If you do these three things, it can make a huge difference in your relationship:
1. Do good daily – in word and deed.
In marriage the little things are the big things and we should take comfort in that fact, because the truth is, we can all do the little things. It’s so essential to keep doing the little things each day that communicate love to our partners. Those hugs and kisses. Those calls or texts in the middle of the day to say, “I love you.” Those daily compliments. Those massages. It’s being consistent in the little things that creates an atmosphere of peace and security and it gives our partner the assurance that our love for them will never fade. It’s the little things that keep the flames of romance alive.
There was some research done involving thousands of couples reported in a book called The Couple Checkup. The authors state: The longer two people are together, the more they assume they know each other and so they neglect to ask questions and they neglect to continue learning about each other (The Couple Checkup: Finding Your Relationship Strengths, Larson, page 37). Also, partners who have been married for many years tend to be more focused on the negatives in the other person and in the relationship.
Hebrews 3:13 tells us to “encourage each other” every day. Many couples talk every day but most of their talking is negative in tone. We need to focus our attention on affirming the good qualities we see in our spouse.
Giving our partner at least one compliment each day can make a huge difference in our relationships. Here’s the sad reality: Some of us are more inclined to compliment acquaintances or co-workers than our spouses.
Giving a daily word of encouragement to our partners will help us focus on the positive qualities that initially attracted us to each other. Taking that step can make you feel better and your partner will usually be grateful too!
Set aside at least five minutes per day and fifteen minutes on the weekends to discuss the following:
· What did you most enjoy about our relationship today?
· What was dissatisfying about our relationship today?
· How can I make things better for you?
Reviewing the highs and lows of our day in a heart-to-heart way can be one of the most impactful things we can do to keep our marriages healthy and thriving.
2. Have regular dates.
Happy, satisfied couples enjoy being together and don’t take themselves too seriously. We need to continually monitor the “fun factor” in our marriages to make sure there is plenty of joy and laughter in our homes. And, we need to continue to go on dates! It doesn't have to be an expensive date – just something simple. A picnic in the park, a walk around the lake, a cup of coffee at Panera, playing games or simply putting the kids to bed and talking on the couch.
It’s good to revisit the fun things we did before we were married and continue to be creative in how we show affection to each other. Even when children come into the picture, we always need to prioritize our marriage. It’s important for our kids to see that Mom and Dad love each other and want to spend time together.
3. Find time for yearly or bi-yearly getaways.
Getting away for an overnight or for a few days each year is another important step. An annual anniversary trip can be a perfect way to celebrate. The primary goal, of course, is to have fun and enjoy each other, but it’s also good to review the past year and how the marriage is going. And, if we have children, our time away can allow us to have substantive conversations about the attitudes and behavior of each one and how we can be better parents.
Possible discussion starters for that extended time away are listed below.
Asking for Feedback
Can you trust me in the following areas?
· To be faithful to you
· To pursue the Lord with all my heart
· To speak highly of you in front of others
· To respond to your physical advances
· To keep the house orderly and clean
· To be consistent in disciplining the kids
· To spend money wisely
· To keep my physical appearance up
· To accept you without reservation
· To keep you and the children top priority
· This list is not exhaustive, any others?
Do you feel I share my deepest thoughts and feelings with you?
Do you think I give you my undivided attention? If not, what do I do that makes you feel I’m not paying attention?
Do you feel I try to understand you?
Do you see me pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord? If not, how can I improve?
How would you evaluate my attitude and follow through on household responsibilities?
Is there a difference in the way I relate to you and the children and the way I relate to others? If so, in what way?
Do I take initiative in resolving conflict? How can I be more helpful?
Do you feel that I make good decisions in regards to money?
Is there any way I can serve you that I’m currently neglecting?