No matter how many little things you do to keep your marriage healthy, they can’t replace the big ones. Here are some big ones that I think are important:
- Expect the best from your partner. I remind myself that the reason Marc hasn’t done the dishes isn’t because he thinks it’s my job, it’s because he’s genuinely forgotten about it.
- Don’t set your partner up to fail. For example, I was doing the dishes this morning and caught myself hoping/expecting Marc would walk in and say, “I’ll do those.” If I want something, I should ask instead of getting angry at him for not reading my mind.
- When having a heated discussion, keep the focus on the actual problem. Discuss the dishes, not all the things that are bothering you. If there’s a bigger underlying problem – for example, you feel the dishes are a sign that you’re being neglected – be upfront about it, instead of pretending you’re just upset about the dishes.
- Another thing to keep in mind when arguing: don’t bring up the past without a very good reason. Grudges can lead to heart attacks and kill you.
- Communicate even if you’re afraid of the answer. This goes with the first tip, in that you should try to believe your partner is going to respond in a loving way to your feelings.