How is your marriage?
Are things going great?
Or have you had better days?
For many years, my marriage needed work. We were both in denial, but it was dull, and flat and ordinary. We weren’t working at it. We were just existing. We were both busy living separate lives together.
I’ve talked with several people lately who are feeling this way. It can be lonely, and exhausting, and hurtful.
One thing that really worked for me was to realize that my spouse needed encouragement from me. He didn’t need me being irritated and frustrated and angry. We were both already feeling that way too much. When I came to to the realization that there were things I could do right away, it changed everything. Sometimes, you need to be the one to make the first effort.
This list is just a start. It won’t work for everyone. And it might not be easy at first. But you’ll never know until you try.
1. Pay attention
We think this is easy. But it often isn’t. We’re busy. Work. Life. Kids. Responsibilities. How often do you just pass each other without really talking? Pay attention to the cues and signals. Pay attention to them when they are talking. Spend time together. Sometimes this step can dramatically improve your relationship.
2. Compliment them authentically
Is your husband awesome at fixing things? Does he make the kids light up when he enters the room? Find it and compliment him. Tell him how much you appreciate what he does for your family. Catch him doing something great and be thankful.
3. Notice what makes them happy
Encourage them to do it. Let them know it’s okay. There’s a balancing act there, but your spouse could be waiting for permission. Many times, my husband thought I was irritated when he wanted to do something he liked. I didn’t realize how happy it made him to be able to do simple things. Those little things make a big difference sometimes.
4. Date night
For us, this is something we aren’t always great at. But when we are, I can tell a difference. I know this can be tough if money is tight, and it definitely takes planning if you have kids. It is worth it to spend time alone together!
5. Watch your words and tone
What we say and how we say it makes a difference. We all know this, but aren’t always great at it. This one makes suchan impact.
What did I miss? What would you add to the list? What has worked for you?