Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life as a couple. So why celebrate such a special and momentous day only once a year?
Dr. Paul Sago, a marriage counselor and author of Planning Your Marriage: A Workbook Guide for Engaged and Married Couples, and his wife, Donna, celebrate their wedding anniversary every month--and have been for 21 happy years of marriage!
Celebrating your anniversary monthly "keeps you aware of that occurrence and how it happened and why," says Dr. Sago. "It gives you an opportunity to talk about just yourselves, rather than your finances or the in-laws."
Talk about how you felt that day and relive your favorite memories. There are so many romantic and memorable moments from your wedding day and talking about them on a monthly basis helps keep those memories fresh.
Whether you make dinner together or dine at your favorite restaurant, celebrating your anniversary every month acts as a frequent reminder and renewal of your love and commitment to each other and it allows you to spend an evening focused on each other.
What a sweet idea!
Before you get angry and reprimand your mate for making a mistake or doing something you told him or her not to do, stop and ask yourself this one wise question: "Does this affect me?" If it doesn't, button your lips and avoid a fight. After all, your mate is the one who must deal with the consequence, not you.
When your mate's mistake does affect you, what then? Rather than being hostile, find out what really happened. Ask neutral and respectful questions such as, "Can you tell me what happened?" or "I don't understand. Am I missing something here?" You might discover a good reason for the oversight or blunder, which could avoid a blow-up.
When you have a complaint, say what you do want, not what you don't want. For example, rather than saying to your child or mate, "Get off that darn computer -- you're so rude!" instead target your mate using a positive approach: "I miss your company. Can you join me in the living room to hang out?"
Being passive by often saying "whatever you want" might temporarily avoid a fight, but it could breed resentment because it leaves the majority of decisions to your mate, which can be stressful. Instead, have a real opinion and share it.
If your mate does something that affects and disturbs you, such as overspending or making plans for both of you without asking the other first, don't get sucked into the heated "How could you?" argument. Instead, focus on the future by creating policy solutions, as in, "From now on can we agree to make a budget for our personal expenses?" Or: "Can we agree to check in with each other before making plans for both of us?"
Forgetting to ask about what's going on in your child or your mate's daily life is a surefire way to erode a relationship. From now on, if you know that someone in your family has an important meeting, test, doctor appointment, or event that day, don't neglect it -- instead, respect it. Call, email, text, or ask in person, "How did it go?" This sends a clear message: I care about you.
Do you and your mate often find yourselves arguing about the name of a restaurant you went to, a certain address, someone's birthday, an historical fact, or sports figure? Then you are prone to having a dumb argument! Stop the conversation and do an online fact check, call a friend, or simply drive by the location.
Quickly saying the words "I'm sorry" is a bad apology because it often comes off as insincere, and could trigger another battle. Next time you seek mercy, add the "B" word: Say, "I'm sorry because..." and share how you hurt your mate and what you will do to prevent the wrongdoing from recurring. Research shows that when you add the "because clause" your words are more persuasive.
Are you ever angry with your partner for revealing something to others that you consider private, like a health issue, a child discipline issue, job insecurity, or a marital disagreement? If so, bypass the "How could you say that?!" argument. Instead, establish border control: Outline the topics that should remain private to insure that neither of you becomes an accidental traitor.
Most couples on the divorce path seldom compliment each other. In our online survey for <em>Fight Less, Love More</em>, we asked people, "Would you rather your mate compliment you for being kind or good-looking?" The result was that 84 percent of people said "kind." The lesson: Find daily opportunities to recognize your mate for something that reflects a character strength (you are such a wonderful mother/father, you are so thoughtful when you...).