• Debra W. Gould, MS and Joseph Gould

Growing Together, Part One

Ideas to keep your marriage moving forward

In so many ways the modern world is a blessing: for all our trials and tribulations, we experience longer lives, better health, and more opportunity for mental and spiritual growth than any generation before us.

On the other hand, with the demands of family and career, as well as the distractions of technology, we feel busier – and our lives feel more fragmented – than ever. In the midst of our hectic days, it is far too easy to take for granted the thing we count on most: the strength and support of our marriage.

Most of us know better. We’ve read the articles that tell us to plan date nights, or take up hobbies together. But somehow we still feel comfortable enough to put our most important relationship on the back burner. We trust that even if we don’t tend to it today, that’s okay. Our partner will still be there tomorrow.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. In fact, I’m absolutely confident that I won’t even have to explain myself when I tell you that you must not take your partner for granted.

So that continually building your relationship doesn’t feel like another chore on your already heavy to-do list, I have two simple ideas that can help you cut through the chaos of life, and ensure that you and your partner keep growing together.

1 - Be positive. It’s easy to carry home the stress of the outside world. Sometimes it seems we can’t help but take our frustrations and weariness out on the ones closest to us. But that doesn’t make your marriage or your home a happy place to be.

Your marriage and home are sanctuaries that need to be protected. Find ways to keep negativity out and love, relaxation, and generosity in. This will help ensure that through thick and thin, your marriage and your home will be where you both most want to stay.

2 – Communicate. It never ceases to amaze me how many couples will go through an entire day or longer without having a real conversation (that is to say, one that’s not focused on the logistics of running a household or taking care of the kids). Talking about goals, dreams, ideas, and opinions keeps each of you in touch with how the other is thinking, growing, and even changing.

You can live side by side, and still grow apart if you’re not regularly sharing your true thoughts. Don’t ignore a subject because you’re afraid you’ll disagree. Working respectfully through conflict – truly listening, negotiating, and compromising – can help make the bonds of a marriage even stronger.

Remember: Love is a beautiful plant – it must be nurtured if you want it to survive.

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