Small Habits That Will Make a BIG Impact On Your Marriage
Long before we stood before each other, dressed in our finest, and spoke vows in front of our friends and family; Kevin and I made a promise to each other that divorce would never be an option. We both were raised in homes that were deeply affected by divorce and neither of us were even willing to give ground to a back door the led out of our marriage.
At the time we made this promise to each other, we had no idea the battle we would have to fight to keep it all together through financial struggles, raising children, career and work challenges, outside forces on our marriage, and how strong the temptation to quit when life became overwhelming could get.
In the same way that we had no idea how challenging marriage was going to be, we also had little idea how amazing it truly could be. My favorite time of the day is when I am just about to wake up and Kevin reaches over and takes me in his arms so that we can wake up together. There is nothing like always having someone to bounce ideas off of, laugh and cry with, or having someone to cheer you on from the corner of life’s ring. I love that he is even sexier to me now than he was when he was 24 and he is still love blind enough to believe the same about me. For us, marriage means having a built in best friend 24/7.
Every marriage is just as unique as the people who form the union. It has dimensions, personality, and quirks. Even with all that uniqueness, there are some universal qualities that can be applied. In many marriages all over the country, there have been invisible barriers, built up through the years. The blocks that make up those walls are made up of small frustrations that have multiplied over and over, creating huge issues. There are also some small daily habits that can work to keep those barriers low and increase the intimacy in your marriage, so that it works the way that God intended it.
These small habits aren’t huge or complicated. They aren’t earth shattering. They are merely daily acts that can keep your marriage a top priority in your life. These things may seem inconsequential, but small actions over time can lead to a big impact!
Greet Your Partner Lovingly In The Morning: Whether you are a morning person or not, there is still room for a deep appreciation that you both get to see another morning together. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for a new day and then greet your mate. You don’t have to be able to think or put sentences together in order to smile, snuggle, or give a thorough kiss (once the teeth are brushed of course).
Send an “I’m Thinking of You” text throughout the day: My whole day can turn from sour grapes to candy apples with one “I miss you”, “I love You”, or one “I’m thinking about you” text from Kevin. Not only does it let me know that I am on his mind, it also lets me know that I am important to him. Tell you spouse what you appreciate about them, that you can’t wait to see them, or just speak words of love from your heart. Set yourself a daily reminder on your phone and when it alerts you, send that special text.
Get Physical: Connection through hugging for at least 20 seconds releases oxytocin throughout your body. Touching forms bonds and speak a nonverbal language. It releases hormones and lowers blood pressures. Touch nurtures feelings of intimacy and trust. Hold hands, rub their back, stroke their leg, when you pass by them in the kitchen or the bathroom- let them know you are there with a soft touch. Before you fall asleep at night, lay your head over their heart and just listen to them breathe. When you behave in a loving manner, your feelings of love will deepen.
Daily Download: Create a habit to share a download of your day. Make this a time of true connection for you and your spouse. We learned this lesson from a parenting program we studied when our kids were very young. Through the years, this concept has looked very different then it does today, but it has helped us stay connected. We have made it a daily priority to not just talk, but to communicate the things we were successful at or challenged by- What we are learning, reading, or dreaming about. We talk about the needs we each have and how we can better support each other. When we first started dating, it was nothing for us to spend two hours or more on the phone (and neither one of us is really a phone person), we loved talking and learning from each other. Once life got busy, somehow talking to each other was more like “can you pick up a gallon of milk” or “don’t forget we have that thing on Tuesday at 8:00” until we made communication a part of our daily routine. Today, Kevin has a 25 minute drive home. We use that time for our daily download. The whole world gets shut out and it is just him and me. I cannot tell you how much of a difference this has made in our relationship.
Have fun together: Before you had a mortgage or car payment, before the kids, before the aging parents-What did you crazy kids do for fun? Ladies, what are your husband’s interests? Men, what hobbies could you and the wife do together? When was the last time you went out and had fun together? Laughed together? The key is to make “us” time a top priority. It doesn’t have to be every week. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It only needs to be something that will bring laughter and a lightness back to your marriage.
Speak Words of Appreciation: I am speaking from an honest place here, it is so easy for me to overlook the contributions my husband makes for our family. Often, I can only “see” those contributions from the eyes of someone who has cooked, cleaned, worked, and shepherded children all day. In those moments, I am merely focused on what I have done-not on what he has done. It takes a razor sharp focus for me to really see all the ways Kevin contributes to our family, the small gestures he makes to show his love, and to verbalize the words of appreciation for them. Words of affirmation are my lowest love language, but it is something that is really important to build Kevin up and to let him know that I am not taking him for granted.
Learn Your Partner’s Love Language: I mentioned words of affirmation are my lowest love language in the above paragraph. Each of us are hardwired to give and receive love in different ways. When I first studied the love languages it opened up a world of new ways Kevin and I could directly speak love in way that we each would really understand. If you have never studied the concept of love languages, I highly recommend it. This single concept could be the one thing that brings those barriers, that may have built up, crumbling down. Here is the book that teaches what the 5 love languages are, how to speak them, and will help you identify them in you and your mate.
Pray, Pray, Pray: It is amazing what this simple act can do for your marriage. Only God can bulletproof our marriages. He can turn a horrible marriage into a great one. He can turn a great marriage into a powerful marriage. Do not pray in an attempt to have God “fix” your spouse, but to have God do a work in and through your marriage to transform you both, into better version’s of yourself. If you do nothing else on this list, do this one.
Bar the exits and lock the door’s. Convince yourself that your marriage is worth your effort! Learning to be good help mates to each other takes work and intention, but man oh man is it ever worth it. Success is always just over the hill. Keep working at it.
Do you have a habit that you use to keep the magic in your marriage? If so, please share it in the comment section below.