Improving a marriage doesn’t always require a gigantic intervention. Instead, changing little daily habits can make a big difference in how you feel about your marriage and most importantly, how you behave toward your spouse. Whether you want to keep your marriage healthy or you need to reignite a spark, change some of your daily habits and you’ll be more likely to experience marital bliss.
1. Treat Your Bedroom Like a Romantic Retreat
The ambiance in your bedroom can either spark romance or put out any passionate fires. If you’ve got a child sleeping between you, clothes piled up to the ceiling or sheets that haven’t been replaced in a decade, you’re not likely going to feel an air of romance when you enter the room. Many couples who take great pride in all other areas of their homes tend to neglect the master bedroom. However, if you want to spark some romance, put energy into fixing up and cleaning the master bedroom. A little paint on the walls, some new sheets and a lot of organizing can go a long way to putting the mood back in the bedroom.
2. Schedule a Date Night Each Week
If you don’t schedule a date night, it’s not likely to happen. Commitments with friends, obligations with family or other excuses can easily get in the way. However, if you don’t make the time to nourish your relationship on a regular basis, it can be harmful. For some couples, it works best to pick a night each week to make date night. For other couples, it makes more sense to sit down with a calendar and determine when they can make it happen each week. If money is tight, remember you can get creative and find many free or low cost activities that will offer plenty of opportunities to have fun and grow together as a couple.
3. Set a Goal for Your Marriage Each Day
Imagine what could happen if you woke up each day with a goal for your marriage. You could do some great work. And they wouldn’t even have to be big goals. Instead, making a conscious decision each day to do something kind or spend quality time with your spouse can go a long way. Even saying, “I’m going to find three positive things to say to my spouse,” or “I’m not going to be irritable today,” can help you stay focused.
4. Focus on What You Contribute Not What You Gain
Take a look at what you are contributing to your marriage each day. Instead of focusing on what your partner hasn’t done for you or what’s not working, only focus on what you are doing to grow the marriage. If you focus on making life easier for your spouse, you’ll have less time to focus on how the marriage is making your life more difficult.
5. Turn Off Distractions
If you’ve ever said, “Yup,” without having any idea what your spouse actually said, it’s a sign that you probably tune your spouse out. If your spouse’s voice seems to blend into the background, it can cause a lot of communication problems. Get focused and turn off distractions. Shut off the TV, put down your laptop and stop texting while you’re attempting to listen.
6. Pay Attention to Behaviors More than Feelings
Pay attention to what you do more than how you feel. Just think about how your attendance would be at work if you only went in on the days that you felt like working. If you’re like most people, your attendance record might look pretty sparse. However, if you value your pay check and don’t want to get fired, you likely go to work even on the days when you don’t want to. Imagine if you treated your marriage the same. Instead of only helping your spouse when you felt like or only behaving affectionately when you wanted to, you did it anyway because you value your marriage.
7. Treat Your Spouse Better than Anyone Else
Think of how you treat your spouse on your worst days. When you’re in a bad mood or aren’t happy with your spouse’s behavior, what do you do? Sadly, spouses often seem to get the short end of the stick. If you’ve had a bad day at work, you’re stressed out or you’re mad at your spouse, it doesn’t give you permission to behave badly. Spouses should get treated better than your boss, your friends, your in-laws and strangers yet sometimes we’re on our best behavior with those people and not our spouses.
8. Listen More than You Speak
Talking too much and not listening can wreak havoc on communication. Remember, you have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Practice active listening to really hear what your spouse has to say. Ask questions, show interest and give your spouse the floor.
9. Offer Words of Encouragement
Sometimes criticism comes more easily than encouragement. However, you should be your spouse’s biggest fan in life. The world can be a difficult place and your spouse needs your support. Offer words of genuine praise and encouragement each and every day.
10. Remember the Good Times
Marriage isn’t going to be a picnic every day. However, remembering the good times can drum up lots of positive and loving feelings. Take time to talk about your happy memories, whether it’s a vacation you enjoyed, a fun adventure you went on, when your children were born or a time in your life that makes you smile. Look at pictures together as well and take a stroll down memory lane often and remember to work on creating new happy memories as well.