I’m a huge believer in the power of small changes. There are so many little things you can start doing or stop doing that will change your life, as cliché as that sounds. If the sameness of marriage was an issue for you in 2015, there are little things you can try that will infuse your marriage with new life. Here are a few of my tried and tested favourites:
1. Hug: I’m not even being cute here. As babies, touch was one of the first languages of love we learnt. Even as toddlers, being picked up or held was one of the major ways we heard “I love you”, before we understood what the words really meant. Now we are adults and we think hugs don’t matter anymore but they do, very much. Agree to drop whatever you’re doing when they come in and just hug for a few seconds. Walk up to them unexpectedly and hug them from behind. There’s science to this thing but I’m not a science student so let’s not go there. If you know about the hormones released and stuff please leave a comment, thanks!
2. Kiss: Ah, when the relationship was “brown new” you used to kiss, and kiss, and kiss. All the time, every opportunity, you couldn’t get enough. You just wanted to drink them in, you know? Now that kids have come you’re doing papa and mama marriage. Admit it, if you’ve been together more than two years, and you have kids, you’re not kissing all that much anymore. Yet this is one of the simplest, most intimate things a couple can do. This year, resolve to kiss more. I’m not talking about those kisses in bed because, sex. Kiss outside the bedroom, and for no reason other than this is the person you love and committed to for life. And remember to stay kissable too (oral hygiene, stop licking your lips, use lip balm to keep them soft…)
3. Listen: Hearing what they’re saying while mentally crafting your own reply is not listening. Practice the art of true listening. It takes courage for your partner to start a conversation in order to say what’s on their mind, instead of bottling it in. Sometimes it’s hard. There’s a lot at stake. Try not to make it more difficult. Instead, pay attention. Listen with your heart. Listen with your eyes. You will hear not only what’s being said, but also what’s not being said.
4. Hold your tongue sometimes: It’s not everything you must say, truly. Think of this as an act of kindness — which is a top secret to long-lasting marriages. In fact, a wise woman once said for a marriage to thrive, at least 6 things must go unsaid every day. I don’t know about that number, but the principle is true. It was strange and hard for me initially, but I swear by it now! If you’re like me, at first you will think you’re going to die when you don’t say it, as you can taste it on your tongue, feel it in your throat and chest, swelling like a balloon, but I promise you won’t die. Instead of the short-lived satisfaction of saying it, you will reap a healthier, more joyful relationship long term.
5. Send sweet and sexy text messages: If you start to type the text message and it’s hard, then you know it’s been way too long since you did this. Ditto if your partner is shocked to receive the text, or even think maybe you meant it for someone else. Also, it gets easier the more you do it. Very importantly, your love life and your sex life will suddenly be on a whole new level. In fact, depending on how long you’ve been dulling, it will be as if you married a new person. Marriage is a kind of partnership where it’s so easy to fall into that brother and sister rut. Keep it romantic, and keep it sexy. Go ahead and tell them how much you appreciate them, how nice they looked wearing what they wore, what was great about the last time you made love and what you would like to do the next time…go on, send that text.
Caveat: No go do pass yourself, come call my name o! If you’re making promises, make sure you can actually keep them! If you promise breast massage or lap dance or sex in jangolova position, you can’t chicken out; you have to actually do it. And enjoy it.
Welcome to 2016. I wish you more joy in your marriage and in your life!