Having fun together is vital for a happy marriage. Every day should include some merriment. Run, dance, joke—do something simply for the joy of it. A joyful mind will help you feel physically and mentally healthy. And joy will make your marriage healthy, too. The force of gravity can collapse bridges and buildings.
Over time, a relationship can collapse from the pressures of stress, disappointment and self-involvement. Couples need to counter the force of gravity with the force of “levity.” You don’t want to become like one of those couples sitting grimly and silently at a restaurant table. They’ve lost their levity, their ability to have fun. Keep your marriage living and growing by finding new ways to laugh and play together. Start now! Never stop!
Develop Your Communication
Rapport between a couple is built by good communication. Without it you’ll be like islands, separate and alone, and misunderstandings will inevitably occur. Good communication is a skill that can be developed. Start by really paying attention to your partner, listening and watching for what is being expressed beneath the surface. Conversation will deepen only when there is a sense of trust and security.
Don’t criticize or belittle your partner if you want them to open up to you. Trust develops when you express support and appreciation.
Men and women communicate differently, a cause of endless amusement and frustration in society. Most men need to improve their ability to express their feelings. Women need to appreciate men’s non-verbal messages, to understand that men show love by actions and not only words. Find a time today, and every day, to have at least one genuine conversation, one where today you really talk and really listen.
Sexuality and Intimacy
Sexual attraction is one of the strongest forces in the world and the way you handle sex in your marriage will help determine whether or not your life together is fulfilling. Your sexual attraction should be a strong bonding element. But, if allowed to become a cause of tension, unsatisfying physical relationships can lead to divorce.
Talk together about your sex life, about what it is and what you would like it to be. A little bit of communication in this area will go a long way toward creating a happy marriage. As you bring a greater feeling of love and tenderness into your physical relationship, you will experience a deepening sense of true intimacy. Overindulgence in sex gradually erodes love and intimacy. Yet a sense of repression is to be avoided too. Find a balance that works for you, one that helps deepen your love for each other.
Your Home Environment
The environment in your home is more important than you might think. Our surroundings strongly influence our thoughts; our minds expand and relax in harmonious settings while depressing environments bring dark moods. A cluttered home indicates a cluttered mind while a clean, light room brings a subtle sense of peace and order to your life. Don’t fill your home with meaningless noise.
For many couples the television is almost like having another person in the house, and an intrusive one at that! Consider putting yours out of the way in a location where it doesn’t dominate your space.
Subtle environmental influences will affect your marriage in surprisingly powerful ways. Visualize a place where you’re happy and content. What colors predominate? What shapes are there? Do you hear the sound of music or running water? Try to recreate this feeling of harmony and peace in your home.
Excerpted from 30-Day Essentials for Marriage by Jyotish Novak, Crystal Clarity Publishers, available Fall 2002. Jyotish and Devi Novak are spiritual directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide.
Other Clarity articles by Jyotish Novak are listed under “Nayaswami Jyotish.”