Working on your marriage can sometimes be a daunting task. It can mean addressing serious issues or owning up to big mistakes, but strengthen your marriage isn’t always about overcoming giant obstacles or solving major problems.
In fact, many of us might not be facing large-scale problems, but instead are caught in a cycle of a less-than-satisfying relationship – without a real sense of what’s wrong. Even if you don’t have something huge to address, it doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort to make your relationship great!
No matter where you are in your marriage, there is always room for improvement, and there are some small things you can keep in mind that just make everyone’s life a little bit easier (and a little more pleasant, too). To give your marriage a little shove in the right direction, try these simple things:
Physical contact is a big part of what keeps you connected as a couple, and this doesn’t mean sex! Even the smallest gestures of affection, a quick hug, a kind touch on the arm, all help keep the spark alive. Making a point to touch one another throughout the day, or at least when you can, has a positive effect on both your individual wellbeing and your strength as a couple.
Make a point to get a few good hugs in everyday! Hold hands when you walk through the store together, or simply rest a hand on your spouse when you’re sitting on the couch. It may not seem like much, but these small touches keep the two of you feeling familiar with one another, and a gentle touch can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and generally make your spouse feel loved!
2. Extra Effort, Extra Consideration
Because we can’t read each other’s minds, sometimes the smallest things can end up causing tension in a marriage. This is especially true when it comes to household chores. The thing that seems like the lowest priority to you might drive your spouse up the wall when left unattended. To avoid this altogether, you can simply make the extra effort to take care of yourself, the kids, or any other little thing you see that needs attending. It’s all about turning your efforts up a notch – spend the extra 10 minutes to put the laundry away or do the few dishes in the sink, not because it’s your turn, but because it needs to be done. In a similar vein, keep your spouse’s schedule and responsibilities in mind. If you can take a small action to reduce just a fraction of their daily stress, you will have strengthened your relationship in a major way.
If you’re both doing this on a regular basis, the chores stay done, and you are both enjoying pleasant surprises of one less thing to do than you thought – and that goes a long way in keeping everyone happy.
3. Stimulating Conversation
Another great way to stay connected is through conversation – but not just any old talk. Make it a priority to chat with your spouse, but not about the things you have to manage together like finances, kids, or household responsibilities. It doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about, as long as it stays away from those potentially stressful and argument inducing topics. Chat about your goals or aspirations, the book you’re reading, something interesting you heard on the radio – anything to get your comparing opinions and intellects. These are the kinds of conversations you had when you were first dating, right? Before the house and the kids and the car payment, you just spoke to each other as people, not husband and wife. This is the path to staying connected on an intellectual level.
As couples age, their opinions and interests can change – if you don’t take the time to talk about it, you may not notice!
It’s not always the big things that make the difference in a marriage – relationships are full of nuance, and keeping the small stuff in mind makes all the difference in your day-to-day lives. Paulo Coehlo once wrote, "It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary," and this couldn't be more accurate for marriage. It's the simple things that keep you connected and in love.
What little things do you do keep stay connected and keep your spouse happy?
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