Hello again! Today I have been thinking about how my husband D and I have been married for over 7 years now (time really flies) and all of the ups and downs we have had over those years, and the ways we have kept our marriage strong. So today I thought I would share with you a list of 7 tips for a stronger marriage, because we’ve been married 7 years, get it? Yeah, I’m corny like that!
Anyway, I thought this would be a good post to share, because although I am not a 50 year veteran of marriage, neither am I a newly-wed. (Now, being as my husband and I don’t have kids (yet) I will avoid sharing advice on that topic since I haven’t gone through child-rearing yet!) These are not necessarily in order of importance, as they are all important to a healthy marriage! I am speaking from the perspective of a Christian, so please keep that in mind as you read! I’m not trying to preach, just sharing what works in my marriage.
1. Always kiss your spouse hello and goodbye. This is first tip of 7 tips for a stronger marriage and I give this one as my first piece of advice. It is both a simple and hard thing, all at the same time! Sometimes you will be mad at your spouse or stressed out and you DON’T want to kiss them hello/good-bye, but this small act of refusing to give to them (just a kiss!) can start to plant a seed of selfishness in your heart. If you start to refuse on a continual basis, and it may bleed over into other things that you sudden don’t want to do for your beloved. I have had this happen to me, and personally it is best to stamp out the seed of selfishness when it tries to take hold rather than have to do a lot of heart weeding (as I call it) later on! Of course if you are abstaining from kissing because you have a cold sore or one of you is sick, then that’s a different story! I’m talking about refusing to kiss them because you are mad, etc. at them. Being married is a partnership and is more often about giving first and (hopefully) receiving later on.
2. Make time to listen to your spouse every day. Similar to #1, you want to make time to listen to each other. Try to listen to your spouse when they need to talk to you, and of course it is fair to ask the same from them! Just try to listen first and then ask them for a few minutes to bend their ear as well! And of course actually LISTEN when they are talking to you, as this is about being a good listener and not just, “Yeah ok, whatever honey. Now let’s move on to what I want to say”. I am guilty of doing this (honestly, who isn’t?) and am trying to focus on what my husband is try to share with me first, and not just what I want to tell him. This step alone will help your relationship so much! How often do we make the time to actually HEAR our spouse? We committed ourselves to sharing our lives, and we just “sorta, kinda” listen to each other? How is that an appropriate way to treat a life partner? It’s not! And I am trying to amend my ways to have a stronger marriage!
3. Pray with your spouse every day! This one is super important for couples who are faith based! As a Christian couple, we find it draws us closer together in our relationship with each other when we pray together. We each pray and spend time with God on our own, but making time to mutually talk to God helps us to stay on the same spiritual path, as well as the same life path in general. Listening to your spouse as they pray out loud also gives insight into what they are worried about and what they are excited about in their day to day life. So in a way, praying together also strengthens your communication with each other as you stand before God.
4. Learn about your spouse’s love language and learn to speak it. Understanding your spouse’s love language is a huge insight into how to make them feel loved in their day to day life with you. There are five main love languages: words of affirmation, physical touch, giving of gifts, acts of service, and quality time and learning to speak your spouse’s love language is very important! My husband’s main love language is physical touch (as it is for many men) but that isn’t just referring to bedroom intimacy, it also refers to hugs, kisses, holding hands, etc. For me my main love language is quality time, with word of affirmation (encouragement/praise) as a close second. My husband knows that spending time together is the best way to help me feel loved, so we plan regular walks together, day trips, spending time with our dog, and just talking over coffee or tea. Seriously check out “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman if you haven’t already, as it is a fantastic book for couples (he also has books on understanding the love languages of your children as well).
5. Do chores or tasks for your spouse that they may have forgotten to do or that they dislike doing. This one is huge if your spouse is someone who feels loved via “acts of service” (basically doing chores, errands, etc. for them makes them feel loved). My husband still greatly appreciates acts of service from me, and I appreciate it from him as well, even if you or your spouse don’t have “acts of service” as their love language (or yours) there is no doubt that they will appreciate that you did something for them that was boring or annoying, so that they would have time to do other things and not worry about that task.
6. Surprise your spouse with a special gift or food item that you know they really like. This doesn’t have to be a big gift or food item, just something as simple as buying their favorite beverage at the store (before they have asked for it), so when they get home and open the fridge it will be there waiting for them. Or something as simple as buying your spouse a gift card favorite store or buying a thing off of their Amazon wish-list and surprising them with a package for them! I do simple things like getting a candy bar for my husband and leaving it on his desk to find, or buying a video game off of his Steam wish-list (Steam is an online gaming site) and having it show up on his account.
Those things tickle him greatly. You could also use this idea to spice up your bedroom with new sheets and candles, etc. or save up and plan an overnight somewhere fun! The budget can be as big or small as you can afford, and if you want to be creative and write a poem, a song, make art, etc. for your spouse (and you know they will like it) then that is also a totally awesome idea! My husband is an artist and has done drawings and made poems that are awesome (he is talented), so if you are gifted a certain way (even cooking a fantastic dinner that your spouse loves) then use that talent as part of to their your gift!
7. Make time to argue in a fair way and without hurtful words. Yes, the last of my 7 tips for a stronger marriage is that I am actually encouraging you to argue with your spouse! I do argue with my husband, but we try to avoid letting it get too heated or mean spirited by using words carefully. We try to use the, “I feel bad because of XYZ that you said” kind of phrases instead of laying blame with, “You are bad, it’s all your fault, apologize now.” We slowly and gently try to work things out and try to avoid name calling or “you always/you never” kind of talk. This has greatly helped us to avoid heated arguments (which are very few) and have productive discussions/arguments that resolve quickly and without words that cannot be taken back.
Well, that is my list of 7 tips for a stronger marriage and I hope you have found some useful and encouraging tips for your own relationship! Do you have any tips or suggestions for me that you want to share? Please comment below and let me know about it!
Hope to see you later and have a blessed week!