I’ve been wanting to write something like this for a while. Marriage and tips for marriage, I feel, can be a heavy subject. As a Christian married woman, I hold the value of marriage deep in my heart. Since marriage can mean different things for different people, advice, and tips on marriage can be misconstrued. I hope this post of 5 small actions for a happy marriage will add to your relationship with your spouse.
So what sparked me to share my small actions for our happy marriage? Here’s a little back story.
My husband got me some AirPods as an early birthday present recently. I was listening to music on them when I came across a playlist I made back in 2015. It is a list of songs that I put together for our wedding.
Listening to the playlist took me down the memory lane of our marriage and also our courtship. Cue the AWES.
Yeah, sometimes I can be such a corn dog.
Honestly though, I believe marriage should be more than just having someone around so you’re not going through life alone. It is a partnership to reflect agape love.
When one partner is lacking the other picks up the slack and visa versa. It is a long journey of “til death do us part”. There will be seasons that are hard but as soon as one partner decides to stop: stop loving, forgiving, serving, giving, trying, appreciating, communicating, the marriage can’t help but fall apart. No matter how hard the other partner may try, the marriage cannot be sustained by a single effort. There are many facets of marriage and these tips are not the cure-all. However, it does help add the bricks of a solid marital foundation. So, with that said, here are my 5 small actions for a happy marriage.
1. Going to bed at the same time
Since the beginning, my husband and I have made it a priority to go to bed at the same time. For us, going to bed at the same time creates an opportunity for pillow talk. I am not talking about sexy pillow talk although that is great to have when the time is right.
When I say pillow talk I mean a time to reconnect. During this time you can share about your day, vent, and also show physical affection. It doesn’t have to be fancy. My husband and I usually just lie in bed in the dark and discuss things that might be on our minds. It is a safe space and an intentional time for us to voice what we’ve been wanting to share. I found that since having our daughter, I value this pillow talk time so much more.
Sometimes the conversation goes deep. Other times we are voice acting scenes from The Water Boy movie (Adam Sandler version) and having a great laugh before bed. It sounds silly but it’s something we connect on.
There are some couples who cannot always go to bed at the same time. My main point is to have some time to reconnect. Making time for intentional communication without interruptions. For our marriage, pillow talk works for us. Find what works for you and your spouse.
2. Expressing your appeciation
Expressing your appreciation daily is another small action that builds a happy marriage.
When my husband does something around the house, even if it is something small, I always try to remind myself to be thankful and express my appreciation. It shows him I notice these things he has done and that I am thankful for it. Whether that is putting their clothes away, emptying the garbage, loading, and unloading the dishwasher. Express your appreciation when they do it once in a while or when do they it every day.
Overlooked acts of love and service, even the small ones can cause issues in the future. Not showing this gratitude makes your spouse feel unappreciated. This can eventually lead to your spouse no longer showing love in this way. It can become the first step to just stopping.
It is very easy not to say anything or even overlook these small acts. There will be some seasons in your marriage, where complaining might be the norm. The whole COVID-19 situation was exactly that season for us. Don’t focus on what is not being done and look past many small acts of service your spouse is doing.
Expressing your appreciation is a habit that should be practiced daily. Try it and see the difference it can make.
3. Aiming to fight fair
Many years back, a friend in a newer relationship asked me what advice I had for couples (I was dating my now-husband for 9 years). I thought about it and the advice I gave, I think is gold. I am still surprised by this. Seriously, where did this moment of wisdom come from?
The advice I gave to her was, “a relationship with marriage in mind needs to be built on honesty and trust. You’re giving that person permission into your deepest of vulnerabilities. And trust that they won’t abuse this power they have”.
I truly believe in a healthy and strong marriage relationship, you know your spouse better than anyone and visa versa. Marriage is built on trust and openness and this all leads to vulnerability.
Something all married people should remember is that, when someone loves you, they have given you great power. A power designed for great things. For uplifting your spouse, encouraging them, and building that solid foundation in your marriage.
Unfortunately, often it is used for “evil”, for the lack of a better word. We use our knowledge of our spouse’s vulnerabilities and shortcomings to win an argument or a fight. At the time we may not realize but using this power in this way causes unspeakable damage to your marriage. In the heat of the moment, we can say things or attack without thinking. When I look back after the fight, I feel I become the worst version of myself.
We not only exploited our partner’s vulnerabilities, things that were shared in confidence but we are slowly picking at the trust we built with our spouse. When trust is broken, there are ways to mend it but I believe it won’t be the same. This is not to say that the new trust you build with your spouse can’t be something great. However, it won’t be what you had. I believe the small action of always trying to fight fair, helps build a happy and strong marriage.
Be intentional to fight fairly. In marriage, you and your spouse are on the same team, always.
4. Speaking their love language
Have you read that book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman?
Based on this book, I found the common love languages for husbands are words of affirmation and physical affection. There are so many small ways to speak their love language and show love and respect to your husband.
I find small actions here and there really speaks to my husband. Giving kisses every day. Hugging often and telling my husband he is a good father. Reminding him he’s a wonderful husband. Thanking him for the work he does and telling him he is doing a great job. All these small things can make miles of difference in your marriage. Such a small action for a happy marriage, it doesn’t get any easier than this!
If you want to take it a step further, read the book with your spouse. Figure out each other’s love language and also how one shows and receives love. It will really change your marriage. These small actions of love add to a happy marriage.
5. Adding to the list
In a marriage book I read, the author shared the story of his parents. Whenever his parents would fight, especially when the argument got ugly or heated, his father would leave. He would go to the study, turn on his computer, and just sit there. Sometimes for hours. He assumed that he was online doing something. Maybe he just wanted to leave the room to avoid his mother’s yelling and complaining. Whatever the reason, he never felt that it was healthy to walk away in the middle of an argument. To not resolve the issue and just go on the computer… How could a marriage go the distance?
Many years later, he sat in the study and he confided in his father about a fight that he had with his spouse. He shared about how mad he was at his wife for what she did. And how he didn’t understand how she could be that way.
After he had finished complaining about his wife, his father told him what he would do when his mother and he got into a fight. “Son, whenever we get into a big fight I usually come into this room. I turn on my computer and I add to the list”. The son walked over to the computer and saw there was a single word document saved to the desktop labeled with his mom’s name.
He expected a list of complaints but to his surprise, he read, “wonderful cook”, “passionate”, “good mother”, “forgiving”. The son looked at his dad confused. “You see son, whenever I get into a fight with your mom, I come in here. I read through this list to remind myself how much I love her and to add to the list from time to time.”
I really loved this story because when times get hard, and they will, it is difficult to think good things about your spouse. You will focus on the issues, the problems, and the mistakes. Having a reminder and adding to it as the days, months, and years go by is a great way to remember why you chose them to be your life partner.
I don’t have have a physical list or anything on my computer but I do take a moment to appreciate my husband daily. Today was his patience. Not just that he is a patient man but he’s still patient after 15 years of my nonsense. I do like the idea of a physical list. If you chose to do this let me know how it goes.
I hope these 5 little simple actions for a happy marriage will help you in your journey with your spouse. My husband and I don’t do all these things all the time but a combination of them whenever we can.
Make time for pillow talk, intentionality is important. Express your appreciation for the things they do daily. When fights come your way use your power for good. Speak your partners language and speak it well, and finally, add to your list of why you love your spouse. Read it from time to time and add to it as your relationship grows and matures.
Want more on marriage? Check the links below.
- 7 things you and your partner should discuss before getting married
- 6 ways your marriage will change with a baby
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