How to Have a Better Marriage by Nurturing a Positive Relationship

by Gideon Hanekom
March 12, 2022

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It is critical to cultivate a positive relationship before attempting to improve a marriage, and in this post, we will examine five ways to cultivate a positive relationship in order to create a better marriage.

But first, why is it necessary to cultivate a positive relationship in order to have a better marriage?

Simply put, some research suggests that the emotional state of a marriage, i.e. how it feels being in a relationship, has a significant impact on its long-term success.

According to Bloch et al. (2013), a primitive, survival-oriented mode of interaction is often observed in couples when they are confronted with negative emotional events (e.g., anger resulting from disagreements, disappointments, and perceived betrayals).

For example, wives often engage in a nonproductive cycle of demand-withdraw behaviours in which they repeatedly attempt to justify their own behaviour, criticise the other spouse harshly and contemptuously (cf. Gottman, 1994), make broad, negative attributions (cf. Bradbury & Fincham, 1990), and engage in harsh, contemptuous criticism (cf. Christensen, 1988).

In the long run, none of these will have a positive impact on a relationship and will cause a marriage to fail.

Of course, nurturing a positive relationship can entail a variety of activities such as spending time together, communicating effectively, and making each other a priority.

It is also critical to be considerate of your partner’s needs and feelings.

Finally, if you work together to establish a strong, positive relationship, your marriage will be much happier and more fulfilling.

better marriage

Before we look at five specific ways to cultivate a positive relationship in order to have a better marriage, you must first ask yourself if you want to cultivate a positive relationship with your partner and help it grow stronger.

To be honest, no matter what you think, it will always be difficult to create a better marriage unless you have a strong desire to make the necessary changes to create a more positive environment in your relationship.

At the end of the day, having a positive relationship requires effort from both of you, and you can even start without waiting for your spouse, but you must have the desire to do so.

Moreover, your partner will undoubtedly appreciate the benefits, welcome the change, and will most likely eventually reciprocate by following your lead.

how to have a better marriage with five important strategies

As said before, it is critical to cultivate a positive relationship in order to have a better marriage.

Of course, this can mean a variety of things, such as spending more (or less) time together, communicating effectively, and making each other a priority.

We’ll look at five specific ways to create a more positive relationship in this section because I’ve learned that these are fundamental building blocks for laying a solid foundation for a positive experience in your relationship and creating a better marriage.

In my experience, when a couple is struggling, one or more of these are often lacking.

Give your absolute best effort

I have learned that when it comes to most things you want to succeed in, especially romantic relationships and creating a better marriage, this one is non-negotiable.

If you want to build a relationship that is positive, passionate, and long-lasting, you must give your all.

This is one of the most important factors in achieving success in not only creating a better marriage but in life in general.

When it comes to giving in a relationship and creating a marriage environment that you are proud of, enjoy, and will last the test of time, there is no “50/50.”

Listen to me as a married man with a beautiful wife: if it’s going to work, you have to give freely of yourself.

better marriage

And keep the golden rule in mind when your goal is a better marriage.

When you fully give of yourself, the other person will notice your effort and will almost certainly begin to reciprocate with the same type of behaviour.

But, of course, the inverse is also true.

If you act or behave in a way that is harmful to your relationship, your partner will most likely become defensive and solely concerned with self-preservation, which in the long run predicts nothing good for the overall quality, state, and longevity of your marriage.

Giving your all is unavoidable, and you can begin by concentrating on loving your partner in both good and bad times.

Concentrate on loving your partner

When it comes to cultivating a positive relationship, your primary focus should be on simply loving your partner.

In layman’s terms, this means expressing your love through your words and actions, in everything you say and do.

When it comes to relationships, the adage “actions speak louder than words” is unquestionably true.

Your partner, on the other hand, still wants to hear you say, “I love you.”

This includes being generous with praise and compliments, as well as saying what you mean.

If you want to improve your marriage, you must use both actions and words.

And, while we’re on the subject, try not to focus on your partner or what they’re doing.

Instead, concentrate on what you’re doing and how you’re showing them love, kindness, patience, praise, and affection.

That is all you need to concentrate on.

Your own words and actions set the tone and pace of your relationship and is ultimately one of the biggest determinants of a better marriage or not.

Because, as the late Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Those words, I believe, also apply to marriage – be the type of person you want to marry.

And please, no more self-delusion.

If the way you’re acting, behaving, and speaking in your marriage right now is causing division, hurt, conflict, or turmoil, it’s safe to say it’s not working, and you should reconsider your approach and look for ways to change your input to the situation to create a better marriage.

Make use of charitable acts

Make no mistake about it: the things you do for your partner matter in your relationship.

But so, too, do the things you don’t do.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is that how we make people feel, especially our loved ones, ultimately determines how they feel about us and how they behave towards us.

If you want to know how you’re making your spouse or children feel right now, start with the current results in your family or marriage and work backwards.

When we are honest with ourselves, we usually discover or realise that we have a significant role to play in the current outcomes.

Because my wife does not feel good about herself or about being around me as a result of my behaviour or words, that is on me, no matter how much I argue against it or how many other people I persuade of my side of the story.

The crux of the matter is that if my family feels worse when they are around me, they will eventually avoid me or seek ways to avoid my influence.

And, once again, it’s not their fault; it’s mine.

better marriage

Now, returning to creating a better marriage by neutering a positive environment in our relationship, begin performing charitable acts of service for your spouse simply because you want to.

Remember that your actions are more important than your words, so use them to help build a naturally positive relationship.

But, at the same time, you cannot allow your tongue to be free to criticise and slander your loved ones simply because you are doing good.

Your words and actions must always be balanced because one can undo the good that the other does.

That brings us to the next fundamental thing you can do to improve your marriage…

Respect your partner

This one is self-explanatory, but it never hurts to be reminded.

Always, and I mean always, respect your partner in every way if you want to have a long-lasting and positive relationship with them.

Respect is an important, if not the most important, component of any relationship.

Respect your spouse not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

In my experience, if you get this one wrong, no matter how much “good” you do in your marriage, it will eventually undermine everything and, in the end, the marriage itself.


cultivate a strong friendship

Couples who have been together for a long time frequently overlook this one.

It is very easy to become so focused on your own staff, such as hobbies or interests, that you may neglect to invest in maintaining a strong friendship with your spouse. Every relationship, including friendships, necessitates constant nurturing; our marriages are no exception.

Finally, your romantic relationship must have the stability and deep roots that come from a strong friendship.

better marriage

Your relationship becomes stronger and more lasting when it is founded on a meaningful friendship.

When you work hard to build a strong friendship, you can be confident that your relationship will be able to withstand whatever life throws at you in the future.

Many people, ironically, treat their friends better than they do their spouses.

That is a mistake.

If you treat your coworkers or friends better than you treat your spouse, you are setting yourself up for a big fall.

The most important takeaway

If you want to improve your marriage by developing a stronger bond with your spouse, think about what you want from your partner.

If you give those things to your spouse, you’ll almost always find the answers you’re looking for about how to create a nurturing positive relationship.

I believe that implementing these five steps can have a positive impact on any relationship, but you must do so consistently and over time.

You’ll notice a stronger, more positive bond blossoming before your eyes once you start taking care of your relationship and making a conscious effort to improve it.

About the author 

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a renowned relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website shares valuable insights on creating healthy relationships life. Gideon holds a Master's degree in theological studies and transitioned into professional counseling more than a decade ago. In addition, he since completed post-graduate studies in Psychology at Massey University. With over seventeen years of marriage to his wife and two children, Gideon brings both professional and personal experience to his relationship advice. His articles have been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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