People constantly look for the magic bullet - that one miracle-making shift that will make their marriage spectacular. Here's the truth -- there are LOTS of shifts that need to occur for a ho-hum marriage to become an epic one. If you truly want relationship health and happiness you have to realize one thing........ it's all in the little things.
Many key components are necessary for a relationship to last: unwavering commitment, healthy communication, strong connection, trust, respect, love, and passion. But each of these key components are made of consistent little actions. These little actions are the tips I'll give you today. These tips will be total game-changers if you implement them into your daily life. Let's dive in!
Always greet your partner with an EPIC GREETING & FAREWELL. This may seem commonsense, but as years go on, greeting your partner EVERY time you've been apart is one of the first practices that diminish. Give each other a beautiful smile, a long heartfelt embrace and kiss, and say 'I love you' or 'I've missed you'. This tells your partner (and any onlooking children) that you're happy to be with each other, they are significant in your life, and this will make them feel loved and appreciated. If you have children, be sure to greet your spouse before the children - this signifies to all that your love for each other is priority #1. Children will grow up happier and healthier to know their parents have a deep love and admiration for each other. Make your Hellos and Goodbyes a beautiful experience every time - you never know when this will be your last Hello or your last Goodbye. Make it epic!
HAVE SEX! The frequency isn't as important as the quality, just don't let it fade completely. Studies show that couples who report having the most satisfying sex lives have sex once a week (sometimes twice). Remember, quality over quantity. If you're busy people, schedule it on your calendar. It may seem unromantic, but it's too important a connection to do without. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to and be excited about during the days leading up to your intimate date.
COOK TOGETHER! It's a fun project to work on and provides great quality time for a catch-me-up chat about your daily experiences. Even if someone isn't great in the kitchen, they can always fill a pot with water, chop some veggies, or hand you things you need. Doing chores around the house together is also a bonus. There's a difference between sharing chores (where one person cleans a bathroom and the other takes out the trash) and doing chores together. Sharing chores creates bonding and connection, even if you're cleaning toilets. At least it makes it more fun, right?
Every morning ask, 'WHAT'S ON YOUR CALENDAR TODAY?'. This allows each of you a visual of what the other is up to. Sharing details about your upcoming day fosters connection and better communication. Is someone really grumpy this morning? It could be anxiety due to an important meeting at work. Does your spouse seem distant? They could be dreading a doctor's appointment. Knowing your partner's schedule allows room for compassion, understanding, and provides you ways to serve and support each other. At the end of the day, be sure to ask each other how the events went during the day. This shows you care and love them.
Send LOVE NOTES throughout the day. Little communications goes a long way. It lets your spouse know you are thinking of and missing them. Short little texts, quick calls, a quick video message via text, or facetime -- be flirty and fun or deep and meaningful. Switch it up and be creative - just be consistent in frequency.
BE HONEST at all times, even when you're embarrassed or ashamed.
GO SOLO. Take that martial arts class, pottery class, go rock climbing or canoeing - do some hobbies sans your spouse. Go alone or with your siblings or friends, but spending time apart is healthy for both of you - plus it gives you things to talk about when you come back together. *Just be sure the activities you are doing without each other are healthy and leave no room for dangerous mishaps or insecurities (like getting sloshed at the bar).
SNUGGLE UP. Set your alarm 5 minutes early in the morning and cuddle before getting out of bed. There's no need to talk if one or both of you aren't morning people. This physical connection first thing daily helps start the day right - with love. Studies show that couples who do this also feel more secure, content, and confident throughout the day.
SURPRISE GIFT. Surprise them with a little gift you know they'll love. It can be as simple as a love note and truffle, but learn their favorite things and surprise them at least once a week. You can have it delivered to them at home/work during the day, hand deliver it yourself first thing in the morning to set their day off right, or leave it as a surprise for them (at home or in their work bag to find later). Little surprises will put a smile on their face.
BE DELIGHTFUL. Always remain polite towards one another. This doesn't mean you are stiff and formal, but basic courtesy goes a long way. If you'd like to learn how to be Irresistible, go HERE.
