I am sure you have been married longer than I have. In fact, I have only been married for one year and two months. One year and two months seems like a really long time until I remember my parents have been married more than 25 years. How have they accomplished that? In our world today marriages don????????t usually last that long. Now, I wish to give five ideas that can keep your marriage fresh, moving and progressing. Here????????s my list:
1. Frequently go on dates:
My wife and I budget enough money every month so that we can go out together at least one night a week. I will be honest and say that we still don????????t have kids so this is an easy accomplishment for us. No need for a babysitter, no time limit, no worries. For some of you, the idea of going out on dates may seem difficult. It really isn????????t. You don????????t have to go out every week. Start out with an easy goal. Something like once a month. Plan with your husband ahead of time so that you can make all the needed preparations. I guarantee that you won????????t regret the time, money and effort it requires to have some one-on-one time with your spouse.
Remember: Dates don????????t have to be expensive! You don????????t always have to go to dinner and a movie, or go see an expensive musical production. Go on a walk to the local ice-cream shop. Find a river or creek and skip rocks. Just find time to be ALONE together!
2. Don????????t always tell…SHOW:
This could be the most important thing of all. Just a couple of weeks ago my wife and I were driving to my parents house for Sunday dinner. I looked at her and told her how much I loved her. She looked over at me and said something that I will never forget…??????You tell me you love me too much.??????
I was shocked. I couldn????????t believe what she was saying. How could any girl say that? I have thought about that conversation a lot and have come up with this…when is the last time I SHOWED her that I loved her? It is one thing to tell somebody you love them and it is a completely different thing to show them your love. Show your spouse your love!
Remember: This doesn????????t have to be hard. You don????????t have to buy your wife flowers everyday after work. Or cook elaborate and fancy meals every night for dinner. I am talking about simple things like surprising your wife by making the bed. Offer to watch the kids so your spouse can take a nap. Or giving your spouse a call from work just to tell say you were thinking about him. Just show your spouse you are in love!
3. Work together:
It seems that there is always a dominant figure in every relationship. I am sure that one of you is in charge of paying the bills, watching the kids, cooking dinner and keeping things clean while the other is in charge of complaining about the bills, playing with the kids, doing the dishes and keeping up the yard. It seems human nature and strategy to split up daily tasks. This strategy may be effective at work, at school and with friends, but it isn????????t with your spouse!
You need to have a common task list. Things you work together on. Work together on the budget and bills. Help your spouse make some meals. Weed together. Clean together. Now, don????????t get me wrong. Some things are impossible to do together. You aren????????t going to go grab the lawn mower and walked nested with each other around the yard. All I am suggesting is that you, when possible, work together with your spouse to complete common, daily tasks. You won????????t regret it.
Now, this might sound extremely basic but it is so important. I have seen so many relationships and marriages fail because they simply failed to communicate. As we establish daily routines we can find ourselves going to work, coming home, eating dinner, watching TV, working in the yard and hitting the hay. How much do you talk to your spouse during each of those activities?
A couple of months ago my wife and I realized that, sure, we were spending time together but it definitely wasn????????t quality. We realized that we were so obsessed with watching Netflix and other programs together that we simply weren????????t talking. Since then, we have tried to find ways to have better communication. I admit, I am the worst culprit of not wanting to have long elaborate conversations with my spouse at the time. It isn????????t always interesting to hear about the latest sale at Macy????????s or the most exciting new recipe. But it is interesting to my wife which automatically makes it important to me. It is a hard thing to do, but with practice we can develop the talent of talking.
5. Be willing to lose:
Again, it goes against human nature to lose. Who likes to lose arguments? Or not get to choose where you eat for dinner? Or not be able to pick how much money you spend on a new car? Nobody. But somebody always has to lose. Now, you don????????t always have to lose, but sometimes you should. Let your spouse win an argument. Let your spouse pick where you eat or the budget for the new car. Or better yet, compromise on each of those things.
One of the hardest things for me when we were first married was the disagreement. We quickly learned that we don????????t agree on a lot of things. Over the last year I have learned that most of our disagreements are over trivial things like: what we will name our first child, or who to hang out with or even what to buy at the grocery store. Let????????s all get over the trivial things and work together to make things work. Really, being willing to lose is closely tied into working together.
Forget yourself, remember your spouse!