All marriages have ebbs and flows, moments of deep connection, and moments of conflict. You might not have wanted to think about this on the day you took your vows, right?
When you said “I do,” you probably imagined a long, calm stream of happy love, home, and hearth-building, with awesome children and a picture-perfect life.
Hopefully, most of your marriage has been more ups than downs. Regardless of where you are in the cycle of married life, there are always ways to make your marriage better.
Life is about personal growth, and making marriage better is part of that personal growth. Let’s look at some enjoyable steps to building a better marriage.
Tips to have a better marriage
Making marriage better is not about a one-time event.
Sure, you and your spouse would enjoy a surprise getaway to that resort you’ve been dreaming about in Hawaii. And who wouldn’t love to come home to an amazingcandlelight dinner for two, kids stashed away at grandmas?
But the reality is, if you are genuinely invested in making the marriage better, you need to practice habits. Habits that you will use daily, weekly, monthly. To build a better marriage, these habits need to be applied consistently. Without that, they hold no strengthening power.
How to improve your marriage
Let’s talk about sex. If you are like most married couples, your lives are super busy. Between children, careers, aging parents, and social commitments, your sex life has likely dropped off from what it was in the early days of your relationship.
It is essential to pay attention to the physical side of your relationship, because not only is that one of the best benefits of married life, sex is the glue that can strengthen a relationship that might be seeing a decrease in its connectivity.
Here’s some good news: you don’t need to have quality, earth-shattering sex every time. So think again the next time you turn to your partner and say there isn’t enough time to get down and dirty. Just a quickie, or some tight cuddles, or some mutual stroking still counts as sex!
Instead of taking 10 minutes to scroll through your social media sites, use those 10 minutes to get naked and love on each other.
1. Move together
Researchers have found that couples who take walks together report higher marital satisfaction than couples who do their separate power walks.
For a better marriage, take a daily stroll. Not only does walking help you stay in shape, but your shared activity promotes conversation.
Use this time to share your day or talk about upcoming projects. Just a 30-minute daily walk together can promote better health and improve your marriage!
2. The importance of play
One thing that sometimes gets lost in a long-term marriage is the playful aspect of your early dating days. Remember when you sent silly memes, or shared dumb jokes, or laughed at each other’s imitations of, say, politicians?
Why not order some fun onesies for the next time you are planning a Netflix weekend. Seeing your spouse all cozy in his fox onesie will make you laugh and make you feel closer.
3. Boost each other’s each day
An easy and positive way to make your marriage better is to voice your admiration to your spouse.
Everyone likes to have the light shine on them, and telling your spouse how proud you are when they mention a goal they’ve just met at work, or when you watch them help your child with their homework can go a long way to strengthening your marital happiness. Be each other’s biggest admirers!
4. Take a stroll down memory lane
Couples who talk glowingly about how they met are more likely to be happy in their marriage. From time to time, take out your photo albums or scroll back on your Facebook timeline and look at pictures from years ago.
The memories and laughter will be warm and rich, and you’ll end up feeling just a little closer for having relived these precious moments together.
5. Be a good listener
Nothing makes you feel closer to a person than knowing they truly hear from you.
When your spouse is talking to you, be present and attentive. Don’t be checking your phone, even if a message has just come in.
Don’t be prepping dinner, or half-watching your favorite series. He wants you to hear what he is saying, so turn towards him, look him in the eyes as he speaks, and acknowledge that you are listening by nodding or merely saying, “ Go on. What happened next?”
Also, if they are venting, you don’t need to try and offer up solutions (unless they ask for some.) Merely saying that you understand is often enough.
6. Ask how you can do better
A great question to ask which will help improve your marriage is this one: “Tell me what you need more of.”
It is a simple question that can open up a pleasant conversation, where you exchange honest words about what you would like to see more of from your partner.
The answers can be so revealing, from “I need more help with the household chores” to “I’d love it if we could try some new erotic things in the bedroom.” Whatever the response is to “Tell me what you need more of,” you can guarantee that it will help make your marriage better.
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.