5 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage
Thanks to PREPARE/ENRICH for sponsoring today’s post, but as always, all opinions are our own.
Happy National Marriage Week! I recently had someone ask me why we don’t share more marriage based posts, and I kept thinking that’s everything we do! But looking through content recently let me know we share a lot about dates but not as much about marriage. I was so flattered this person told me we’re the type of couple they’d actually want to hear from, specifically regarding things we do to keep love alive and our relationships strong in addition to dates. It’s weighed on me for a few weeks and with National Marriage Week and Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I figured this was a great way to talk about a few easy ways to strengthen your marriage.
1. Set Time for Quality Communication
Life is busy, responsibilities are great, and often that quality time gets pushed to date night only- particularly if you have children! Someone gave me the advice to have a few minutes each day to look into each other’s eyes and talk. It sounds simple, but it’s so effective! Each partner needs to feel heard and validated, and even if you only have 10-20 minutes to do this, it makes all the difference! Find a set time like when you get home from work, before you go to bed, after the kids go to bed, etc. to just talk about your day, what’s on your mind, anything you’re concerned about, or just to joke around together. Make eye contact, be present, and have a little intentional connection every day.
2. Put Your Phones Down
I didn’t have a functional smartphone until we’d been married for two years, and the day iPhones were available with our network and our contracts were up for renewal, we went and got the coveted electronic. We noticed something instantly- we both felt jealous of each other’s phones! We had less conversation time and more social media time, we didn’t pay as much attention, often car/train rides were spent on phones instead of chatting, and I confess there was way too much bathroom time. It was amazing about a month in to realize we both felt a lot less connected to each other because of our phones (eyes covered emoji)! We started to set some rules about when we can use them when we’re around each other. Having them out on date night for anything but a picture/an address/ticket scan is a no-no. When we get home from work phones are put away for at least an hour. Whenever one of us wants to talk or we’re doing our set quality communication time phones are off. And both of us have a favorite rule- if we tell the other one we’re feeling jealous of the phone the phone has to be put away immediately. Setting boundaries and cutting the phone time has made a huge difference for us, and I think it’s a boundary all couples should discuss!
3. Have a Regular Date Night
I was once given the advice from a church leader “Date regularly. If you can’t afford to, date anyway.” I thought that was so strange, but I’ve found it to be 100% true! We’re six years into this project to date every week and it’s made all the difference for us! One week a month we do a family date and don’t get a sitter and I can feel the difference that week longing for the next. That quality time, that spark ignitor, that reminder that there’s fun in your lives and relationship are what get you through hard times and make marriage feel exciting and fun again. We believe so strongly in this that we started this blog hoping others would find inspiration too- even if they don’t have the money and the free section is their best friend!
4. Assess Your Marriage Regularly
I’ve heard all couples need counseling, and it’s something I believe! That doesn’t necessarily mean a formal session with a therapist, although I applaud that too, but it does mean time to objectively look at issues or concerns and to talk about ways to help one another and improve. If you don’t know problems you can’t fix them, and sometimes just having talking points around improvement even if you’re doing great make a huge difference!
One really excellent resource for this is The Marriage Checkup, an online assessment powered by PREPARE/ENRICH. Each goes through a series of questions for each partner to take The Marriage Checkup to help couples answer questions and find areas of their relationship to set goals and work towards improving. Each partner takes their own portion of the assessment (it takes about 30 minutes) and after completion, couples can download/print their results and follow a full discussion guide that’s like a workbook for talking points. It’s tailored to each stage of relationships, so it’s great whether you’re dating, engaged or married. It’s a tool used by clergy and counselors alike, so it’s a great resource and one that’s really excellent to do on your own! It’s also a really enlightening date that you can do at home! I love that we can sit and set some goals together and uncover anything we may want to work on together.
It’s also a lot cheaper than therapy and less than the price of dinner and a movie! But I’m excited to announce that one Friday We’re in Love Reader can win one Couple Checkup! All you need to do is leave a comment telling me about your favorite thing about your significant other- or favorite thing about a couple you’d like to gift it to! I’ll choose a comment with a randomizer and let you know you’ve won on February 12th.
