Marriage is hard work and at times you hit bumps in the road or find that you’ve lost the spark of years past. Never fear – even the happiest and most romantic of couples hit rough patches now and then. What makes relationships survive long-term is how couples overcome the hurdles and work together to improve their relationship.
In honor of Valentine’s Day and it’s important part of celebrating the love in your life, I wanted to share some relationship secrets and tips that can help build your relationship all year long. It can be easy to get caught up in the daily mundane routines and forget to care for your marriage, so consider small changes and choices that you can make starting today! If you love these, you might want to read this post I shared a few months ago today.
Let the Small Stuff Go
If your spouse is messy, squeezes the toothpaste in the middle, or some other minor annoying habit, just let it go. Consider how fortunate you are to have your honey by your side and what a small price it is to pay to be with the person you love. You can also be sure that you have a few annoying habits that drive them crazy too!
We live in such a busy age with tons of distractions. Cell phones, computers, kids, neighbors, and work seem to soak up most of our time. One of the most important gifts you can give to your spouse is your time. Respond positively when your husband reaches out to you, even if you aren’t feeling your best. People in happy, healthy relationships stay focused on the here and now as much as possible, instead of dwelling on things of the past or worrying about the future.
Show More Affection
As couples become comfortable with one another, they tend to be less affectionate. Every day, make an effort to show your partner affection. A simple touch, holding hands, or an affectionate look can mean so much. A hidden love note in an unexpected place, a casual photo of you two tucked into a purse or wallet, a surprise flower, gift, or dinner are great ways to show affection. Last week my husband surprised me with notes hidden all through the house. They made me feel special and let me know he cared, even when he wasn’t there with me.
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the events of your day, sharing random thoughts, dreams, and wishes, or even being a sounding board for your husband, communication is vital to a happy and successful relationship. Not every talk has to be on a serious topic, but regular communication is a must.
If you feel your communication skills are lacking, consider reading How We Love by Milan & Kay Yerkovich. My small group is studying this book together and I can tell you, it has changed how I view my marriage and how MY actions can change it. Remember, it isn’t so much about your spouse, you can’t change them. But you can certainly change yourself, so learn more about how your patterns of behavior were formed and what you can do to meet the needs in your relationship.
Work on Developing a Deeper Friendship
If you talk to couples who are in long-term relationships, they’ll tell you that not only are they partners, they are also friends. Spend time doing things you both enjoy while working towards deepening your friendship and you can’t go wrong. Men connect by “doing” activities – so why not find an activity to share with your husband? Hiking, golf, tennis, working out – the ideas are endless. Even if it is not your first choice, just do it!
Compliment One Another
It takes no effort to tell someone how beautiful, smart, or talented you think they are. Compliments don’t have to be mushy; they just need to be truthful. Be free with your compliments and you’ll both be glad you did. I bet if you gave compliments more freely to your husband, they may in fact come back to you more frequently too.
Agree to Disagree
Accept that relationships are not perfect and sometimes you will disagree. During these times, have an open mind and hear your husband out even if you disagree on the subject. By listening without interruption, you are showing them that you care. I’ve learned (the second time around) that disagreeing is just part of being a couple. You cannot possibly agree on everything and allowing it to rest sometimes is the best for everyone.
A marriage is like a two-way street where both spouses have to share in making it grow and become deep-rooted. Even the smallest gestures can make a big difference when you approach them with an open mind and a loving heart.
How can you express your love to your husband – even after Valentine’s Day?