It’s safe to say Dave and I have learned a lot about marriage. Since we already lived together before, I didn’t think marriage would be much different. Yet somehow it is. We’re in virtually the same situation, but it’s somehow different. It feels bigger and more important, which it should. It feels safer because you know that even if you fight or get upset with one another, you’re married and it’s permanent. But you also feel like you need to work harder to maintain it because you have something bigger and more important to protect. One of the most important things I’ve learned about marriage is that it is absolutely the little, everyday actions that matter the most. The big gestures might be the most memorable, but they aren’t what really make a marriage. It’s the daily habits you develop to build each other and your marriage up. So today I wanted to share with you some daily habits I’ve learned to make your marriage stronger.
1. Say what’s on your mind. One of the greatest sources of contention between Dave and I comes from not saying what’s on our minds. When you’re thinking something, whether you’re upset or frustrated or sad, etc., your spouse can tell. I can tell when something is bothering Dave, and he can tell when something is bothering me. And though you might be keeping your thoughts inside to avoid an argument, it will cause a greater issue to leave those things unsaid.
2. Praise and compliment each other. It’s such a simple thing that people forget too often. It can be as simple as complimenting your spouse’s appearance, or telling them how awesome the dinner they cooked was. And these simple compliments go such a long way!
3. Find small ways to spend time together. It’s easy to get caught up in your busy life and forget to just be together. I’m talking about the times when you aren’t really doing anything, just spending time together. Dave and I make sure that each night, we end our evening a little early so we can curl up together and watch one of our favorite television shows. It’s not a huge thing and it might only be for half an hour, but it’s time together.
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4. Make time for yourself. It’s important to make time for your spouse or significant other, but just as important to make time for yourself. I remember the feeling of being in the early stages of a relationship and feeling like we needed to spend all of our time together. While it was a great way to get to know each other better, I wouldn’t want to go back to that. It’s so important for our marriage that we both have hobbies and interests and friends of our own and that we make time for those things. It makes us each happier, which in turn makes our marriage stronger.
5. Be okay with being wrong. At the end of the day, having a strong and happy marriage is more important than always being right. This is still something I need to work on (which I’m sure Dave would agree with), and I doubt I’m alone!
6. Encourage each other. Dave and I have had extra practice at this one this year, as we’ve each gone through a rough time. After ending up in a really horrible job situation, I was unemployed for about a month and a half. And Dave has gone through months on end of a difficult situation at work. Sometimes just a little encouragement from your spouse can build you up a lot when you’re struggling. I was really down on myself during my unemployment, but Dave came home every day with a positive outlook on my job prospects, and he gave me hope as well.
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7. Keep affection in your relationship. Sometimes we forget about the little things like hugging or kissing hello and goodbye. Or they become quick actions, a force of habit without any real affection behind them. Those little moments are important in a marriage and it’s important to put more into them.
8. Keep the house clean. So, it might not seem like there’s anything romantic about doing the laundry. But there is something romantic about going the extra mile to make your spouse’s life easier. That means making dinner and cleaning up afterward if Dave has had a rough day, or making sure he comes home to a clean house if he’s been traveling for work. And it’s the fact that he does the exact same for me.
What daily habits do you do to make your marriage or relationship stronger?
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