No matter if you’ve been married one year, ten years, or twenty years and beyond, marriage can be trying at times. It’s normal to get in relationship ruts, and that’s why it’s good to look for ways for improving your marriage.
10 Tips for Improving Your Marriage
Improving your marriage is possible by being intentional with several small changes. These ten tips for improving your marriage can get you back on the right path and move toward closeness.
1. Improve your listening skills.
We can all benefit by brushing up on our listening skills. The better you listen, the more your spouse will feel appreciated and loved. Active listening can increase your connection with your spouse. Start by promising not to interrupt, and while your spouse is speaking, don’t think about sharing what you want.
Instead, act like you are recording what your spouse is saying. Then when your spouse is finished, ask clarifying questions if you don’t understand something. Also, ask your spouse to tell you more about fine points. If you practice these active listening skills at least once per week, and trade places with each other, you’ll see improvement in your marriage very soon!
2. Study your spouse’s personality.
You have probably heard that opposites attract. Many of us haven’t done the work of studying our spouse’s opposite personalities. That can lead to lots of arguments and misunderstandings since our spouses are not carbon copies of us.
However, free personality tests abound online. You and your spouse can both take online personality tests, then dig into the data to understand each other better. The studying will help you see your spouse’s strengths, which you can praise, and weaknesses, where you can show more grace. You will learn which fights are worth fighting, and which ones you need to let go.
3. Learn your spouse’s love language.
Dr. Gary Chapman has written a popular book that describes the five different love languages. These languages are the ways we feel loved most by others. They include quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and touch. You can access online tools to discover your primary love languages, and have your spouse do the same.
It’s common for you to show your spouse love in the language you receive best but it may not be the language your spouse craves to receive love from you. By learning your spouse’s love language, you can show him or her love in tangible ways that go further.
4. Increase both love and respect.
In general, husbands tend to crave more respect from their wives, and wives crave more love from their husbands. Yet, love and respect are valuable Christian virtues that need to be cultivated and regularly shown. Both wives and husbands need to demonstrate a consistent flow of love and respect for marriages to be healthy.
If you are a wife, determine to learn new ways to express respect for your husband. If you are a husband, learn the ways your wife feels the most love from you. Have a heart-to-heart talk about the love and respect levels in your marriage. Where improvement is needed, commit to doing your part.
5. Show more affection.
Many marriages can be improved by more non-sexual affection. Daily hugs, hand-holding, back scratches, shoulder pats, and foot rubs will increase the connection between you and your spouse. Put these affectionate expressions on your daily priority list for your marriage, and you’ll see a difference.
Most spouses do not kiss each other passionately as the years march on. Yet passionate kisses can work wonders for your relationship. Try a two-second kiss, then work up to a five-second or ten-second kiss. One outside the bedroom each day can lead to more sparks inside the bedroom later.
6. Establish daily connection times.
Unless couples establish daily check-in times with each other, the marriage connection can quickly diminish. Ask your spouse which times of day are best and learn which communication forms are most convenient. Then check in with your spouse according to what’s best for him or her.
A text in the morning, an encouraging email during the day, a quick phone call during lunch, or a Facetime before dinner can be a connection you will look forward to each day. It’s a good way to check in with little updates before you start a busy evening and have to fight fatigue. A pattern of regular connection times can easily improve your marriage.
7. Use conversation tools.
Do you feel like you have run out of things to talk about with your spouse? This is a common problem in marriage. However, there are many helps you can use to put life back into your conversations.
You can order conversation starter cards online, or google conversation starter questions. These are great to use during daily dinners, date nights, or weekends away. They can help you connect in new ways that you didn’t previously know about your spouse. Conversation tools can fan the flame of connection in your marriage.
8. Appreciate different money styles.
Couples often have different money styles, which can cause all kinds of conflict. But when you understand your spouse’s preferred money style, you can show greater respect, understanding, and compassion.
Go online to research different money styles. Find the profile that fits you, and then ask your spouse to do the same. Talk about the reasons, including personality and upbringing, that have shaped your money style. Discuss your dreams and aspirations when it comes to spending, saving, and giving. A healthy discussion about your money styles can head off arguments in the future.
9. Discuss extended family issues.
It’s rare for a married couple to have no conflict in an extended family. These common conflicts can create problems in your marriage at the holidays or sometimes year-round. Extended family issues need to be discussed and handled with intention rather than swept under the rug.
Sit down with your spouse and ask him or her to describe any problems with your side of the family. Normally, you should speak to your own relatives about the problem your spouse sees. If you work together to handle the problem as a team, from a unified front, you can make progress in your extended family issues.
10. Get on the same parenting page.
Children are a great blessing, but they can also generate many differences of opinion between parents. You and your spouse may be at odds regarding discipline, rewards, or any number of parenting issues. This can cause constant friction and may even pit your children against you.
Getting on the same page of parenting is a key way to increase harmony in your marriage. You can both play to your strengths, with each parent handling the areas that are easier for them. For example, you may be the one to help your child with math homework, while your spouse helps with reading. Discussing parenting issues with your spouse can help you arrive at mutually beneficial solutions that decrease the tension in your marriage.
When You Need More Marriage Help
These tips can help strengthen most marriages. But what if you need more help improving your marriage due to deeper or more persistent issues? That’s where a caring Christian counselor comes in.
Marriage problems are unavoidable. When you put two imperfect people together in a close relationship, conflict is bound to happen. Sometimes we all get stuck and need objective help in finding a way out. There is no shame in scheduling some marriage counseling sessions to improve your marriage.
You can receive an objective perspective, encouragement, and practical help for your marriage from a qualified counselor at Seattle Christian Counseling. We will help you talk through your problems with your spouse and arrive at healthy solutions. Contact us today to set up an appointment. We can help you address your marriage issues.
“Are you coming?”, Courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Laughing Together”, Courtesy of Eric Froehling, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Looking Into Each Other’s Eyes”, Courtesy of Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “You and Me”, Courtesy of Jared Sluyter, Unsplash.com, CC0 License