The Best Marriage Advice I’ve Ever Read for a Healthy Relationship | Part 2

I’m so glad you decided to keep reading!

If you’re lost, that’s because you need to start at The Beginning of this series. You can pick up right here once you’ve read the previous post!

So let’s dive into the next Best Marriage Tip I Ever Read!

Again, you’ll have to keep an open mind as you read these suggestions and understand something very important.

Change isn’t easy. 

This one is all about YOU. Well…about you initiating change really.

Remember how I said I had a very difficult time believing and accepting some of the things I read almost eleven years ago? Yeah well, following this next tip might seem challenging at first for you too, but trust me, it has made all the difference in my relationship and I know it could help yours!

Let me go ahead and share with you that one piece of advice that made me throw the book down. Literally.

Brace yourself!

how to get what you need from your partner

You Have to Treat Your Partner Better, First

What that means is, if you want to hear words of appreciation more often or receive more physical affection or just be treated better in any way, you must be the one to give that to your partner. Every day. And the real kicker is that at first you have to do it without telling them what you’re doing.

That’s right, you aren’t going to say, “Hey, I have been telling you that I want you to give me more affection, but now I’m going to give it to you instead.”

Now when I read this piece of advice I was wanting my then-boyfriend to make me feel more secure by complimenting me more in any way. You probably know what the 5 love languages are. Well, my love language is words of affirmation so I wanted my boyfriend to recognize, and verbalize, why he thought I was great.

I remember those insecure feelings so well! I needed more from him than I was getting, but didn’t want to sound like a needy girlfriend, begging for reassurance. We had already had a few arguments on the issue as well. And what was the result of me crying, trying to explain I needed more from him? Usually a still very confused boyfriend! Yet I knew that if things didn’t change I was not going to be happy in this relationship and it wouldn’tast!

So when I read that I needed to give him what I needed first, instead of requesting it of him more, I really didn’t get it. Actually, I thought it sounded stupid and meaningless and I wasn’t doing that. Again! The book was slammed shut and ignored for a few days.

And then, a few days later, I was curious so I read further…

The author asked something like, Does your partner not deserve the same thing you desire? Well, yes he does, I remember saying to myself.

That finally made me start thinking less about how to make him listen to what I want and more about him. He was great, no doubt about it. So I thought, Ok, sure, it wouldn’t hurt to tell him how much I appreciate him and how great I think he is.

But then I kept coming back to-where do my needs come into play? How in the world is this going to make me feel more secure? How is filling up his love tank going to fill up mine? Especially since his love language is totally different from mine! That’s not really how it works! Argh! I remember feeling annoyed as I tried to see this making sense.

The author finally started answering my doubts when she explained that when you make your partner feel good, they are naturally inclined, out of love, to want to make you feel the same. Typically in the same way you are doing. That’s why she (I think the author was a she!) suggested doing the thing it is you feel like you need the most.

How to make my partner more appreciative

She went into a little bit more detail about the psychology of why your partner will want to reciprocate the kindness and thoughtfulness you show them, but of course, I don’t remember the details. So, as I wrote this, I tried to find something…

This article briefly explains the inherit rule of reciprocity we have as humans, which is even stronger for those we love! The theory is simply that if we do something nice for our partner (or anyone), they will naturally want to return the favor.

Still, I wasn’t so sure this technique would work on my boyfriend, though. He’s very…manly and although he has a sensitive side, I wasn’t sure this would work for me. And I also thought it sounded perhaps a little kiss-ass or worse, trickery. Like, I am intentionally trying to trick my boyfriend into being nicer and more appreciative to me, by what? By suddenly being super nice to him? It sounded unnatural and fake. So I didn’t do it at first.

But, of course…when I did follow through with that advice, it immediately worked!

Let me back up though, because it took me a few days to come to terms with the suggestion and I really didn’t want to fake my niceness. Fortunately, something about the author’s reasoning for this piece of advice stuck with me though. For days.

The more I thought about it, the more I understood why it would work, or at the very least, not hurt us. I realized I’d be giving my partner the securities I wanted. The thought that I could give that to him made me feel important, like it’s my duty (wrong word?) to try to make him feel secure. That alone was enough for me to say Ok, I’ll try it!

I knew that I genuinely did appreciate the things he did for me and I was ready to take some extra steps to show it!

I followed the instructions, which were specific yet simple. The goal, as the author explained, is to compliment your partner for one thing every day. That’s it! (You’ll probably need a little help to get started, though. I’ll describe two steps to doing this in detail in a moment.)

It helped to write down the things I wanted to say, what I loved about Jake and why I appreciated him. But eventually, the compliments came out spontaneously and naturally!

And it felt good to tell him those things! I really tried to say at least one thing every day, (as the author suggested when you’re offering something that you actually want), to show him how much I appreciated him.

It would be just after eating dinner and he’s taking the plates to the sink, I’d say, “Thank you so much for always washing the dishes after we eat. I know you say its only fair since I cooked, but I really really think its so sweet of you.” He’d shrug it off, and say something like “You cooked while I relaxed, now you relax”, but I could tell hearing words of appreciation made him feel good and to this day he frequently does dishes after we eat a meal I cook. And I still thank him every time.

Another example of how I followed that advice was I would point out things about Jake’s personality that I genuinely liked a lot. I’d tell him that I haven’t ever met a man so considerate (he’s way more considerate than I am) or that he looks really good in a particular pair of blue jeans. I really focused on complimenting him every single day.

I’ve always thought of myself as a nice person, but this made me feel so good about myself! I could see the pride I was giving him by doing this one little thing every day.

It Did Work, Fast!

