“Why is it important to be lovers for life? Because lousy lovers don’t make good parents, and a loving home environment provides a winning chance for children to grow into healthy and resilient adults.”
Steven Chan, speaker, counsellor, and co-author of Maximum Marriage: How to Move From ‘Husband and Wife’ to Lovers for Life shared recently on a radio interview with 93.8 LIVE. He also discussed 5 tips on moving from a legal entity to being great lovers for life.
Try these out at home to maximise your marriage:
1. Remember why you chose this person
Why did you choose to marry your spouse? If you have not asked yourself this question, it’s never too late! Once you’ve identified your reasons, write it down in a journal or notebook.
This is an answer you’d want to come back to from time to time, (Steven advises to do so on every wedding anniversary), so you always have a ready answer if one day you have to ask yourself, “Why do I want to stay married?”
Always have a ready answer to the question “Why do I want to stay married?”
2. Create your golden nest
Singapore’s State of the Family reports show a worrying trend of rising divorce cases in recent years: around 1 in 4 marriages end up in divorce.
The incidence of ‘empty nest’ divorces (those who divorce after their children are grown and have started their own families) is also on the rise.
This realisation was a driving force behind Steven’s decision to work hard at his own marriage. “It is such a waste after spending so many years investing their time as husband and wife (and father and mother) to go their different ways once their children are out of the home. So we decided to build a golden nest, instead of an empty nest.”
Build a golden nest, instead of an empty one.
How did Steven and his wife do it? They made an intentional effort to build the relationship, and went on vacations on their own as well as sow into their marriage while raising their kids.
According to Steven, this intentional effort at building intimacy is key to helping marriages thrive, so don’t leave things to chance.
3. Build intimacy
Intimacy is a huge part of marriage, but what most people don’t know is that it is multi-faceted. There are actually 5 different aspects to intimacy: emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy, recreational intimacy, financial intimacy and spiritual intimacy.
Emotional intimacy is a major component that is often overlooked. One tool that Steven writes about in his book is to be open and vulnerable with your spouse.
In her book Daring Greatly, Dr. Brené Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. The act of loving someone and allowing them to love you requires vulnerability.
So, be willing to open up, and share your dreams and fears to your partner. Likewise, be available to listen when your partner bares his heart.
He also reminds couples to do fun things together, as this helps to build the relationship and friendship in the marriage. This falls under recreational intimacy.
4. Seek mentorship
Just like every sportsperson needs a good coach, every couple should have an older, more mature couple, who has gone some way before them to help guide the way, especially when the relationship runs into difficulties.
This will help them to have accountability, and to be aware of red flags in the marriage that they should work on and address.
5. Understand healthy conflict
Conflicts will occur in marriages from time to time, but it isn’t always necessary to take up every invitation to go to war.
Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.
Steven introduces a new way of thinking to help couples cope with conflict – determine to be on the same side as your partner, and don’t take a combative stance. Decide to deal with the issue together, in partnership instead of at loggerheads. When emotions run high, take a step back, take a deep breath, and come back to the table when you’re calmer and ready to communicate.
He admits that this paradigm shift is not an overnight process, but one that takes much commitment and hard work to achieve. However, your marriage is certainly worth the work.
© 2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved
Bring your relationship or marriage to a new level with Marriage Builders, through discussion and honest communication. Regardless of the life stage you are at, be equipped to go the distance in emotional and physical intimacy with your spouse.