You go to the doctor for regular check-ups, do the same for your marriage.
Prevention and early detection is a key to physical health and wellness. The wonderful thing about regular visits is catching diseases, health problems and concerns before troubling symptoms and complications set in. You can treat the problem while it is small and easy to manage.
It is better for your marriage to identify and fix issues before problems grow from a snowball to an avalanche. Catching problems in your relationship makes it easier to change habits and minimize the damage. So what should you look for when you do a marriage check-up?
Here are four basic things to think about when you do a relationship check-up.
You probably know that it is important to spend time with your spouse. As a military spouse, you are challenged from the very beginning to carve out time with your husband or wife but that’s not an excuse!
During deployments or other time away utilize the time you do have and carve out special routines, times or rituals to connect. Check out our post on romance during deployment.
When your spouse is home, make time for the two of you to be together. Many people suggest finding an activity to do together, but be careful that you are not letting an activity get in the way. It can easily become more about the activity than the connection. Try to make time together that does not have kids, school activities, other friends or a to-do list involved. It isn’t always easy, so sometimes you have to be creative to get time together.
Check to make sure that you are regularly carving out together time in your schedule
Easy, our spouses are away for long stretches so we have plenty of time away from each other, right? Wrong. This does not really count as time alone within your marriage. Alone time is time to have privacy, do your own thing and to be your own person.
Maybe those who do not have children have enough alone time while their spouse is away, but for those who have kids, trust me, the time when your spouse is away can hardly be counted as time to yourself.
As for your spouse, the military may be a big part of who your spouse is, but they still need “non-military alone time”. It is sometimes hard for us to allow for this after our spouses come home from being deployed or at training for a long time, but suffocating them is never a good thing.
Check to make sure you are giving both you and your spouse enough personal time.
Physical expression is a very important part of human interaction.
This includes sexual and non-sexual touching. Touching is incredibly important to your relationship and simple touches can be a good thing to think about and be aware of. Touching can affect your mood drastically and even something as simple as holding hands can make a cumulative difference in your marriage.
Check to make sure you and your spouse are making efforts to physically connect with each other.
This one is one that I personally catch myself slipping up on the most. It is easy to get grumpy and irritable with your spouse and it is easy to let things slip.
Your spouse winds up getting the not-so-pretty side of you and you get the less-than-courteous side of them. No matter what, you should try to be polite and use manners, even with your spouse! Saying please and thank you can go a long way in almost any situation.
Do not speak badly of your spouse to people outside of the relationship, and make an effort to consciously listen and show interest in your spouse’s thoughts, feelings and opinions.
It is easy to let your behavior slip because you are comfortable with your spouse. Comfort and honesty does not remove the need to consciously and actively respect your spouse. Think about how you talk to your best friends, your colleagues, and other people who you respect.
Check to make sure you are treating each other with respect.
These check ups are a great way to find things to improve on, things that need some attention, some work or just to help us refocus. It is also a very constructive way to talk about your relationship with your spouse.
Let us know how you check up on your marriage in our comments section!
Photo thanks to sidknee23 via Flickr Creative Commons