So many people dream of a great married life. Let’s say; astounding chemistry, crazy love, and life with the type of spouse they’ve always dreamt about. Beautiful!
It’s a beautiful thing to feel that way. It’s super sweet to anticipate those soul-awing things. But how many people prepare for love? Or is it enough to expect all that from the other person and count oneself out?
Be attentive, supportive, complimentary, and communicate– these are a handful of essentials that one must remember while being in a relationship.
Marriage is a constant work in progress
Whether you’re married for many years or just getting hitched, you probably want to know how you can be the best spouse there is for your life partner. This is something that can be learned with some practice and patience.
And what is best about it is that becoming the best spouse will also make you a better person in general.
Well, that doesn’t sound balanced. That may be very biased and can lead to several relationship issues in the long run. Preparation for how to be a good spouse and a great married life is something one should begin way before they even start to have feelings for someone.
Marriage is no doubt a tough act to follow
After the whirlwind of romance and rocky relationships, marriage is the real deal. It demands certain attention, changes in roles and responsibilities. The whole point of view takes a spin, and everything changes.
There are certain expectations that are attached by society and your significant other as well.
25 ways for how to be a better spouse
However, all is not lost. If you are looking for a cheat sheet of sorts, something to guide you in the rocky ravines, fret not and keep on reading.
The following pointers will definitely help you be a better partner.
1. Put yourself in your partner’s shoe, more often than usual
The whole idea of being a partner is to help the other person out when in need.
It is like a tag team. You help the person take whatever they need at the time of desperation.
In such moments, if your partner is difficult or moody, instead of bulldozing out or having a shouting match, remember that you are supposed to help them recover from whatever problem they are facing.
One of the ways of how to be a better spouse is that you are supposed to be their rock, to be able to understand them, care for them, and nurture them at that moment.
Think of yourself in their place; think about what could have triggered the storm. Remember, not everything needs to be said.
If your partner has to inform you about their episodes and depression just like a friend or an acquaintance, or a stranger, why are you in such an intimate relationship?
2. Choose to be more appreciative of the good
Let’s just put it out there; no one is perfect. Chant this mantra in your heart.
Remember that, as cliché, as it sounds, people have both good and bad in them, but being an important person in someone’s life, it is the partner’s job to hone your greatness and to discipline any bad vibes or shortcomings.
The thing is that couples complete each other. We, inherently, are incomplete and lack a lot of things; it is only after we meet our significant other that we are whole. But, remember that significant others are supposed to understand our shortcomings and help us complete our being.
3. Notice them
One very important aspect that generally is present in 99% of the relationships is jealousy.
We need to remember that it is because of the shortcomings on your part as a partner that your significant other feels jealous.
If you truly notice them, care for them, love and nurture them, and make them confident of your love and admiration, there is no way that your significant other will have to revert to jealousy, ever, and you will have a significant key of how to be a better spouse.
4. Be nice
One of the most important things that are quite common nowadays is that couples can be quite sarcastic, ruthless, and cunning when it comes to a fight.
Because they are aware of each other’s shortcomings and weaknesses and drawbacks, they tend to take it all out during fights or arguments.
One of the tips for how to be a better spouse is to remember that fights usually ensue at the time when one of the two is at their lowest; that time is not for brandishing your significant other’s weakness right at their face.
Take it all in, try and be there for them; otherwise, what is the point of the whole marriage?
5. Take care of yourself
Let’s start with what’s most fun. It might sound selfish to begin a set of advice on how to become a better spouse by talking about your own wellbeing. Yet, as everyone will agree, we can only be good for others when we’re good to ourselves.
Or, in other words, we must be at the top of our game to be able to give the best to our loved ones.
What this means is sleep well, eat well, exercise, practice mindfulness, and do the things you enjoy. There is science behind such an assertion.
For example, as a study by Gailliot and Baumeister revealed, to eat well essentially means to have greater self-control and willpower (due to blood glucose levels).
And self-control is essential when you are married, whether it sounds like a joke or not.
You need restraint in order not to succumb to anger for the smallest things or burst out in tears. Having self-control in marriage means to be able to freely react to your partner’s actions and not to be a passive toy in the hands of your emotions.
