*Written by: Paul Friedman with The Marriage Foundation.org

"The trend is your friend" is an old saying that applies to marriage as well as other pursuits in life. If your relationship is not moving in a decidedly positive direction, if you are not feeling more intimacy, more love, and more warmth for your spouse it is probably a good time to make a few little changes. After all, you have free will. So you might as well use your free will to make changes that will create happiness.

To revitalize your marriage relationship is relatively simple, especially in terms of how much you will get back for how little you will have to put in. But, first, you have to understand marriage is a "thing" that you can make better or worse with specific actions. Then, you can make your efforts line up with what you logically see as beneficial and avoid the detrimental behaviors. No sense making efforts that don't get you anywhere; right? You do have power.

Back to basics

If you consider the "socially normal" ideas about the origins of marriage, you will be very confused because it is thought to be a natural evolution from a form of slavery.

If you try to reconcile the higher, and truthful, ideals of marriage as a spiritual union (marriage is a spiritual union), with the worldly ideas of marriage as an essentially civil union, you will go around in circles.

The civil part of marriage is very important, because it sets the stage for the spiritual marriage. But the contract is not what marriage is about. Marriage is much greater. Marriage is about unconditional love.

Marriage is essentially a spiritual union between two souls. For this reason, all the efforts you make to revitalize your marriage should be made in that light. In other words, what you do should be positive, intentional efforts to expand your love.

3 habits that will revitalize your marriage

1. Curb your criticism

Criticism is the mind's way of protecting itself from threats that only appear to be threats to the subconscious mind. They are rarely valid. Your subconscious mind is on automatic. It calculates words or actions as threats without any input from "you", so you never know if your reactive criticisms are even accurate. The mind will react first and then it will come up with all the reasons for its reaction. But if you stop to analyze your reactions, you will find, more times than not, that your reactions are out of context. They are over-reactions. Do you see this? So your first reaction should be to stop your automatic criticisms. Play it safe. Don't voice it just because it is in your head, and don't accept it just because it is in your head. Curb your criticism.

2. Analyze your reactions

How often have you admitted to your spouse that you overreacted and you are a little sheepish? How much of your precious time did you waste in anger? Well, the truth is that's only the tip of the iceberg. When you get mad, and don't explode, you still have to deal with the anger in one way or another. All of that is wasted time. If you make it a habit to stop as soon as you feel even the least bit of anger (or a huge anger), you can analyze why your mind is reacting, and you can stop the negative domino effects before they begin.

3. Act only with love

Once you have stopped, then analyzed, the next step is to act with the wisdom you have. Wisdom always guides you to the solution that will bring harmony into your lives and harmony is the environment best suited for love.

We call the above the SEW method (it is in our marriage teachings) and it works very well.

S is for stop

E is for evaluate, or analyze, and

W is for wisdom. Always guide your speech, thoughts and actions with wisdom

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