The best marriages don’t become that way by accident — they take effort and intentionality. And, believe it or not, many times it’s the small, everyday actions that speak louder than the grand gestures. By regularly thinking about your spouse and showing love to him or her, even in little things, you communicate how much your relationship matters.
So, with that in mind, what are some specific ways you can make your marriage stronger and happier? What are some small ways to enhance your relationship with your spouse? To help answer those questions, consider the following five ideas to enhance your marriage now!
1. Be Physically Affectionate.
Connecting with your spouse physically goes a long way toward a better, closer relationship — and that can be as simple as holding hands when you walk into a building or putting your arm around your spouse at a movie. “Holding hands, kissing, gazing into each other’s eyes and making love always produce a stronger relationship,” relationship coach Tiya Cunningham Sumter told Babble. Make these little displays of affection a habit in your marriage, and you can deepen your overall bond.
2. Use Words.
One of the greatest temptations in marriage over time is to take one’s spouse for granted. Fight this tendency by making a point to notice and praise your spouse regularly. Genuinely thanking your husband for the way he plays with the kids or helps around the house deeply pleases 72 percent of men, according to Family Life. Looking at your wife and saying sincerely, “you’re beautiful” deeply pleases 76 percent of all women.
3. Put Your Phone Away.
In today’s technology-driven society, it’s all too easy to retreat to the worlds of our cell phones and computers instead of connecting with the person sitting next to us. “If you’re glued to Facebook during dinner, then it’s time to unplug,” says Rachel Swalin of TIME Magazine. “A study published in Computers in Human Behavior looked at data from 1,160 married people and found a negative correlation between heavy social-media use and relationship happiness.” Whether it’s at weeknight dinners or in the living room after the kids have gone to bed, resist the urge to go online and give each other your attention instead.
4. Read a Marriage Book Together.
If you’re both up for it, reading a book about marriage together can be a great way to bond, grow in communication skills and keep thinking intentionally about your marriage. Whether you go with a book of marriage conversation starters or a guidebook for having a better marriage, simply committing together to read and talk about the content can be a great activity.
5. Schedule Time.
Particularly when you both have busy schedules and/or kids, it’s valuable to schedule quality time together. Concentrated time to talk and connect rarely happens on its own, so by scheduling you ensure it doesn’t fall by the wayside. “It takes discipline and effort to maintain consistent, regular time together with your spouse,” says Kristen Welch of HomeLife Magazine. “If you wait for it to happen, it won’t.” So work together to set specific dates as your schedule allows, but ideally at least once a month. It’s a tangible way to set your marriage up as a priority.
Not all marriage-improving strategies have to be difficult ones. Use the ideas above to get your creative juices flowing and look for small, everyday ways that you can invest in and enhance your marriage relationship and show love to your spouse. While the investments can be small, the payoff can be huge — now and in the future.
Pastoral Counselors, John and Wendy, run a crisis marriage counseling practice, Marriage Rescue Associates, that specializes in helping couples enhance their relationship. They offer everything from counseling to marriage retreats, which attributes to their 90% success rate.