Many couples find they tend to know more about how to plan a fanciful wedding than how to keep that new marriage running well and on track.
Contrary to how it is frequently portrayed in movies, marriage is not all sunsets and roses. Everyday stresses, different backgrounds, conflicting expectations, sensitivities, and misunderstandings can cause a lot of wear and tear.
Much like a beautiful—yet complex, delicate, and complicated—machine, your marriage will need constant repairs and fine-tuning.
What can you do to keep your cherished bond alive for the long haul?
Productive Ways to Make Relationship Repairs
The analogy of a fine-tuned machine may seem crude when talking about a relationship between two committed partners, but as you take a closer look, you may find it very fitting.
Think about a commonplace machine such as a car. It is a marvel of engineering. Complex and complicated, combining beauty and functionality. Who is not intrigued by a shiny new car?
To keep the car running well, however, you must perform maintenance tasks and even small repairs at times. It’s the only way you will be able to reap the full benefits of owning it for as long as possible.
Marriage is supposed to last a whole lot longer than a car. It, too, is marvelously constructed, complex, and complicated. Its beauty far outshines that of a brand new car, for it provides us with the love and companionship that make our lives meaningful.
The problem for many couples is that they may find it much easier to do repairs on their car than on their marriage. But if you break the task into small steps, you may find it isn’t all that complicated to make effective repairs that keep your marital relationship running just as well as your car.
1. Identify what needs repair
In order to make useful repairs to your relationship, you must first know what needs to be repaired. You do that by listening to one another. When your partner speaks, you need to be attentive and present, looking beyond their words with an open mind.
The goal is to understand what your spouse truly needs. Even if you don’t agree with everything they say, you need to pay attention and reflect back what you heard them say, instead of trying to persuade them of your position.
When you truly understand what needs to be addressed, you’ve successfully communicated and are able to now focus on making the repair together.
2. Remove the unsound parts
Once you have an understanding of what needs to change, you must let that knowledge affect you. Expressing empathy will provide comfort and help you show genuine concern. Committing to addressing the problem will show your willingness to make changes.
In turn, when your spouse can see you’re serious about removing unhealthy behaviors, they’re more likely to feel respected. Just the fact that you care enough to remove an unsound part from your relationship can provide much-needed validation.
Also, if your spouse feels genuinely heard by you, they are more willing to be influenced by your opinions.
3. Install the new parts
Now that you have removed the problematic behavior, you must take action to adopt new and better ways of interacting. This isn’t about who is to blame or who has the most changes to make. It’s about taking responsibility for what you must contribute individually to make the repair successful.
Even if you are stalled because of conflict, if you begin implementing new and positive behaviors, you can rev up that motor again and move forward, building momentum with building trust.
4. Make sure you lubricate well
No car runs well for long without good lubrication. No matter how often you make repairs, excessive friction will continue wearing down parts quickly. Demonstrations of fondness, respect, and fondness are lubricants in your marriage. It helps you show concern for your partner’s feelings. It also helps you to give your best and stay patient with each other.
So anytime you have to make repairs to your relationship, don’t forget to reconnect with the love you feel for each other. Think about your spouse’s good qualities. Take a detour on memory lane and share some laughs. And above all, express your love unconditionally, making sure you convey your care, understanding, and support.
Remember, if you neglect to maintain and repair your relationship regularly, you will end up running it into the ground. But if you take the time to make timely and effective repairs—identifying the problem areas, discarding the unhealthy patterns, implementing new behaviors, and keeping everything smooth with plenty of loving kindness—you will enjoy your marriage for a very long time.