There are four A's that are suggested for all marriages: appreciation, apology, attention and affection. Read on to see how they can benefit your relationship:
Appreciation. Many times, spouses can become very focused on the negative behaviors of their partners, get caught up on things their spouses don't do or lose sight of what the other person is doing right. Appreciation means saying, "thank you" when your spouse does something kind or considerate. Additionally, it means stating your appreciation when your spouse does something you think they should have been doing for a while or something you think is just common courtesy. It could be something like your husband bringing your flowers or your wife letting you choose the radio station in the car. Appreciation is most effective when it's specific; for instance, "I really appreciate when you put your dirty clothes in the hamper." You can give your thanks face-to-face, on the phone, via text, email or note. It's important to remember to recognize, and comment on, the things your spouse does "right" as opposed to just focusing on, or complaining about, the things he/she does wrong."
Apologies. It seems simple to say you're sorry for something you did or said that was hurtful, but a lot of times, it's easier said than done. Your apologies have to be genuine. If you apologize for a specific behavior but keep engaging in the behavior constantly, your apology means nothing. Apologies are more effective when your partner feels you really understand you made a mistake and that you'll really do your best to not let something similar happen again. Additionally, when you're apologizing, say you're sorry, specify the behavior you are apologizing for and humbly state you know you were wrong and hope the other person will forgive you. It might also be useful to state that you know your words/actions were insensitive or upsetting so your partner realizes you are attempting to be in tune with how he/she is feeling.
Attention. Paying attentioon means being conscious and observant in your marriage. It means really "showing up," not just phoning in your participation or physically being there while being somewhere else mentally. It also means your spouse gets chunks of your time and energy during the day, such as noticing what he has on and being interested in her day. Additionally, paying attention also means looking at your spouse when he's talking to you, remember anniversaries, birthdays and other important dates. You should also make time to focus on your spouse and your relationship; you could go to dinner or just spend time really talking. Remember, paying attention to your spouse can't only happen during designated times; it also has to be done in small ways daily.
Affection. This means touch, not just sex. It means small acts of physical contact throughout the day like touching his shoulder or holding her hand in the car or just giving him a hug. It's essential that touch be given at other times besides in the bedroom; touch is a way of connecting with your spouse and doesn't have an ulterior motive. It's friendly, supportive and helps your partner feel close to you.
By using these four A's, you'll be lessening or even preventing many difficulties that come with marriage. The four A's make the good times more enjoyable and the difficult times easier to get through.