As a firefighter, I’ve spent years thinking about how to put fires out. But, as a married firefighter, I spend just as much time thinking about how to keep the fire burning in my relationship. Stress takes a toll on every marriage; and public safety marriages – with inordinately high levels of stress – offer an excellent proving ground for advanced studies in marital harmony. Over one-half of all marriages end in divorce; and public safety marriages are notorious for having an even higher failure rate. Here are five fire-proof methods for keeping your relationship hot and healthy in even the most difficult conditions.
1. Remember why you got married in the first place. While it is true that most people get married for the wrong reasons (looks, money, fear, opportunity, etc…), people who want to save their relationships are often those who truly loved each other at one point in their relationship. By focusing your mind on the reasons you got married and the things you love about the other person, you can dramatically reduce the size and importance of most marital problems. Remembering why you are in this relationship is an excellent way to rekindle that old flame.
2. Think positive and loving thoughts. By diligently thinking happy thoughts, you will restore your own happiness – a critical step to creating a happy relationship. You can only think of one thing at a time; and, if you are constantly focusing on stressful thoughts, you are creating unwanted stress in your life and relationship. Furthermore, stress is the cause of most health problems; so do yourself a favor and lighten-up!
3. Do the things you did to “win” your partner in the first place. Remember when you were trying to capture the attention and heart of your partner? Well, the game isn’t over until you’re dead. Keep working on “winning” your partner’s affections and your marriage will never lose that ever so important spark. It may take heroic efforts to save your relationship; if that’s what it takes, be a hero.
4. Keep it fresh and exciting. Falling into routines, or “ruts,” is the beginning of the end for most relationships. Keep learning about life and each other. Try new and different things with each other. Be adventurous. Go exploring. Don’t be a stick in the mud – play in the mud! Have fun together and your marriage will provide you with joy rather than stress. Don’t be afraid to be creative when it comes to building something special.
5. Spend time together. After a while, couples start avoiding each other because all they seem to do when they are together is argue, fight, or talk about stressful issues. Pay attention to the first four suggestions I offered you and spending time together will be a joy and a pleasure. Think back to the beginning of your relationship and how much you wanted to be together and spend time together – so much so, in fact, that you got married. You can have your own space and time; but, if you’re in a relationship, your partner should be your number one priority – and the person you spend the most time with. Start doing fun things together. Go for walks, spend time in nature, sit in a swing, go to a ball game or something else you both enjoy doing.
If you truly want to keep your marriage healthy and fun, do whatever you can to incorporate these suggestions into your life and marriage. In the beginning, you may have to make compromises; but that is a natural part of any relationship whether you like it or not. Learn to give, learn to compromise, and spend your time thinking about what’s really important to you. If you decide that your relationship is what is most important to you, start investing time and energy in your partner and your relationship and try these five suggestions for keeping the home fires burning.