February is right around the corner so it is a great time to learn more about investing in your marriage relationship.
"Investing time and attention in your closest relationships can be one of the most important things you will ever do," said relationship expert Dr. David Schramm with USU Extension. "Often, it is the little things that bring couples closer together - and while these may be little things, they take effort and mindful attention to make them happen."
Those little things with big impact are what Dr. Dave calls his four keys to closer relationships, and they are:
1) "Increase your gratitude. Findings from numerous research studies suggest that the most happy couples are those who regularly and intentionally express gratitude. From simple texts of gratitude, to notes, and verbal expressions of thanks for specific acts of love, effort, and service, find ways to let your sweetheart know you are grateful for him/her and what they do for you.
2) Make time to be more kind. One of the best ways to improve any relationship is to turn outward and serve your spouse/partner. From scraping off their snow-covered windshield to packing a lunch for your sweetheart, discover ways to improve your relationship by learning how your partner prefers to feel loved. For many, simple acts of kindness can boost feelings of closeness.
3) Improve your understanding, compassion, and empathy. Every couple will encounter struggles and challenges that can create hurt feelings and create icy distance between partners. Slowing things down and trying to see our partner`s perspective can create feelings of compassion and understanding.
4) Regular date nights. Couples who make time to go on regular dates report they are happier and feel closer to their partner compared to couples who date infrequently. It takes prioritizing and planning ahead, and even sacrifice and commitment to keep negativity from creeping into relationships. Doing things that bring you closer together is key. Avoid talking about children, money, or work when you are out together, and focus on each other, including your hopes and dreams."
Two marriage conferences are coming up in February and they make for great date nights.
The first one is the Northern Utah Marriage Celebration on Friday, February 7, 2020 at Weber State University. Bonus workshops run from 4 - 6: p.m. Then more workshops run from 6 - 8 p.m. with the keynote address by Doug Nielsen from 8:15 - 9:30 p.m. The cost is $40 per couple through January 26, 2020.
The second marriage conference is the Date Your Mate Salt Lake Marriage Celebration on Friday, February 28, 2020 at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. Workshops kick off at 6 p.m. with Dr. Liz Hale serving as the keynote speaker at 8:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 per couple through January 31, 2020.
Dr. Dave says, "These date nights with desserts are sure to be memorable as they are designed for those who want to prepare for or strengthen their marriage. Workshops and speakers are dynamic and entertaining, as well as educational. Topics include intimacy, communication, managing differences, handing finances, parenting, staying connected, and more!"
For more information and to purchase tickets to either conference, visit www.relationships.usu.edu.