Besides parenting, marriage is probably one of the toughest challenges you’ve ever encountered, and that’s saying a lot. So, how to improve your marriage is a common concern among people.
Maybe you’ve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, run a marathon, or sailed the world, but when it comes to keeping your spouse happy, you may feel like you have hit a solid brick wall. Know that you are not alone – many share your frustration and even desperation.
Also, the good news is that there is a way or rather many ways to improve a marriage and to glide right through that brick wall, which may turn out to be a mirage.
This article is aimed at providing meaningful relationship advice and highlighting how to improve your marriage. Keep reading as it might help you understand how to make a marriage better.
20 ways to improve your marriage
Wondering how to improve your marriage? You are on the right path already as you are reading this article on strengthening marriages. It shows that you are looking for some help, and those who seek, shall find.
To improve a marriage, sometimes a tiny shift can make a huge difference and leave you wondering why you waited so long or why you never realized this before. And at other times, you might have to make substantial changes in your habits as a couple.
So, here are a few critical tips to improve marriage. These pointers for couples are healthy marriage tips that can be used as an anchor to save their sinking relationship.
1. Know that you can lose them
Want to learn how to improve your marriage? Don’t get complacent.
Like anything else worthwhile in life, marriage requires consistent effort, attention, perseverance, and determination to get the best result.
You need to remember that you need to walk an extra mile to build an intimate and stronger marriage.
You would not dream of signing up for a doctorate and then not putting in the work to make it happen. Or you would not take the trouble of planting a vegetable garden and then not bother to take care of it – watering, weeding, and fertilizing it. Give the same respect to your marriage!
Another easy and fatal illusion to fall under is that ‘my way is the normal/right way.’ And incidentally, your spouse may think that their way is the right one. And unlearning that is a way to work on your marriage.
What often happens is that one of you defers to the other, and then that person’s preferences, culture, or upbringing becomes the norm for their marriage. This is quite dangerous and can lead to a codependent relationship.
However, if you are aware of a lack of balance, you can actively seek to create a new normal for both of you, where you discuss and talk through issues carefully for improving your marriage.
By openly and effectively communicating, you can find a win-win middle ground, rather than taking the my way or the highway approach. Building a new normal is a helpful way of enhancing your marriage.
3. Be empathetic
Empathy means being able to recognize and share someone else’s feelings. It is an essential part of any healthy relationship and can help keep a marriage strong.
A big part of showing compassion is to listen and validate whatever your partner is going through.
If they have had a demanding day, the best thing you can say is, “Tell me all about it.” And then you must sit down and listen carefully to them.
When your spouse tells you that something was particularly frustrating, you can say something like, “That must have been difficult” or “I’m sorry you had such a hard day.”
If you wish to improve your relationship, remember that when they are in a negative headspace it is not the time to tell them why they should not have felt that way. Don’t suggest how they could have handled the situation differently at this point.
4. Effective communication
Communicating with your spouse is a must! Maybe you don’t feel much like talking by the time you get home after a hard day at work, but this is important to help your partner feel connected to you.
If you don’t want to tell your spouse about your day, they might feel excluded and shut out. The “strong silence” fallacy is another illusion that has wreaked havoc in many marriages.
So, if you wonder ‘how to improve my marriage’ or ‘what are the steps to a better marriage,’ just take some time-out and loosen up.
Maybe you need some time to unwind at the gym or put your feet up for a while. Find what works best, and then be open to making meaningful conversations with your spouse.
5. Be a better lover
Steps towards learning how to improve your marriage are incomplete without assessing your sex life. You most certainly didn’t get married so that you could be roommates!
So work on having the best possible sex life to improve your marriage and strengthen marital relations at every level. Research shows that there is a marked link between relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction.
It may seem like a bit of a chicken and egg situation – which comes first, sexual satisfaction or relationship satisfaction? They both affect each other and thus, work in that sphere should be prioritized.
For some people, good times in bed come after lots of warmth throughout the day, not just when the lights are out. Find out if that’s the case with your partner, learn what makes your spouse happy, and understand their needs for strengthening your marriage.
6. Value the little things
Improving marriages entails understanding the value of little things that you do for each other.
It’s easy to let the little things slip – like saying please and thank you, holding the door open for your spouse, or sending them a little ‘how are you’ message during the day.
Maybe you think it’s not going to make much difference, and you’re too busy with more important things than ruminating over ‘how to be a better wife and improve your marriage.’
But, in the long run, you may be surprised to realize how all these little things add up for strengthening marital relationships. Like each little flower or plant in your garden, the more you lose, the less attractive your garden will be.
7. Step up during stressful times
Your spouse may not always ask for help, but you can see when they are stressed out if you are alert.
You can step up and help them with the housework, run a nice bubble bath for them, or make them a cup of tea or coffee. This kind of loving attention is sure to gain you untold dividends.
Your spouse will feel that they have your support and don’t have to carry the heavy load of housework alone. Helping in practical and thoughtful ways is one of the best means to improve your marriage.
8. Technology cleanses
One of the things to help your marriage that you can do is schedule some time away from all technology.
Technology can get in the way of genuinely connecting with your spouse, even when you are in the same room. Your mobile or laptop can distract you from your partner with messages, calls, or social media updates.
