Let me begin by saying that this list is compiled off my own beliefs and experiences of my fourteen year marriage. I am not a licensed therapist or counselor or any kind of a doctor, just a woman who happens to have an opinion. This list is full of simple things that add up to a big difference.
1 never go to bed angry
This piece of advice was given to me at my wedding by a longtime family friend, Preston Hester. Little did I know then how valuable this advice would be. We all get angry at times, but talk it out or let it go before you go to bed (because sometimes we get angry and it really doesn’t make sense). Sleeping when you are angry isn’t good for anybody.
2 spend at least five minutes a day talking to each other
You chose this person as your life mate, so simply remember to talk to them. Ask how their day was and listen to what they have to say. I don’t mean sit in the same room while you are on your computer/phone/tablet/any other distraction; I mean real face to face chat time. If one of you is traveling, take five minutes for a quick phone chat. Life moves fast, and we are a society where most everyone works, kids are busy, and we need our social media time. It is so easy to forget to talk to your spouse, but don’t let yourself, make it a priority.
3 random acts of kindness
It’s great to do random acts of kindness for strangers, but what about the people closest to you? It is so easy to forget that they need encouragement too. This can be easy like getting flowers, candy, or ordering their favorite menu item to go from the restaurant you went to with your friends. Or free like writing a little note of encouragement and sticking it in their briefcase or lunch bag, post it notes of love on the mirror in the morning or maybe an unexpected back rub (but please don’t scare your partner, that’s counterproductive.) These little surprises simply increase general happiness.
4 don't forget the holidays
In our crazy busy lives, it is so easy to forget holidays are coming or focus all our attention on the kids and extended family. Put reminders in your calendar to spend some time either shopping for or making your spouse’s gift. You don’t have to get a second job to make this happen, but you do have to put in a little bit of effort. The most important part of the gift is knowing your spouse thinks you are important enough that they did their best to make your day special. Obviously every gift you give your spouse isn’t going to be perfect, but effort should always be obvious. The best gift I have ever received from my husband was really cheap, but took time to create and really spoke to who I am. It was a little Christmas tree trimmed “with some decorations bought at Tiffany” and all sorts of tiny toy versions from the song, Santa Baby. It was perfect. In fact the tree topper was a luggage tag from Tiffany Co. he was gifted, but it didn’t matter. I loved it so much; it stays up year round in a little corner of my space.
5 don't fight, if you do apologize
You might have just laughed at this one. Yah, it’s easy to say don’t fight, but you don’t know what it’s like. But I do, and I have learned through our marriage that the fighting never helped and only hurt us as individuals and as a couple. Sometimes we would fight about something so stupid when I look back, all I can say is what was I thinking? Now we do our best to follow this. Every once in a while we slip up, but we try to correct it quickly. What it takes to do this is both people deciding they are going to try to do this. Now when we get upset, we tell each other calmly as possible, and usually it gets correct immediately. That never happened when we fought. The real question is do you want to be right or happy? This is the time to decide. So I encourage you to learn from my mistakes, and simply just don’t fight.
6 always talk with kindness
It is amazing how tone of voice affects how a message is received. Speaking in a tone of kindness and love is also more productive and happier. Try it, I dare you.
7 take time to date again
This one is the hardest for me, but it isn’t difficult at all. Take a break of life, and be together. Go do something fun together whether it’s bowling or a nice dinner. Remember why you fell in love in the first place. Maybe even take a real vacation together, just the two of you, you can do it. I don’t have any children, and last year was the first time we took a real vacation that wasn’t just a weekend together that was for us, not visiting family. We chose Disney World, it was fantastic. It did so much for our marriage, it’s amazing.
8 help your partner when they ask for help without complaining
Just help them, even if you don’t understand what they are doing, just go and try to help. This is such a small act, but it lets your partner know you support them and you really are there for them. Most important, don’t complain. The minute your mouth opens, you just undid all the good you did by helping in the first place. Better yet, offer help before they ask. Get double points!
9 make all major decisions together including purchases
Are you the one who usually makes the decisions? Are you ever tempted to just do it without asking? STOP. Value your partner’s opinion, even if they don’t have much to say. Taking the time to run it by them is vital to establishing trust. If you are the one getting left out, it’s time to speak up and let your partner know you care about the big decisions. After all, this is your life too. This doesn’t mean call your spouse before you spend any money or before you pick out a set of sheets. This means life altering decisions should be made together like buying a car, quitting your job, or major child raising issues.
10 talk to Each other about your needs
Sounds simple right? Your spouse doesn’t know they are driving you crazy unless you tell them. Open lines of communication are the key to longevity in a marriage. You got this.
So I hope you found this helpful. If you did, do me a solid and share it on your social media and let me know what you thought in the comments. Don’t forget, this works a lot better if both people are working towards the same goals, so share this with your spouse too.
If you are a victim of abuse, this article is not written for you. This stuff only works if both people do them. Get to safety and get some professional help, you are worth it!