5. Serve Each Other
I laughed when a friend told me her biggest turn-on is when her husband does the dishes. I laughed when another friend mentioned she just can’t get mad at her husband while he’s cleaning. As funny as these sound, there’s a power behind service that bonds marriages together. It looks different for every couple- maybe you have a maid, maybe you have several children to care for, maybe one of you works long hours and doesn’t get to be present as much as you like. But whatever way you find to help your significant other, there’s something that happens, you start to want to one-up each other in kindness and you both start to be more aware of each other’s needs. When my husband picks up the slack on my chores I didn’t finish that day it means the world! When I help make life easier and help him with chores and responsibilities on the days he travels for work, he’s so grateful! I believe the less selfish you are, the stronger you are as a couple, and finding a way to serve your significant other at least once a week is a huge key!
So there are five easy ways we’ve found strengthen marriage, but we’d love to hear any others you’ve found! Plus as a bonus, every comment counts as a giveaway entry!
Photos by: Photography Hill
Thank you for the amazing post. I agree with all of the steps, but I must say the last one is my favourite. While serving each other we show care and love; we show kindness and respect – all of those essential for a healthy relationship and marriage.
I love that your husband is open to participating in the assessments and talking about ways to improve your marriage! I’m engaged, and b far my favorite thing about my fiance is his heart. He truly does have a huge heart, he’s also a good dad who loves his boys very much!
My wife sacrifices her time and energy working fulll time and going to school full along with taking care of our finances and help keep our daughter’ s creativity flowing it’ has been very hard and very stressful and have been moments of doubt I pick up as much slack as possible taking care of appts , taking care of all household needs making sure the kid does her homework and stays on track along with working full time myself sometimes I feel I don’t do enough and hoping to get a better position in my job my wife and I do try to do things together but with homework continuously keeping her busy so we make time where and when we can even though we yelll we a,ways have each other’s back
I love that my husband is my best friend. He is so funny, helpful and caring. He works hard and buys me flowers every month. He is always supporting me at work, church and at home.
Since we have become empty nestors, I love that my husband desires to spend more quality time with me. He has always been a team player at home and just picks up in the daily house chores when I get busy. I thank God my children have a great example in our to be a father and how to work together in any season of marriage.
My husband is extremely positive, I don’t know how he does it.
Thank you for the insight! It helped me and my wife to know what we are doing well and what we need to do more often. I particularly need to remember quality communication time. We often do everything together, but it also often he s lost! 🙂
These are such great tips and I LOVE the idea of a Couple Check Up. Recently my husband and I have been making a more conscious effort to really connect and communicate, as that was an area we were both feeling a lacking in our relationship. We have a Weekly Chit Chat night where we really talk but each evening we go over each others days and offer support or encouragement if needed. We do monthly date nights out and have weekly family nights.
One of the things I love the most about our relationship is that we compliment each others personalities well. Where I’m more strict and need a schedule my husband is more laid back and go with the flow. The opposite personality types helps even each out and creates balance for our relationship.
Thanks for sharing! ?
My hubby gets home before I do and he gets dinner ready for our family most nights. I love that and the fact that he’s willing to put away the laundry after I’ve washed dried and folded it! He is always willing to help around the house I just have to be specific on what I’d like him to do.
Great suggestions, thank you! I cannot agree enough about the serving each other. Picking up each others slack or just doing it to be nice, it doesn’t matter the reason but it does make the WORLD of a difference.
my husband is a hard worker!
My favorite thing about my husband is his willingness to support me in any way–whether that means doing several nights of dinner, bath, and bedtime with our daughter for a year while I finished graduate school or his willingness to rub my shoulders when I’ve had a bad day. He rarely complains and is just willing to do whatever is asked of him.
I love my husband’s involvement in all things home and child rearing! We are a great team!
Great suggestion thank you!!