So I decided to take this Thanksgiving to talk about, you guessed it, being cool. I mean, isn’t that what every married person wants, to have swag everlasting? Sure it is because by “cool” and “swag,” I really mean “feeling satiated, excited, and energized about life with your partner.” That’s what married cool is all about.
See, this is what happens:
- Get engaged. Cool factor is high.
- Get married. Cool factor is even higher.
- Start life as a couple. Cool factor is off the charts.
- Get to know each other on a new level. Discover differences and shortcomings… and other things that just get under your skin. Cool factor wanes.
- Argue over some of those differences and shortcomings. Cool factor gets low.
- Ego gets the best of you. Stuck in your feelings. Cool factor gets dangerously low. Refill needed.
And if couples don’t get that refill, the cool runs out and divorce begins to look better and better. Ain’t nobody got time for that, so this is what you do to keep your cool reserves in good shape.
1. Be supportive—wildly, enthusiastically, almost insanely supportive
Your man shouldn’t have a bigger cheerleader than you (and vice versa). It’s your job to sing his praises, particularly when he isn’t able to do it himself. You know his strengths. You know where he excels and what moves his heart, but he may be scared to engage it. He may doubt himself or think he simply doesn’t have the time. Or maybe he’s pursing his dreams but is stuck and feeling frustrated. You’ve got to help him break through.
Reassure him that he stands much taller than his legs suggest, that his reach is much farther than his arms would have him believe. His real strength does not lie in his physical body. It’s in the seat of his soul, the fire of his mind, the steel of his heart. Don’t even let him forget that. And should he ever report otherwise, change his mind.
Understand though: he may not let on just how much he appreciates your overwhelming positivity. In fact, he might even act a little annoyed. It’s all a front. Why? It’s hard to express such deep gratitude without being reduced to a puddle of tears. It’s easier to play it down, but don’t be fooled. He lives for the energy you bring. He inhales it and is restored.
2. Reengage constantly
Of course you must engage, but you must also reengage, constantly. In a perfect world, a couple would engage and inertia would take over (objects in motion tend to stay in motion) but, in this world, this thing called gravity interferes. Work, stress, insecurity, misunderstanding, doubt, toxic inner voices, they all create a type of gravity that slowly pulls, slowly separates, slowly destroys. To fight this, we must reengage, reconnect. Dissolve the corrosion and start fresh.
How do you do that exactly? I thought you’d ask. (I’m a little bit psychic.) Steps 3 and 4 address the “how” or reengaging.
3. Seek out fun as if your life depended on it
First, let’s look at what it means to engage. It literally means “to please or attract, to occupy the attention or efforts of someone.” So, when you seek to reengage your husband, you’re really doing two things: 1.) seeking to attract him by making your presence pleasant; and 2.) seeking to occupy his heart and mind by increasing the emotional connection.
Is there any better way to do that than to have fun together? Creating shared enjoyable experiences strengthens bonds and activates romantic love, you know, that stuff that can go dormant if you don’t stay on top of it. Couples who have fun together like each other more. Couples who like each other more get over disagreements sooner and have an easier time seeing the good in each other.
4. Check in regularly
The second part of reengagement is to check in. The frequency and intensity of the check-ins is up to you, but what’s important is that you both take the time to see that the other is in a good space—physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally.
The check-ins don’t always have to be about the relationship. When one of you is off, the relationship takes a hit, so it is necessary to think holistically. It could be that the issue is personal and has nothing to do with the marriage directly, but the affects can still be felt in your home. Make it a point to be present and aware. Know what it looks like when your husband is struggling through something. That makes it easier to support him through it.
5. Push back, lovingly
We all have weakness, and those weaknesses rear their ugly heads in our relationships. When you see a weakness taking hold, address it with love. This isn’t about “putting him in his place” or challenging his manhood. It’s about giving him the push he needs to rise up and out. When couples are able to provide constructive criticism, the relationship is challenged, but it is also strengthened.
Remember, you don’t build new muscle pushing light weights. Trust that applied pressure will only produce a diamond.