Excerpt from the article: How to Get More Pleasure Out of Your Marriage by Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.
— How Not To Inflict Pain —
• In general, monitor closely how you talk to your spouse and don’t let either one of you get away with saying anything that is hurtful or unkind. Point it out immediately. You should never accept any form of abusive treatment.
• Don’t speak disrespectfully. Don’t boss, give orders, make demands or be rude. Often we think because we had a bad day or because we are under a lot of pressure, that we are entitled to take it out on our spouses. Try to catch yourself the next time you feel like being abrupt or demanding remember to keep your mouth shut until you can speak nicely.
• Watch your tone of voice. If you speak to your spouse with irritation or annoyance in your voice, you are giving your spouse pain.
• Don’t criticize, put down, or ridicule. Never embarrass your spouse in public.
• If you must give your spouse some “constructive criticism” don’t do it on the spot, wait two days before you bring it up so that you can be sure to be saying it without anger or an edge in your voice.
• Watch your facial expressions. Looks can kill!
— How To Give Pleasure —
• What’s amazing is that so many spouses do not have a complete picture of what their spouse likes and doesn’t like. So sit down with your spouse and get a list of all the things that give him or her pleasure and do one of these things every day.
• Smile a lot at each other. You’d be amazed at how much pleasure you can give each other by being conscious to smile as much as possible.
• Before you say or do anything, ask yourself this question: “Will this bring us closer together or push us further apart? If it will bring you closer together, do it, if it will push you further apart, don’t do it.
• Always ask, “What can I do for you?” Look for ways to help each other. They are always there, if you open your mouth and ask you’ll be sure not to miss them.
• Have an honesty meeting once a month. Tell each other how the other is doing in both the pain and pleasure departments. The goal is to get feedback so you can improve upon your effort.