It was almost immediate that he started reciprocating the kind words and compliments. Within days. Like after I’d tell him how good he looked in an outfit, he’d beam for a second and then say something like, “If you could only see what I see when I look at you though!” Or he’d out of the blue tell me something about myself that he liked. Like, in mid conversation I remember him telling me, “I wish I was as patient as you are. I wish I could think before I speak like you do. That takes so much self control!” It was exactly the kind of genuine, natural compliments and recognitions that I wanted! They became more specific and more frequent as time went on!

And then not long after that, he was bragging about me in front of people and I was absolutely smitten for him all over again at that point! He really took this thing to the next level! And guess what-I reciprocated!

It was a miracle! And I’m not lying, this is really how it happened! We weren’t those people before either. I mean sure we’d tell each other occasionally that we appreciated each other, but we didn’t do all we could to fill up each other’s tank, as they say. And I think maybe my own pride prevented me from bragging about him to other people prior to all of this. Can you recall pointing out your partner’s best traits in front of friends recently?

All things family and baby-Jake and Melanie

This one act of love brought Jake and I so far in our relationship.  I think the simplicity of it is why we’ve kept doing. Now, the strength the relationship has, even on our busiest days when we barely see each other, is proof this is so powerful! We have kids now too, so there’s a lot less time for intimacy and long talks in the quiet so sometimes this is all we have to remain connected. (Among other things which will be revealed in another post!)

Of course, we go periods of not complimenting one another. And we both start drowning in insecurities again, drifting apart.  But then we catch on to the fact that our busy life has distracted us and we pick right back up with it.

See? It’s not kissing ass or trickery after all! It’s simply about making the extra effort–which is actually effortless–to keep each other lifted up and build those securities.

I did eventually tell Jake that we owe credit to one of those relationship books for this one too. And I’ll always be grateful that I took the time to read the books and follow through, for my relationship’s sake.

So if you need to hear kind words from your partner or you need him or her to tell you that they see what you do for them more often, I strongly encourage you to swallow your pride and give exactly that to them. It certainly won’t hurt them and it’s much nicer than ultimatums, nagging and fighting!

Healthy relationship advice

How To Love Him and Treat Him Better First

I know I used the pronoun ‘Him’ here, but really it should say your partner. It’s easier for me to explain this from my perspective though, so just fill in those spots as it relates to you!

Now I’m going to tell you how to put this piece of advice into action. It’s all about treating your partner better, really. Whatever it is you feel like you need, you will be giving that to them instead.

As I mentioned, for me it started from the need to hear words of affirmation and approval. So that’s what I’m going to offer you guidance on here. You can still apply the same concept to any of the other “love languages” you’d like! Or whatever it is you feel you need from your partner. Just remember to give that to them daily.

So…it can really be broken down into two steps, just like in the previous post.

1. The first step is to really take some time to think about your partner. Sit down with a pen or open up the notepad in your phone and make a list of all his or her attributes that make your heart smile. The list in the head isn’t enough. You must write it somewhere.

Be specific and deep. You may have to think hard at first, and that’s okay. We are so preoccupied with what we are doing and how we are feeling and what we are wanting in life, that when you stop to think about why your partner is so great, it’s like  you’re changing your entire view of the world. For me it was like this, anyway. Was I just super selfish? I’m beginning to think so!

But once you get started, you should find that the list could keep on growing and it’s all the little things that make you love the person you’ve chosen to be with!

2. The next step is to keep that list close by with the intention of mentioning every single trait on it out loud in a complimentary, flattering, even admiring way to your partner. You’ll try to compliment your partner on one thing every day. Not too hard, right?

Try to be as timely as you can. Catch your partner in the act of doing something on your list and verbally recognize and commend them for it. Remember, you’re reaffirming to your partner that you appreciate who they are. You are verbalizing your satisfaction with them and you’re making them feel wanted, respected and adored in their relationship! How amazing are you!? And you will feel it!

Then, 2 things will happen.

First, you’ll realize it feels so wonderful to give that kindness to the person you love the most. And you’ll continue doing it, naturally and more frequently because it makes you feel good too.

And second, your partner will want to show you how great it feels to hear those kind words too. Without you asking! (Just watch, its miraculous.)

So much good will blossom in your relationship from this kind of positive affirmation you’ll be experiencing and giving. It’s like a detox from the negative thoughts, emotions and resentment that creep up in any marriage. So go ahead, cleanse your relationship!

But remember, for this to be a truly selfless act, which it must be, you cannot tell your partner you are going to do it. Not only will telling them beforehand cheapen your compliments, but it also reveals unnecessary pressure and a seemingly alterior motive!

With troubled marriages this won’t be an overnight fix, but within days you’ll notice changes, not only in your partner’s behavior but in the way you feel as well. You could even build on this method, giving other “love language” fuel if you know your partner’s preferred language. The more you can fill their tank, the better! Of course, you could try a little extra to regain some chemistry if the space between you still seems large. One awesome idea is couples massage. Except, instead of paying someone to touch your man (and you), try something a little more spicy! This course teaches you to do intimate massage on each other! 

I hope you find excitement in knowing YOU can initiate the changes needed to get what YOU need in your relationship. Lifting your partner up in the process, making them feel more loved and wanted. I thought this marriage tip was too good not to share! Don’t you? So share away!

To be notified when the next post in this series is published, find the subscription link below! Don’t forget to pin this post as a reminder of ways to say I love you every day.

Have you tried the marriage tips you’ve read here? I’d love to hear about it! Leave your comments below or email me at melanie@allthingsfamilyandbaby.com

Good luck!

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