I know that can be hard for some women to accept, but a lot of guys can feel content about their marriage in one thought and also feel somewhat trapped in the next thought.  If you sense this, don’t let it upset you.  Many men are conditioned to feel strong and independent.  This sometimes leads to their restlessness if they feel bridled.

A guy sometimes needs to be encouraged to fulfill their personal goals.  They need to feel that they are not being held back.  They will appreciate that their wife is not trying to control them.  But that is just one puzzle piece.  Another puzzle piece lies in the mind of the guy.  He just sometimes doesn’t know how to get to it.  He might not know what is ailing him.

This is where you as his wife can help him get in touch with his feelings.  Guys can be terrible at getting in touch with what they really should know about themselves.  I think women are much better at sorting through the jumble of thoughts and emotions we all have.  So it can be helpful to explore with your husband what he is feeling and why he seems less content and satisfied at times.  A really good time to do this is after sex.  This is when your man is more likely to open up due to the release of oxytocin.  That is why this hormone is called the cuddle or love hormone.  I think of it as more of the truth serum hormone.

Putting together the puzzle pieces to solve the riddle of happiness is not an easy task for any of us.  Hopefully, I have given you some ideas that will help you with get a bit closer to what might be going on with your husband.