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At a time when fifty percent (or more) of marriages end in divorce, it is no surprise that one of the most frequent questions I am asked is, "Is there anything I can do to keep my marriage/relationship from falling apart?"  The good news is, yes, if you and your partner really want your relationship to "go the distance" and avoid being just another sad, divorce statistic, there are three specific, and deceptively simple things you can do right now to start divorce-proofing your marriage.  

1) Treat each other politely.  What I mean by this is: You should treat your partner with at least the same degree of common courtesy you use with friends, business associates or strangers you come into contact with on a daily basis.  I'm talking about simple good manners: Saying "please" and "thank you" and excusing yourself when your gastro-intestinal tract suddenly expels noxious fumes at either end.  This is so basic to any successful encounter, let alone a significant relationship, that you would think this would be second nature to most people. Alas, it is not. As we get more and more comfortable in a relationship we often "relax" into patterns of interaction that could be described as barely civil, at best, and down-right rude, at worst. And the saddest part is that we're usually completely unaware of our behavior. We're just "being ourselves." Well, STOP! Studies show that couples who make a point of employing good manners and treating each other politely, are overwhelmingly more successful and happier in their relationships than their less-civil counterparts.  Bottom line is: Play nice – and you'll be playmates for a long time.

2) Don't criticize or berate each other.  Instead, be complimentary and supportive.  This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Again, this is a very simple and straight-forward concept that so many people forget once they are comfortably entrenched in their marriage.  Negativity undermines the foundation of many relationships.  And this is doubly true of critical invectives flung at your spouse in the presence of others.  Yet how many times have you been out in public and heard one of your friends speak to their significant other in a critical or derogatory manner (e.g. "Don't be such an asshole!" or "Why are you being such a bitch?")?   Conversely, if you get in the habit of dealing with your spouse in a loving, complimentary manner, you create an environment of support that inspires cooperation and harmony and helps ensure that "happily ever after" isn't an impossible dream.

3) Touch each other on a regular basis.  This one is incredibly important.  And I'm not referring here to sexual touch (although I'm a strong proponent of  that, as well). I'm talking about simple contact: Putting a reassuring hand on your mate's shoulder; squeezing their hand supportively; touching their arm warmly as you pass by. Do this with purpose or for no particular reason, but do it...several times a day every day. It's an incredibly bonding experience which establishes a level of caring and intimacy that reinforces the physical and emotional closeness of your relationship.  Plus, it just feels really good.

As I stated above, these suggestions are things you can initiate immediately, that combined, will have a surprisingly positive effect on your relationship.  And though these "quick fixes" may seem too simplistic to be effective, what do you have to lose giving them a try?  Just do it.  The marriage you save may be your own.

If you have any questions about men, relationships, dating or a related topic, please feel free to email them to me at: david@EveryManSeesYouNaked.com. I will try to answer as many as I possibly can here in my column.

(C)2008 David M. Matthews.  All Rights Reserved.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Leadinladytracy wrote Nov 29, 2008
    • David you offer some great tips. I will try to incorporate them into my marriage.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 30, 2008
    • Those are all great tips and I will definitely try to use them in my own marriage.  thanks



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Fxydiva wrote Nov 30, 2008
    • I too am going to use these in my marriage, and hopefully, hubby will follow suit!  Thanks for these pointers, and that was a very good one you added Annie123!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Michelle Rowe wrote Nov 30, 2008
    • The number one way is key with us. So many times we see family members treating each other with less respect than strangers.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Felicia Lewis wrote Nov 30, 2008
    • You have to honor and respect each other. I have been married for 21 years and It has not been easy, but at the end of the day we honor and respect each other.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rene' Grandon wrote Dec 1, 2008
    • Great blog David, you always give such great advice.

      Thanks,
      Bella



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Dec 1, 2008
    • NEVER go to bed angry!!!  

      gr8 blog ty!



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      Raysa Santana wrote Dec 2, 2008
    • I just read your article and I feel really good because my husband and I do all 3.  Now I must say there is always room for improvement especially the example you gave in #1.  My husband is proud of his gastro-intestinal tract expulsions.  I’ll have to show him the article and hopefully he’ll see there is a need for change.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Trudy S wrote Dec 8, 2008
    • And how!  Yes.  Respect is important.  My number one issue is seeing friends get treated better than family.



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      Naomi1963 wrote Dec 22, 2008
    • David everything you said is so very true and is something my partner and I have always done.  If I may add something, we talk about everything and I mean Everything.  I feel the extra communication leads to many less argument’s.  In the 10 years we have been married we have had only 3 disagreements.  The please and thank you is a very big part and to me is just good manners.  We were both raised this way so it comes naturally.  

      Have a wonderful day all estatic

      Naomi



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Jan 11, 2009
    • Thanks for the great tips and wisdom David I have a friend who could use this.



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      Kduncan wrote Feb 15, 2009
    • After 19 years of marriage my husband and I divorced, but actually reconciled and I moved back into our home before the divorce was final...when the Big D was due to be finalized or kicked of docket...he chose to sign the papers anyway...I was so upset, I left for a while, but ended up moving back to keep the family unit together.

       Last year I had 3 major surgerys..including a complete Hysterectamy...which prior to made sex so un enjoyable...now I am 40 lbs over weight...but miss our intimacy.

       Now after almost a year,  feel the major seperation that has grown between us.  I dont enjoy being around him, we dont sleep in the same bed...much less have sex.  He does not kiss or hug me, or ever have a compliment or any other nice thing to say regarding me as a person.  I look at him and dont see the man I so dearly loved those years back...I miss our intimacy, and have brought it up in conversation many times, but I honestly think he is not interested in me any more.  I am so heart sick and dont really know what to do, or how to fix this or if it can be fixed! ...the moral of this long winded comment is...I have asked for each and every thing that you posted...but isnt that like asking for a complimnet? I dont want to have to beg him to touch me...or to WANT to have sex with me....I am so lost with all of this.



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      (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Feb 15, 2009
    • KD: I am sorry to hear that.  You said on your profile it’s time to change and I think you are on the right track... time to discover what’s best and pleases K.  I am glad we can be part of your discovery journey.



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      Termite wrote Feb 15, 2009
    • Oh K I am so sorry to hear that. Just be true to yourself! Hang in there, it will get better!



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