36: Date your Mate! Make Emotional Deposits, not Withdrawals

Dr. Randy Schroeder is a pastor, couples’ counselor and family therapist. He is also author of a new book Simple Habits for Marital Happiness: Practical Skills and Tools that Build a Strong, Satisfying Relationship. Why do 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and 70 percent of married couples say they are unhappy? Tune in to hear tips from Dr. Randy!

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Here’s what you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • A lot of couples are struggling in the midst of social distancing and quarantining. Laying out expectations at the beginning of the day can make a significant difference in keeping us connected to our spouses. What do you want and need? Unknown expectations lead to hurt and disappointment, heartache and heartburn.
  • During this crisis, talk about good times. Watch a comedy show or movie and share your thoughts.
  •  This time will yield a lot of lessons relationship-wise and individually. Setbacks are the best route to success. Be enthusiastic about life and in setting specific goals.
  • Date your mate. Make it fun and enjoyable and filled with deposits, not withdrawals. Take turns creating the date, taking care of all the responsibilities involved. Pick a date your spouse will love. Fly a kite, go fishing, eat Chinese food. One couple put a mattress in the back of a pickup truck, drove into the country and looked at the stars. Think outside the box!
  • We are going to learn from this pandemic. Let this setback be a route to success. Great people bounce back and never give up. Live for today. Make a masterpiece of today.
  • On their wedding day, brides and grooms are confident they’re going to have a loving, happy marriage. But they don’t realize marriage is a journey, not a destination. Once some people put their name on the marriage license, they believe their job is done, that they can stop growing and improving as a spouse. They stop valuing their partner and making them feel special.
  • Overcome complacency and never take your spouse for granted. Be a boyfriend and girlfriend throughout your married life together. You’ve got to keep working at it. It’s a privilege.
  • Compliment your romantic partner. Have humor and avoid sarcasm, which hurts relationships in a heartbeat. When we’re together all the time, it’s easy to be sarcastic. Do things daily in sevens to complete your relationships. Smile at your spouse seven times today, give seven kisses and hugs. Talk for seven minutes with the cell phone, television and radio off.
  • Don’t expect perfection. Give each other grace and mercy. Aim to improve 1 percent a week as a spouse and a couple. Practice creating good habits like apologizing and forgiving. Most people don’t do this well.
  • Without forgiveness, it’s impossible to have lifelong, satisfying relationships. What glues relationships together is being able to apologize to each other, forgive each other and leave the past in the past. Failing to forgive puts a wedge into the relationship. Say, “I’m sorry I hurt you. Will you please forgive me?”
  • Bitterness builds up when there’s not apologizing or forgiving and that leads to an emotional disconnect, and sometimes to divorce. If issues are not resolved, it builds bitterness in the heart.
  • When you have a disagreement, discuss your differing opinions and keep mutual respect for their opinion. We don’t want to go to war in our marriages, but most couples do because of a lack of knowledge and skills and because they lack disagreement guidelines.
  • In the empty nest, focus on time together, talking and touch. Marriage is a love bank account with deposits and withdrawals. When those deposits are going more into the kids than the marriage, it leads to a low bank account and can cause bankruptcy—or divorce. After years of caring for the kids, your deposits are down. When the kids are home, the best a marriage can be is a B minus because the focus is on children.
  • Don’t destroy the positive impact of a date by bringing up a big issue, or making a huge withdrawal, on the way home.
  • Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. Live one day at a time and be enthusiastic about living this day. Be a giver, not a taker.