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How to Keep a Marriage Alive in a Simple Step

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My marriage is in a good place right now, but I’ve learned from past experience that this could change in a second. So I looked into how to stay on a good path and how to keep a marriage alive. I found that one way to do this is to strengthen emotional attraction.

Up until recently, I’d never heard of emotional attraction. But way more than physical attraction, it’s what holds a marriage together. And the best and easiest way to strengthen emotional attraction is to do one simple thing every day with your husband. Here’s what it is.

Do what Neil says.

Dr. Neil Jacobson’s research discovered the one thing you can do every day to keep your marriage alive: have a stress-reducing conversation. He found that after couples got in a groove, most of them relapsed — except for the couples who had a daily connection session. Here’s how to do it:

The basics.

Try to have your meeting every day and set a regular time so that you can plan your life, and your kids’ lives, around it. Try to spend at least 20 minutes talking. If that seems overwhelming at first, start with just a 10-minute conversation. Take turns talking and listening. Be sure to sit down while you talk and resist the urge to have your conversation while you’re both doing something else. And, before you start your conversation, put your phones in another room.

Topics matter… a lot.

There’s one very important topic you should NOT talk about in your time together, your marriage. This is a time to talk about the things that are happening outside of your marriage that are causing you joy or stress. It’s especially important to put the stressors on the table so that you can share them as a couple and prevent them from spilling into your relationship. If you have marriage issues that you need to discuss, set aside a different time for that.

Solution-free zone.

The goal of these conversations is for you and your husband to be heard. Don’t offer solutions, offer empathy. Nod your head to show you’re listening. Say things like, “I get it.” “Whew.” Or, “I hear you on that.” Marriage expert Dr. John Gottman says our credo during these talks should be: “When you are in pain, the world stops and I listen.”

Be one-sided.

Your stress-reducing conversation is all about creating a team mentality for you and your husband. Do your best to take his side during your talks. If he complains about his boss, resist the urge to say, “Well, maybe your boss was having a bad day.” That may be true, but your husband needs you to see his perspective and validate his feelings.

Be affectionate.

Sit close while you’re talking. Hold hands or reach out and touch your husband’s arm or shoulder. Hug and connect physically. Remember, you are in this life, this situation, and this moment, together as one. That’s what the stress-reducing conversation is all about — uniting you and strengthening you as a team against the pressures and stressors of the world outside of your marriage.

Well, let us know if you start having stress-reducing conversations. Or, if you already have them let us know how they work in the real world. We’re always trying to learn how to keep a marriage alive, strong, and growing.


How can you show someone who’s talking that you’re being a good listener?

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