we want to fix it. Quickly. We tend to look at marriages with that same approach, as we have for years. If we’re experiencing issues in our marriages, it can feel overwhelming to think that we have to make some huge sacrifice or life change in order to make the relationship better. But, just as with marriage counseling itself, it takes time. You wouldn’t attend one counseling session of any kind and expect everything to be fixed, right?
The healing process is just that; a process, and that includes incredibly small steps sometimes, toward a larger goal. Granted, each step is a step upward, but some are certainly smaller than others. Sometimes it’s the smallest steps that can have the largest impact, and it’s important to recognize that. Want a better idea of how these small steps could make a big difference in your marriage? Let’s take a look at a few small changes you can make right now, that could actually impact your marriage.
1. Schedule A Date Night – It may sound cliche, and you may have heard of couples doing this, but think about the importance of spending quality time together. Actually scheduling a date night each week ensures that something isn’t going to just ‘come up,’ so you can back out. You’re actively making time for each other, with no other distractions, and that can be important to rejuvenate the relationship.
2. Set Daily Goals – These goals can be completely personal when it comes to your marriage, and you don’t even have to share them with your spouse, but try to find ways to be kind, respectful, and giving on a daily basis, and accomplish them. It could be something as simple as, “I’m going to say something nice to my spouse today,” or “I’m not going to take things so seriously today.”
3. Listen – It’s hard enough living in a world where distractions are abundant, but there is nothing worse than feeling as though you’re not being listened to. So, make sure to give your spouse that respect when they’re talking, instead of ‘half-hearing’ what they may have said. They’ll absolutely notice your engagement, and appreciate it.
4. Treat Your Spouse Well – Even on days when you’re angry, or frustrated with your spouse, make the effort to treat them better than you might treat anyone else. You wouldn’t yell at your boss, or your best friend, or your neighbors, so why should your bad day get thrown onto your spouse?
5. Remember The Past – While it’s never a good idea to get stuck in the past, or ask your spouse something like, “Why can’t you do this like you used to?”, it can be healthy to remember the good times you had together, especially when you’re experiencing moments of frustration. You fell in love, and got married for a reason, and at times that can be a solid enough reminder to take a step back, and appreciate your marriage even more.
Kin Leung, MFT, providing Therapy for Asian Americans in San Francisco, CA. I also have over a decade of experience working with adolescents and their families as a psychotherapist and supervisor in the San Francisco and Peninsula area. Originally from Hong Kong and bilingual in Cantonese, I have the personal experience of living in 2 very different cultures and understand the struggles many Asian American families go through. It is my goal and dedication to provide therapy service that is suitable for each family in need.