Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

5 Ways to Encourage your Spouse

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.

Photo credit: Creative Commons

Photo credit: Creative Commons


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?


  1. Wow, what a coincidence you are writing about this:) Mark and I have been creating a “list” of how we can grow together and things we want to do to become a better couple. Really working in this! I’d also like to do a marriage and parenting conference along with starting a devotional journal together that concentrates on marriage. Love this, thanks for sharing and motivating!:)

  2. this is great, thanks for sharing! I would add that its important to “unplug” all electronic devices after a certain time of day. Its TOO easy to be in midst of conversation and be distracted by a phone ringing or the constant “ding” of receiving a new email or text message.

  3. This is why I read your blog!! These are the most simple things but they make the biggets defference!! THANK YOU for the reminder!!

  4. This a great article. Very well written, and insightful.

  5. Date nights are so important. I have learned it’s not the amount the spend but the quality time together that matters. Great points!

  6. These are all so spot on, Tammy. When we first had children, we tried to get into the habit of “couch time or talk time”. We tried to spend 15 minutes a day, face to face in conversation and not allow the kids to interrupt. We told them it was mommy and daddy’s talk time and instructed them to occupy themselves. When they came to us with non-emergencies, we’d stop them and let them know we’d be available in a few minutes. As the stay at home mom, I think that told my husband he was still important and that the kids hadn’t taken over the joint. The kids resisted but got used to it and it showed them Mom and Dad were together. Especially if we had to discuss one of them!

  7. Sound advice, Tammy, clearly delivered. I’m on the Red Hot Matrimony Blog Hop, too.

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