We often talk about the importance of physical fitness to our health and overall well-being. But emotional fitness is just as important. If your partner is unhappy, you can’t be happy. Sometimes they make you feel just as miserable as they are due to their discontentment and dissatisfaction. And if you think you are happy when you partner is miserable- you are missing out on truly being fulfilled. I say this because with many couples in counseling, one partner doesn’t feel like there is a problem. They say- “I thought everything was ok.” But the reality is, if things were 100%, they would be much happier also- they just don’t know it!
A marriage that is not emotionally fit also opens the door to infidelity. Why? Because someone else comes along and provides the fulfillment and excitement that you don’t. They listen, they care, they give attention, they show concern. While you’re just doing your usual routine thinking everything is OK, you partner is empty, lonely, and needy. That’s where emotional fitness comes in.
So, how can we build “emotionally fit” marriages? What should we do if our marriage is lacking happiness, fulfillment and contentment? Here are 6 tips that I think will help you out…
Stop Being Selfish
You have to be unselfish and selfless in your marriage. Now, this does not mean sacrifice yourself for your partner! But it does suggest that you consider the needs of your partner and also evaluate the cost/risks involved in meeting those needs. If the cost is more time, then that seems reasonable to keep your partner happy. If the cost if suppressing your needs to make someone else happy- this likely will not work in the long run. Be generous, give freely. But don’t give until you’re empty! Your partner should reciprocate. And if they don’t, you may have a bigger problem.
Just Be Nice!
You should be sympathetic toward the well-being of your partner. You have to consider their emotions and how your behavior affects them. You should be mindful of your partner’s feelings and emotional state. Be charitable and generous. It’s ok to give of yourself so that your partner will be filled loved. Give that hug. Buy those flowers. Pick up dinner. Clean that bathroom. Be kind to your partner! Have compassion for your their unhappiness, disappointments or hardships. This is also a good time to understand your partner’s strengths and weakness. Don’t hold it against them that they are not good at something or they mess up. Extend grace- it really makes a difference.
Are You Available?
Don’t you feel a little more cared for when your partner listens to you? I thought so. You have to learn to being thoughtful and give your full attention. Listen with feeling- This will make your partner feel loved and validated. Listen for what they mean, not what you hear. For example, your wife may say “you never spend time with me.” You may have actually spent time with her a few days ago- you want on a date. What she really means it “I miss us.” Big difference in the what that came across, right? Try to read past the words and understand the meaning behind what they are saying. It’s probably more emotionally charged than factual. You never, you always typically has an emotional undertone. I’m hurt, I’m angry, I’m disappointed… And on and on. Be attentive- pay attention- make extra effort.
Make A Little Time
Being accessible and obtainable is pretty important. In many instances we are too busy or too distracted to give our time. We may not realize we are neglecting our partner, but the truth is- you are not giving them the time that they need. You have to be accessible to your partner. You should be the first person they call in the time of difficulty. When they are stressed, when they are sad, when they just need to talk- let your partner know that they can always depend on you. This also goes for those of you who work long hours. You have to make time for your partner. I mean that- MAKE TIME! It could be “love you” texts throughout the day. And it means the world when you respond to their reply- it means you actually care. Text, phone, email- family FIRST! And make sure you explain that you may not always respond immediately, but you will find time text quick emoji that means we will talk about it later- AND ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT IT!
Say “I Love You” And Show It!
Yep- this is important. Giving unconditional love, respect, devotion, and appreciation for your partner. Who doesn’t want this in their marriage? I mean, this is part of why you got married them right? You should be eager to experience passion and fulfilment. Now I know that nobody feels this way all the time. But you have to commit to creating a meaningful marriage through intimacy and affection. Great sex helps some couples stay together! And a great intimate life along with many of these other factors can go a long way! Even when things get tough, you have a deep connection that holds things together. Feeling adored and desired means a lot. When we lose things, again- bad things can happen!
Finally, we recognize the need to create a sense of balance in your marriage. Stability brings consistency and dependability. You make your partner feel secure in the marriage. You allow space for them to grow. It’s OK if your marriage is not perfect, you both learn from the mistakes and keep pushing forward. Accepting your partner for who they are but encouraging them to embrace new experiences along the way is important. These new experiences give you a solid foundation to build on. As you overcome challenges, you simply add another brick to your foundation. There is a goal and you’re both reaching for it. You are strong and not easily swayed by the circumstance. Your foundation is unmovable. Stability in all areas is extremely important.
Ok couples! You now have tools to create an emotionally fit marriage. These factors combined can help develop a positive mindset about the marriage and where it’s going. A healthy perception of your marriage is important. And your partner’s perception of you can determine whether you will stay together or fall apart.