The reality is that there aren’t any perfect marriages. Every marriage needs a little work.
All marriages are made up of two imperfect people who met, fell in love, and at some point made vows to stay committed to each other for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for as long as they both shall live.
While many of us want to improve our marriage, we don’t know where to start.
Here are six things you can do today to improve your marriage. These things do take a little extra time but they don’t require a complete overhaul of your relationship.
1. Give each other compliments every day
Give your spouse at least one genuine compliment each day. These can be general:
“You are fun to be with.”
It can also be specific:
“Thanks for helping out with the dishes last night and letting me go finish my project for work. You are always so thoughtful when it comes to things like this.”
Compliments help prime your mind to see the positive traits of your partner, instead of focusing on the negative. If you have allowed yourselves to get into a negative pattern, this will help break that pattern over time if practiced each day.
2. Express Affection
Expressing physical affection when you’re together is vital to feeling connected to each other. Hold hands. Hug each other before you leave in the morning and when you come back home in the evening. Kiss each other for at least six seconds at some point in your day. Dr. Gottman calls this a “kiss with potential.”
Think of these moments of affection as a way to let go of the minor stressors that have built up over the day. Imagine lacing your goodnight kiss with forgiveness and tenderness for your partner.
3. Schedule a Date Night
Schedule time that is relaxing and fun for both of you so you can stay connected to each other. Don’t use this time to work on the family budget or to tackle conflict in your marriage. Keep it fun. Make date nights a regular part of your marriage.
At West Ridge, we try and help make this a little easier for couples by offering, “Date Night.” Typically, one Friday a month we offer affordable childcare so that you and your spouse can enjoy a night out together.
Sign up here for our next Date Night on January 13.
4. Assess your relationship
We have partnered with Prepare & Enrich to help provide you with a tool called the Couple Checkup.
Married couples, engaged couples, or dating couples can take this assessment for a special price of $19.95 (regularly $35 – price available until February 14).
This ‘Couple Checkup’ will help you discover your strengths as a couple. Strengths are what enable you to enjoy and to continue developing a healthy relationship. It will also help you identify issues that are threatening the vitality of your relationship and may need to be addressed.
As a part of Prepare & Enrich You will receive a 15-20 page computer report, with your results broken down into relational categories. A discussion guide is also sent to help you interpret the results.
5. Discover your love language
Seldom do a husband and wife have the same primary love language. We tend to speak our primary love language and become confused when our spouse doesn’t understand what we’re communicating.
Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, you’ll have discovered an important key to improving your marriage.
6. Enroll in Rekindle (our marriage enrichment class)
Rekindle is a short-term marriage enrichment class focusing on God's design for marriage and practical skills for a healthy marriage. The class includes daily Bible study, weekly teachings, and discussion questions. Rekindle also helps couples develop skills like: communication, conflict resolution, personality, finances, and intimacy.
Rekindle will equip you for the journey to spiritual and relational healthiness. If you are interested in attending the group, instead of taking the couple checkup above enroll for the class here, and the leaders will send you a separate link to take the checkup.
If you feel that your marriage needs more help than the things stated above or you feel that you are headed for divorce, we encourage you to seek out one of our preferred Christian counselors for specific help related to your situation.
We are praying that 2017 will be the best year of marriage for you!