It means opening up the channels of deep and meaningful interaction, one in which you can learn about yourself and your partner. Effective communication means knowing how to express yourself and listen to others.
Being assertive is even more than just knowing how to communicate. Being assertive means that you find ways to tackle both your insecurity and defensiveness and your instinct to be aggressive to reach your goals. Being assertive means learning to respect yourself and your spouse.
You can begin by learning about your assertive rights. These are tenets that teach you how to overcome certain maladaptive patterns in your behavior towards yourself and others.
For example, these assertive rights propagate that you have the right to say no, not know everything, not be the best in everything, be wrong, and change your mind. And they teach you to respect the same rights of others.
This is why being assertive helps you be the best spouse you can possibly be.
7. Remember important dates
Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or the day you both first met, make sure you remember these dates rather than sitting with an excuse that you are bad with dates.
Remember important dates and make the day special for your spouse. This will definitely go a long way in strengthening the bond over time.
8. Express your gratitude
Lastly, we reach the final advice on how to be the perfect spouse. It’s to express your gratitude for having your husband or wife in your life.
Many married people sincerely feel grateful for how lucky they are to have their spouses. But it is seldom that they directly say it to their partners.
We often believe our spouses can read our minds, especially if you’re married for years or decades. Yet, they can’t, which is why you need to say it straightforwardly.
You might think this is understood, but your husband or your wife might not have the idea of how you really feel about them, given how easily appreciation gets lost in daily stress and occasional quarrels.
Therefore, go and tell your life partner how much you cherish them and watch how you become the best spouse you can ever be.
The video below discusses the importance of gratitude and its power to heal the marriage. The coach shares three principles of gratitude required in marriage.
9. Have the right mindset
Wondering what makes a good spouse?
It all starts in mind. The way you think determines what type of spouse you’d eventually become. It’s the foundation, and it gives you a 50-percent head start.
I know a young man who believes that all women are greedy who want to sap you of all the cash you have. Well, such a guy has already set himself up for misery. And I wouldn’t advise any woman to settle with such a guy until his mentality is right.
Some women think they have nothing to offer in a marriage other than bear kids and watch them grow.
That also sounds archaic and doesn’t strike a chord in the 21st-century scheme of things. In the end, having a wise, open mindset in relationships is paramount.
As someone who plans to have a great marriage, one must be ready to learn, unlearn, and relearn many things. It sharpens your mind and teaches you how to be a better spouse.
10. Surround yourself with the right people
More often than not, a person’s success depends on the people they associate with.
If you see yourself becoming that awesome husband or wife to someone, you must be ready to sieve your closest cycle and only retain those who expect or have achieved the same goal you seek.
It may sound hard, but it’s worth it.
There are people you don’t need around you if you desire to be a better spouse.
For instance: people that have no respect for the opposite sex; people that scorn faithfulness in marriage; people that are irresponsible and prefer being 50 and still getting free sex to getting married; and misogynistic and misandristic folks.
They aren’t outright being called bad people. But, you have a goal. That’s right! As far as your goal is concerned, they will make you lag or even cause you to fail.
Who, then, are the right people to keep around you? They are those who support you to reach your marriage goal either by word or action- friends who want to become better spouses. Very Simple!
As we’ve said before, married people who have the same results you seek can also constitute your company.
For learning how to be a better spouse, talk with them, ask questions. Be unreserved with them about your plans and aspirations, and put them in a position to always guide you with good advice on being a better spouse.
Work on yourself, invest in books and seminars that will make a badass husband/wife out of you, and set for the ride.
11. Launch into the deep – Get into actual practice
Real-life situations require real-life practice. As a single young person, one of the things that will help you gain experience is interacting with the opposite sex.
It doesn’t necessarily mean having sex with them.
I’d suggest deep but platonic friendships. Go out with them. Talk with them. Let them talk to and share. Try and see through them – to understand how things work in their world.
Eventually, you’re going to get into their world in marriage, so studying them and adapting to their most general character traits will be a million-dollar experience.
Aside from learning from the opposite sex, there is also another part of this practice. It’s the part where you have to be the one doing.
