A new study rocked the boat of traditional marital therapy by suggesting that it only takes one partner to save a marriage. Traditional marital therapy focuses on the couple—however, many times if one partner changes his or her reactions or communication style, the relationship benefits. Because there was a higher improvement in relationships in which women altered their behavior, we’ve identified six behaviors that wives can focus on to turn their relationships around.
1) Be direct in your communication.
Women are notorious for dropping hints. This might work when communicating with other women, but not men! Be direct with your partner and tell him exactly what you need.
2) Watch your tone of voice.
It’s no secret that men have the “gift” of selective listening. Addressing your spouse as if he is one of the children can be belittling. Keep your tone respectful of your partner, even when you are frustrated. Find a time that is quiet when you will not be competing for his attention.
3) Avoid passive and aggressive extremes.
Women are not socialized to show anger, so when we feel angry it can be tempting to invoke the silent treatment or beat our point to the ground—both behaviors typically produce negative results. Be mindful of the type of communication to which your partner best responds.
4) Address your needs.
When women ignore their concerns in an effort to avoid conflict, they grow resentful. Don’t let lack of communication create bitterness and anger in your relationship. Therapy can be helpful for processing your frustrations and figuring out the best way to address them with your spouse.
5) Make sex a priority.
Many times women feel as though sex isn’t as important as other forms of communication—but this isn’t true. Intimacy and sex are important for healthy bodies, minds and souls. Intimacy with your spouse tells him that he is needed, loved and desired—three qualities that are the glue of a healthy marriage.
6) Verbalize appreciation—often.
Women are more verbal than men, which can work well in creating a healthy marriage. Each day tell your partner at least three things that you love and appreciate about him. This creates positive energy for both parties in the relationship. Ultimately, marriage requires work from both partners every day to be successful.
It is encouraging to see how small changes will improve a troubled marriage within weeks. The behaviors listed above have a proven track record in contributing to successful marriages. If you feel that your partner and you have grown apart, working on these six behaviors might be enough to jump start your marriage and help to get it back on course. The first and toughest changes are always the changes we must make within ourselves.