We always hear people talk about "healthy marriages," as if couples are on some sort of nutrition plan for marital bliss. Maybe this analogy isn't so far from the truth. I've found that just like any good diet requires a little bit of sacrifice - you know, "no pain, no gain" - so does any good marriage in order to survive and thrive. If couples fast from these three things, I'm guessing a healthier marriage will be just around the corner.
My husband and I are both masters of sarcasm. While it can sometimes be funny, more often than not, it ends up stinging. Frequent use of sarcasm puts up walls that keep partners from being able to trust that the other is being genuine. Want more proof that a sarcasm fast would help a marriage? Psychology Today's Elizabeth Svoboda writes, "Psychologist John Gottman has found that if partners display contempt toward each other-which commonly includes making sarcastic remarks-their odds of divorce rise dramatically." Try making a pact that every comment or response you make to your partner is with honesty, patience, and love.
Although we work full-time jobs and put an infant to bed after work, my husband and I are still guilty of burying our faces in our electronic devices for a good chunk of the evening. We recently got rid of cable in an effort to cut back our expenses, and I think it's made a large difference in our productivity levels and communication with each other. Now we're more likely to sit down and talk or work on a project around the house than plan our lives around the next episode of our favorite TV show. Try cutting out even a portion of your evening when no TV, computers, or phones are allowed to be in use and do something together.
It is so easy to order in a pizza or stop at the drive-thru to pick up dinner, and my husband and I used to do this more often than I'd like to admit. Lately, we've gotten into the habit of making a meal plan and cooking our meals at home. Instead of sitting in front of the TV or eating on the go, we're more likely to sit down at the table and enjoy the food we've cooked. We have the chance to praise one another for a job well done in the kitchen and engage in some conversation about our days. As an added bonus, our wallets and arteries thank us for the decision.
Sacrifice requires effort and discipline, but it always has a grace reward. I'm sure every couple out there has something they know they should have a little less of in their marriage. Try giving it up for a little while and see how your marriage changes as a result.
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