Sometimes your marriage can feel like an uphill battle. The harder you fight, the further you seem to fall behind. What’s worse, when you look back at the dawn of your relationship, things looked so much better. Why can’t you go back to those halcyon days when things were easier and better?
First off, it’s worth saying that you’re not alone. Millions of men go through the same torment in their own relationships. And second, there are things that you can do about it, thanks to science. The science of relationships has been progressing at an impressive clip of late. And now it’s giving us all actionable methods that actually help to improve our relationships.
Appreciate Your Partner, But Also Challenge Them
Ever since we got no-fault divorce, women have been telling their divorce attorney that their husbands don’t appreciate them. But what exactly does that mean? According to the science, it means being complimentary 90 percent of the time, and challenging the other 10 percent. Most men can understand why they should be complimentary. But what about challenging your partner? Why is that important?
It turns out that challenging your partner is important for them to build respect for you. Your partner needs to know that you’ll hold them to account if they fail to achieve their espoused values. For instance, if they think shouting is wrong but shout at the kids, that’s when you need to challenge them. Challenging your partner helps them to respect you more. Often people can get frustrated with their partners if they don’t hold them to any objective standards of behavior. Letting your partner know that they haven’t lived up to their own standards makes them respect you more.
Always Live In The Present
The past and the future don’t exist: all we have is now. Yet many couples live as if the past and the future are real things that they can actually inhabit. Take, for instance, couples who say that they’ll spend more time together in the future. How many times have you heard that? They tell themselves that once they’ve got more money or a promotion, they’ll take more time off and go on holiday together.
The latest science is now demonstrating the importance of mutual availability of each person in the couple. The more available you are to the needs of your partner in the moment, the more you can connect. Building a stable relationship is all about the small, simple interactions you have with your spouse. It could be something as easy as grunting a response when your partner tells you about their day at work. Being open with your partner and focusing on them and only them implicitly tells them that you think they are important.
Don’t Create False Narratives
Researchers have known since the 1980s that couples underreport pleasurable experiences by 50 percent. As a result, married couples often construct false narratives. They tell themselves that their relationships are headed in the wrong direction.
Avoid these false narratives like the plague. Be objective about both the good and the bad in your relationship.