Studies have shown that social media increases the risk of relationship dissatisfaction, frustration, and anxiety. Resist the temptation to look at your mobile, and instead make lasting memories with your spouse by spending some quality time with them.
9. Don’t sweat the little things
One of the best ways to make a marriage work is to learn to pick your battles.
Marriages benefit from working on your issues, but both spouses should know which issues are important and need to be addressed and which ones are insignificant.
If you bring up every issue that you have with your spouse, there will be a constant state of conflict between you and your partner. It is better to bring up only the important issues that honestly bother you to avoid unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings.
10. Write, don’t fight
Learning how to improve your marriage? Try to write down things that are bothering you first instead of getting into a fight.
If something is bothering you about the state of your marriage or your spouse, note it down in a journal. Writing down your feelings helps people process their emotions and understand their feelings better.
Writing down things can give you clarity and calm you down, which will help you explain your point of view in a better manner. It also helps by prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts.
11. Use sentences starting with “I”
Conflicts are inevitable in all marriages, but what is important is how you handle these as a couple.
Want to know how to improve your marriage? Convey your point of view using sentences that begin with the word “I” instead of “You.”
For example, you can try to say, “I feel lonely,” instead of saying, “You are making me feel lonely.” Your partner won’t feel targeted this way and, thus, might be more open to addressing the issue. It also helps you avoid fights and negativity in your marriage.
Prioritize what you feel when talking to your partner instead of accusing them of things.
12. Remain curious
How to improve your marriage? Keep asking questions.
You can lose the connection in your marriage if you don’t continue to be interested in your partner. And that’s why you should try to remain curious about every aspect of your partner’s life and personality.
Asking questions about your spouse’s day and feelings is one of the meaningful ways to improve marriage. It will help you stay connected with your partner and make them realize that you still love to know everything about them.
13. Clearly state your needs
Part of learning how to improve your marriage is expressing to your spouse what you desire. Clarity about your needs will help your partner understand you better and try to meet your expectations in a better way.
Your partner cannot read your mind and sometimes might not be able to assess what you want at a particular moment. Expecting them to know things on their own might set you up for disappointment.
By clearly and openly stating what you require from your spouse, you give them the chance to be a better partner to you. And if they genuinely love you, they will understand you and try to meet your expectations to the best of their abilities.
14. Create personal rituals
Create your couple rituals if you are trying to understand how to improve your marriage.
Watching a movie every Friday, hugging each other before leaving the house, or sending flirty texts throughout the day can help give your marriage warmth and special familiarity.
When the established rituals are followed, they give the married couple a special feeling as these are things that convey the couples’ commitment towards staying connected.
Check out this video to learn more about creating rituals in relationships:
15. Schedule regular date nights
Marriage is a long commitment, and often, couples find themselves taking things for granted. To avoid this, scheduling regular date nights can help you reconnect with your partner.
Studies show that well-planned dates in which care is taken to create an environment for personal and relationship create a long-lasting relationship.
Life, work, and children can get in the way of the quality time you spend with your spouse. But by scheduling date nights, you can make sure that your precious marriage stays healthy and your partner knows that they are a priority for you.
16. Bring down the walls
Being vulnerable is a gift that you can give to your partner, your marriage, and yourself.
Defensive walls protect you, but they also stop your spouse from understanding and feeling close to you.
Make a conscious effort to open up to your partner about your feelings and experiences. By creating an environment of openness, you will also allow your partner to feel comfortable being vulnerable with you.
17. Soft touches
Remember, physical intimacy does not just include sex. A simple touch of the hand can do the trick!
Sometimes people overthink how to improve your marriage because simple gestures can make a huge difference. A stroke across the cheek, a tap on the arm, or a hand squeeze can help keep the connection between you and your partner fresh.
Soft touches that happen in passing may seem insignificant, but they let your spouse know that you are thinking about them. They convey warmth, care, and appreciation without the usage of words or grand gestures.
18. Apologize first
Don’t think, just apologize.
If you ask yourself, “what are the ways to improve my marriage,” learn to apologize to your partner. If you have made a mistake that has hurt your partner, just say sorry. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your happiness.
Taking accountability for your actions will help you become a better partner and also a better person. It will help your partner feel heard and open to apologizing themself when they are in the wrong.
19. Try not to keep score
How to improve your marriage? Throw the scorecard out.
Marriage is not a competition; it is a collaboration between two people who love each other.
While there should be a balance between couples, keeping a comparative list of who has won or lost each argument doesn’t benefit the relationship. It creates a hostile atmosphere where both people will start comparing things regularly.
20. Grow together
Finally, remember that change is inevitable.
As you both begin to age and mature, so will your love and your marriage. You are not the same person you were two years ago, and nor is your spouse.
One of the best ways to improve a relationship is to make sure you stay on the same page. So, keep in step with each other so that you can gracefully and joyfully grow together.
Marriage requires love, but it also needs conscious efforts from both partners to make it last.
The steps mentioned in this article give a way for couples to stay connected with each other and make sure that their relationship remains a priority in their lives. Follow these tips and ensure that the curse of complacency in marriage does not affect your precious marriage.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.