FIGHT RIGHT. Learning the right and wrong ways of fighting can make or break your marriage. Create a Fight Board - it's a fight cheat sheet and is a golden ticket to success. To learn how to Fight Right, go HERE.
Create INTIMACY OUTSIDE OF SEX. For a couple to have a great sex life, a deep connection, and a passionate relationship, there must be a healthy dose of ongoing non-sexual intimacy. Hold hand for a moonlit walk, snuggle up while reading on the sofa or during tv/movie time. Walk arm in arm. Hug often. Kiss each other on the cheek. Share a long (at least 7 second) kiss every day. Passion comes in all shapes and sizes... find what works for you both and do that often.
CREATE A MANTRA like, 'This too shall pass'. There is much wisdom in realizing life is long and what may seem super important now, will likely fade in the future. We tend to become overly emotionally involved/attached to certain things in the heat of the moment. Can you look back at a few arguments where you felt passionate at the time and now say, 'That wasn't THAT big of a deal'? Compromise goes a long way, so does tolerance. Take the bird's eye view of situations so you maintain perspective on the big picture -- remembering 'This too shall pass' will help you maintain sanity and serve as a reminder that this adversity isn't the end of the world.
SPRUCE UP! Take care of your appearance. No one wants to be with a loaf. If your hair is messy, you're unshaven, clothes are disheveled, nails are dirty and untrimmed, and you look like a freshly risen zombie - look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Would I want to be with THAT"?
STOP EXPECTING. Accept who you spouse is, find the positive characteristics and gifts within them, and celebrate that. We are all on our own journey and some of us take longer to grow and achieve. Be patient with each other, show respect, give support, and be content with each other. If your spouse feels pressured by you, motivation and growth will be stunted. Back off, and choose to love. To learn more about the damaging effects of having Expectations of your partner, go HERE.
5:1 RULE. Give 5 compliments for every criticism you dish out. You find what you look for. Look for more positives in your partner.
EYE CONTACT. All humans need eye contact, but in marriage it's an absolute necessity. It's like a visual hug. It fosters connection, allows people to be in touch with their own emotions more freely, and then allow us to be receptive to others' needs. A lot can be said with the eyes ;)
WORK ON YOU. Every time you find yourself thinking something critical or negative towards your spouse, stop and work on yourself. The fastest way to change the dynamics in your marriage is to change yourself. Show your spouse just how much you love them by working on your deficiencies. Saying 'I love you' is great! But showing it is even better.
LEAVE! Get out of town for an occasional weekend, just the two of you. Plan something fun and have fun planning it - you can even create a date night of planning as you share wine and sift through destinations, places to stay, and drool over all the yummy restaurants you look at. Or don't plan at all and just drive until something strikes your fancy.
Remember the GOLDEN RULE. Do undo others as you'd have them do unto you. That means make your spouse your #1 priority. Don't put your children first - they'll up and leave you when they become adults. Making your spouse your #1 priority allows your children to see true love, healthy dynamics, and they'll grow up to be a wonderful spouse to their mate. And then when your children leave the home, your relationship will not only be strong, but you'll both be excited to have alone time together (instead of looking at each other and realizing you don't really know who you're married to).
VOLUNTEER TOGETHER. Contributing to the health of society in a positive way is a marriage builder. You get to team up together (fostering teamwork and connection) and serve others/something outside of yourself. It's great bonding time.
RISE & FALL TOGETHER. Wake up and go to bed together if your schedules allow. This is an excellent way to promote teamwork and connection. Extra points for snuggles.
Lastly, have an honest in-depth look at yourself and ask, "Would I want to be married to me?" If not, determine why and work on that.
Any one of these tips will make a powerful impact on your marriage. It would be overwhelming to tackle all of these at once, so pick the top three you believe would make the most immediate and profound impact on your marriage, and get to work. Each month you can add a new action whist maintaining the ones you've already implemented. Please leave comments below with tips that you've used that have made a powerful impact on the health of your marriage!
Go have FUN together!