A couple of things nudged my thinking about marriage and partnerships as a parent this week. I read an inspiring article in a magazine I tend to view as for older women than myself, which had reader’s perspectives on what makes a happy marriage or partnership. While my fellow mid 30s parents mourn the lack of some of the wildness and freedom of their twenties’ relationships, it was nice to read women in their 50s and 60s reflect that relationships grow into stronger friendships. It is easy to forget that.
Secondly, I am taking part in #tokensofaffection on Twitter a project in which a range of bloggers are documenting the little everyday things that glue a relationship together. It has been lovely to see how simple some of these tokens are, yet we don’t always recognise them until asked to take a photo of them. So I did a little looking round the internet and I bring you relationship glue:
Cups of Tea. A well timed cup of tea is the most wonderful token of affection. In the words of philosopher Bernard Paul Heroux:
There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea
Non verbal communication. Hugs, kisses, pats, smiles, eye brow raises, winks, strokes, ruffles. This silent stuff is far stronger relationship glue than people realise. Which sometimes lead on to:
Sex. I will never forget the first wedding I went to as a teenager, the vicar stood there and told the happy couple to have sex. Well, obviously he put it more delicately, but he said it god’s gift and crucial to a relationship. I’m not religious, but experts agree he has a point:
‘All the evidence points to the fact that an active sex life keeps couples together,’ says Dr Geoff Hackett, leading expert in sexual medicine and former chairman of the British Society for Sexual Medicine.
Team work. Trying to play on the same team and not against each other when it comes to the kids. Taking over when one team member is struggling. Taking on bathtime, bedtime, breakfast solo to give the other a break. Easier said than done, sometimes it would be far easier not to have to compromise with someone else’s parenting style. But in the words of Mark Twain:
To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.
Talking. One in four couples talk to their partner for less than 10 minutes a day. Two thirds would rather be on social media than talking to their partner according to research by Bingham’s.
However, actually talking about your relationship might make things worse according to Love and Stosny, the psychotherapists behind the book How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About it. While talking about feelings soothes women, it makes men physically uncomfortable, they begin to show their discomfort physically which is when women think they aren’t listening. So pick another topic and the rest may follow.
Gifts. They don’t have to be expensive and they don’t have to be for a reason, but little surprises are a lovely reminder of how important you are to each other.
Do you have any tips on relationship glue?