Alisa Bowman, in her new book, ''Project: Happily Ever After,'' offers advice and tips to other ''miserably-married'' couples who may be finding themselves at the point of no return, reports a major TV news channel.
1. Be adventurous in the bedroom. Most of us have learned how to have sex somewhat accidentally. As a result, we end up relying on a small number of techniques that we use over and over again. This, however, leads to sexual burnout. Pretend you are 16 again and that you know nothing about how to please a man or a woman. Learn everything you can, and ask your partner to do the same. Explore the art of the hand job. Find out more about oral sex. See if there are new positions you might want to try.
2. Look in the mirror. I initially thought that my husband was 100 percent to blame for our marriage problems. It wasn't until I took a good, hard, humbling look in the mirror that I was able to see that our problems originated with me. I'd failed time and time again to tell him what I wanted, what I was thinking, how I felt, and how his actions (or inactions) affected me. Once I started speaking up for myself, our marriage improved.
3. Drop the idea of fairness in favour of the idea of happiness. What it takes to improve a marriage isn't always fair. You might have to be the big person most of the time. You might have to make the first (or 100th) move to warm up your marriage, be more affectionate, or keep things civil.
4. Become a problem solver, not just voice it. Shift from complaining about what's wrong to doing something about it. Marital problems are no different from any other life problem. Attack them with an open mind.
5. Stop stockpiling old grievances. Fight about current issues. Forgive the old ones. Many people use the words "I can't" when talking about forgiveness, as in, "I can't bring myself to do it." But you probably can. Forgiveness is a decision. When you feel like you can't forgive, it's because you are holding onto the old hurt as if it were a precious jewel, and you are afraid to let it go.
6. Focus on foreplay, not on anti-play. Think of foreplay as everything that gets you warmed up about your spouse. It includes compliments, thank you'd, favours, hugs, physical intimacy, skin on skin contact, listening, and support. Think of Anti-Play as everything that turns you off: sarcasm, henpecking, ignoring, putting things off, slacking while you are hard at work, criticism, and more. The more your practice foreplay and the less you practice anti-play, the happier your marriage will become.
7. Communicate assertively, without blame. Don't brace for a fight. Just ask for what you need, and do it in as few sentences as possible. Do it as warmly as possible, too.
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