I've been married for 6,408 days, and I've learned a few things in that time. A good marriage doesn't just happen. It requiresconsistent hard work, forgiveness, and the ability to be quiet. And when in doubt, remember that sex always helps!
Just like any fire, the intensity of married love is prone to die down. It never hurts to stoke the embers and stir things up a bit. Journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin once said, "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." I completely agree. But I'm also thankful for those flailing moments in-between the falling.
Developing and focusing on three areas of your marriage will reignite passion and make living together a lot more enjoyable.
Faith: Without Jesus, our marriage wouldn't have survived its darkest days. Terrell and I are two stubborn, sinning people, and we need more of Him daily. Building your marriage on Christ will not only make your marriage better, it will make you stronger people.
Fun: Let's face it; fun is usually one of the first things to fade from your marriage with the stress of financial burdens, kids, jobs, extended families, and so forth. But fun, laughter, and enjoying each other can bring life back to your marriage.
Foster: It's easy to get into ruts in your married life. You can learn a lot about having a healthy, thriving relationship by making small, simple, and even obvious changes in your daily living. Sometimes you just need practical ideas to help you cherish and care for your spouse.
Try these 40 ways to make your marriage rock.
- Pray together regularly. There's something deeply spiritual about marriage. Oneness and intimacy are God's design, His norm. One of the best ways to achieve this is by praying together.
- Hide love notes in secret places. My husband did this once. I woke up and saw a note tucked in my cosmetics bag. I found another one in a drawer. All day long, it was like a scavenger hunt, and it made me feel loved.
- Go to bed at the same time. This one has been a challenge for us with him being a night owl, but we've found our rhythm and have discovered we're more prone to pillow talk and intimacy when we make this effort.
- Write your husband's name in lipstick on the bathroom mirror just because. If anything, you'll enjoy the look on his face.
- Listen to music together. My husband loves music. He turns it on as soon as he gets home from work, which sets an awesome tone in our house. Lately when we travel, Terrell and I share ear buds and listen to some of our favorite audiobooks. We laugh at the same funny stories and have started many conversations because of it.
- Read the Bible together in addition to individually. This is always a good idea.
- Praise your spouse to other people. Once I caught my husband saying some really amazing things about me to one of his friends. I can't think of anything else that could have blessed me more. You've probably heard the advice not to say anything negative to others about your mate, but take it a step further and get caught praising him or her!
- Porn-proof your home. I cannot emphasize this enough. Put safeguards on your phones and computers and unsubscribe to magazines that aren't wholesome. Actively fight against porn, and don't underestimate that pornographers are actively pursuing you.
- Look to your husband to make the big decisions: Without sounding like the 1950s, there's something to leaning on your husband to lead the family in big decisions like taking a new job or moving. As his wife, you can certainly be a part of the decision, but be encouraged to let your husband take the lead if you reach an impasse.
- Let your wife make the small decisions. We've found that when Terrell lets me take care of the smaller household matters (curtain colors, furniture arrangement), we disagree less. It all comes down to trust.
- Go on regular date nights. This is non-negotiable! Time together to talk and connect is crucial. Make it a priority. If money is an obstacle, start a baby-sitting co-op with friends and take turns.
- Spend time apart occasionally.
- Renew your vows publicly with cake and sparkling cider.
- Kiss every day for five seconds.
- Have pictures taken of just the two of you. My husband and I have done this several times. We love the ambiance they bring after we hang them in our bedroom.
- Frame your wedding vows or a wedding picture to display. This simple, romantic gesture will be a great reminder of your love to all who enter your home.
- Text each other from across the room.
- Once a year, or send your kids away for a few days. This is huge. Recently, Terrell and I were able to enjoy some time at home while our kids stayed with their grandparents. It was amazing what the stillness and focused attention restored in our marriage.
- Kiss in front of your kids.
- Make sex a priority. Sex in a marriage isn't an issue, until it is.
- Renew your vows privately with whispers and memories. When God did a miracle in our marriage seven years ago, Terrell and I renewed our vows in a private "ceremony." It was so moving to have our children witness our recommitment.
- Meet your spouse at the door. Terrell told me recently how much it meant to him for me to stop everything I'm doing when he gets home and acknowledge him. It's a great way to respect mates who work outside the home.
- Fight naked. Enough said.
- Look your best as often as you can. It's a big deal to your mate when you don't care about your appearance. When you take care of yourself, your marriage benefits!
- Find tangible ways to serve your mate without complaining. When I go the extra mile and do something nice and thoughtful for my husband, he notices it. It doesn't take long for him to reciprocate because of the way being served makes him feel. It's a great cycle to create.
- Don't nag each other. The Bible compares nagging to dripping water: constant, irritating, and wasteful. Nothing good comes from it. Instead, make a list of what needs to be done, be a part of completing it, or pray about the issue.
- Compliment each other. Tell him when he looks good. Thank her for a good meal. Be nice to each other. Kindness goes a long way!
- Touch your spouse several times throughout the day.
- Let each other sleep in.
- Get out of debt (and stay out).
- Unplug together. Set a day when everything is turned off. Take a break from phones, technology, TV, and so forth.
- Get a couple's massage or host your own privately.
- Choose not to be annoyed by an irritating behavior or disappointment. He might never pick up his dirty clothes. She may never organize the dishwasher the way you like it. Some things are worth letting go.
- Share a secret your spouse doesn't know about you. Does he know you had a perm-gone-bad in eighth grade? Share some ancient history. You might be surprised at what you discover about your spouse.
- Sit on the same side of a booth at a restaurant. I love it when Terrell slides into the booth beside me. This small act sends a big message to my heart and to those around us.
- Lie in bed together and stare into each other eyes without talking. This quiet, intimate act might give you a lot to talk about!
- Learn or do something new together. Take an art class or cooking lessons or go dancing. Eat dinner on the trampoline. Shake up the norm and do something different.
- Know when to talk and when to hush. Most arguments are from saying too much. When you hold your tongue and listen, you get much more accomplished. This isn't an easy task, but asking God for self-control is a good place to start.
- Bring your wife a small gift (even when she says not to). Small thoughtful presents like her favorite drink, flowers, a handwritten note, or chocolate can be just what she needs.
- Remember that your spouse rocks, even when he or she doesn't. You love your spouse and are committed, but in the heat of the moment, it's easy to react. Keep the small things small and remember why you love your mate!
This article is courtesy of HomeLife Magazine.