In other words, you aren’t just sticking around the opposite sex to learn things about them; you are doing things that make them feel great. By doing so, you develop yourself for a great future while they catch the fun.
Asking questions that convey care to the opposite sex and speaking words that appeal to their well-being are things every person should learn.
12. Prepare to meet an imperfect person
You should believe that your future spouse is imperfect, just as you are. No matter how much you’ve worked on yourself, you must create a space for their imperfection.
It’s funny how you may not discover everything about your future spouse while dating.
Research suggests that impatient individuals are more likely to experience divorce. So, keep an open mind. Learn to be patient because your future partner could probably come behind in some aspects of personality or character.
You must be prepared to become a persevering teacher if your marriage must be sweet. We grow with time; we get better with time. Make up your mind in advance to deal reasonably with the failings of your partner, if any.
Many of the sweetest marriages in the world have two key ingredients that garnish them- patience and good communication.
Do you think you’ve mastered patience and good communication? If yes, congratulations, but if no, then there’s still time to practice.
13. Listen to them
Whenever you both sit down to communicate, learn to listen, and not just to react to what is being said by the other person. Be patient and practice the art of listening. Sometimes, your spouse doesn’t want a solution but just wants to be heard to feel lighter.
Make sure you give them that space that they are able to open up in front of you.
14. Focus on the positive
Every relationship has its ups and downs. This does not mean the relationship is bad. Do not shun the relationship based on the negatives.
Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your relationship and why you chose to be with your partner in the first place. Once you start treating it as new love and work to smooth the creases in the bond, things will definitely fall back to normal.
15. Avoid criticizing
The world is enough of a critic, and if you are critical of your spouse’s life, it will only add negativity to the relationship. A marriage is where two people put their guards down and are just themselves.
So, avoid being critical of their ways and let them be comfortable around you. However, constructive criticism is always welcome.
16.Express your emotions
Being assertive helps you express your emotions. But, there’s more to it than merely being assertive. To express your feelings means being emotionally intelligent.
And this is something that can be learned for those who don’t already possess this trait. Marriage is filled with opportunities to practice emotional intelligence.
Expressing your emotions means being direct about both your negative feelings and your positive effect. Proper expressing your negative emotions doesn’t mean wracking your house in an angry fit.
Although you have the right to feel any way you feel, there are adequate and inadequate ways of handling your emotions. Similarly, to be the best spouse there is, you also need to learn how to express your positive emotions and affection.
Always remember it’s always you both together and not one against another. So, in case of fights or disagreements, don’t fight with each other but learn to resolve the issue and stop the matter from escalating.
Being a good spouse means you both must attack the problem, not each other.
18. It’s okay to apologize
You can learn how to be a better spouse and a person in general by accepting your mistakes humbly. If you have committed a mistake or are wrong, don’t hesitate to say sorry.
You can’t always be right in the relationship. Learn to accept your mistake and move on without bringing your ego in between.
19. Make your relationship a priority
Relationships often tend to fail when partners don’t put effort into the relationship and neglect it. When other things take priority in life and not the relationship, the bond weakens.
One of the ways of how to be a better spouse is to engage in a hobby that you both love so that you can spend quality time together. It could be a salsa class or just traveling together.
Take time out for fun because such lighter moments are what keep the relationship intact and add happiness to the relationship.
21. Face the marital issues
Every couple has one or the other issue in the marriage that they have to deal with. Learn to face these challenges and deal with them instead of withdrawing.
There could be times when one spouse comes up with a problem, and rather than discussing it, the partner simply shrugs off, saying they are too tired to talk about it at the moment.
Don’t be such a partner. Do not avoid conversations or ignore problems.
22. Do not let down in front of other people
You could be someone funny, but do not try to find fun in letting your partner down in front of them. Making fun of your partner in front of others is a sign of insecurity and ego.
If you think you have this habit, work on yourself lest it should leave a deep scar in your partner’s heart over a period of time.
23. Stay loyal and committed
On how to be a better spouse, this goes without saying- you should always be loyal to your partner. Loyalty is an important aspect of the relationship, and this is what everyone seeks in a relationship.
So, do not hurt your relationship by being disloyal. If you are not ready for the relationship, you should not consider getting into one in the first place but do not harm the sanctity of the bond by practicing infidelity.
24. Don’t bring up the past
Stop living in the past or talking about it, especially if it’s hurtful. You both definitely share a very beautiful relationship, and bringing up the past will only add hurt in the present moment.
The conversations will reach a dead end, and you both might end up mud-slinging each other.
25. Begin with the little things
As a potential awesome husband/ wife, you must learn to fragment your “spouse goals” into little pieces of personality and work activities as one of the primary keys of how to be a better spouse.
All those fractional goals sum up to make you that badass spouse on your mind.
You’d need to set financial, relationship, fitness, hygiene, and other character goals. Like the guy that’s given a hot temper, you can say, “I will not yell at people for the next month.”
Or, like the lady with a protruding belly that’s not from pregnancy, you can say, “I will hit the gym, lose these fats, and become super sexy.”
Everybody has different things they want to achieve that could be great pluses in their future marriage. It’s good to sit down, ponder them deeply, and set appropriate small goals.
They could be on finance, personal hygiene, character, etc. Remember that the little things in relationships constitute the big picture and that success in them will equal success as an excellent spouse.
What are you waiting for? Let’s get started already, shall we?
How to be a better spouse after 40
As we grow in age with our partner, the relationship dynamics tend to change, and we have to handle a relationship a lot differently than how we handled in our 20s or 30s.
With kids, extended family, old age all becoming an important part of our life, the relationship with our spouse might take a back seat.
However, this is the time when our spouse needs us the most. This is the time we should count on our spouse before anyone else because, with the onset of old age, they are the only ones sticking by our sides.
Here are a few ways of how to be a better spouse and take care of your relationship in your 40s.
Don’t expect a lot
Relationship dynamics change with time. So, make sure you give without expecting a lot in the relationship. One of the ways of how to be a better spouse, especially after 40, is by doing things for your spouse without making it transactional.
The romance in your marriage might die with age. However, this is not how you should leave the situation to be.
Make sure you still share the bed with your spouse, go to sleep together, and have the best cuddle moments. Keep the spark alive.
Practice emotional intimacy
You could be physically close to your partner, but it could die with time or have its period of on and off. However, emotional intimacy is what keeps the relationship going.
One of the ways of how to be a better spouse is considering the relationship as new, even after decades of living together. Continue complimenting and flirting with each other even after 40.
This will keep the relationship fresh and make your partner feel valued.
Surprise your partner
You might take your relationship for granted after so many years of togetherness. You might consider your partner knows your love for them and that you do not need to show it anymore.
However, this is not how it always works. You should continue expressing gratitude and surprising your partner with sweet notes and thoughtful presents every now and then.
No matter what, you must never stop working on your relationship.
Spend quality time together by laughing at each other’s jokes and having fun moments together. Do not take each other for granted but rather, find moments of sheer joy in each other’s company.
It is often noticed that spouses grow critical of each other with time. Make sure you are not that person and remain your cheerful, happy self around them.
Life comes with many challenges. So, remain honest with your spouse and tell them about the issues you are facing.
Your partner has known you for decades and they will definitely help you in remaining strong if you are honest with them.
If you are seeking answers to how to be a better spouse after your 40s, don’t let the adventure die. Go on trips, long walks, dinner dates and fun rides.
Have endless fun and you’ll be surprised to know new sides of your partner each time.
Many couples thrive prior to marriage, and just after signing a piece of document that legally binds the two of them, things start to fall apart.
Usually, at those moments, people blame the relationship; that it is because they got married that things turned for the worse, whereas the reality is completely different.
What happens is that the responsibility of and the expectations from a husband or wife is quite different from a boyfriend or girlfriend; that being the case, what usually happens is that the husband or wife starts to take things for granted. They start to lack in their show of attention or love or just get straight lazy.
This is usually the very first step in the path of destruction or dissolving of a relationship.
There’s a host of other things to practice that this article can’t exhaust. That’s right! So, every person must write down the things they need for how to be a better spouse.
All these warm-up practices will eventually contribute to your becoming a good spouse. Are you ready to practice?
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.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.