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We are told time and time again that marriage takes ‘work’. And if I’m being completely honest, it’s kind of exhausting hearing it all the time. It’s like people expect you to treat your marriage like a job, not something that builds you up and brings you joy.
But the ‘work’ we talk about with your marriage is more the little things. The things you can do each day to have a stronger marriage and a closer connection to your spouse.
This isn’t all about being stressed and feeling like you’re not doing enough. Even if you already have a strong marriage, these are things you can do that just make you feel good (plus, they’re fun to do too!).
Maybe you’re already doing these things, which is awesome! And if you are, perhaps the next time you do them, take a moment to really think about the action and be intentional with it. When you go in to cuddle your husband, think of how he feels in your arms and how that makes you feel.
Not only is it important that we take these actions, but it’s also important that we do them with good intention and take the time to focus on them, not just do them in passing.
So, here’s a few things you can do each day to strengthen your marriage, become closer to your spouse and to just help you feel good.
1 – Cuddle
How good does a cuddle feel? Seriously! Wrapping your arms around each other and just taking that moment to hide yourself from the world feels so amazing and is a brilliant way for you to connect with each other.
Often when our lives get busy, one of the first things we falter on in our relationships is physical touch. And, if your love language is physical touch, then you’re going to be feeling this one the most!
But, the key here isn’t just a quick cuddle, pat on the back and then dash off to what you were doing. It’s about stopping completely, focusing on each other and just enjoying the embrace. It doesn’t have to be a 5 minute cuddle. 30 seconds can be all it takes to hit the reset and just connect.
2 – Look Into Each Other’s Eyes
When was the last time you actually looked into each other’s eyes? I could be all ‘anti-technology’ and say that thanks to our phones we are more distracted than ever. But honestly, I feel that people just use technology as an excuse (unpopular opinion, but I’m sticking with it).
The next time you are talking to each other, make a point to look into each other’s eyes. The truth is, distraction is everywhere. It’s your choice to put blinkers up to the distractions and focus on each other.
Plus, it makes your heart all fluttery (in a non-cardiac emergency kind of way) when you see the spark in your husband’s eyes when he is looking at you.
3 – Have A Conversation
Let me be clear here, discussing who is going to clean up after dinner and who is going to wrangle the kids for their baths does not count as a conversation. Nor does asking if the bills have been paid or if the dog’s vet checks are up to date.
Sure, we talk to each other often throughout the day, but we need to make time for real conversation too. Conversation that is focused on each other, without distraction (or as limited as one can get with kids) and where you actually listen to each other.
If you need some inspiration, you can download 100+ Conversation Starters right here:
4 – Acknowledge The Difficulties The Other Is Facing
How often have you shared your struggles with your husband, only to have him respond with the struggles he is facing. Without even realising it, you create this competition of ‘who has it the hardest’ and neither of you receives any acknowledgement or help from each other.
Honestly, it’s toxic.
Sharing your difficulties isn’t about creating competition, it’s about being able to share the load so you don’t have to face these things alone – something that your marriage is supposed to do for you.
But, this takes practice and you both need to be on the same page. So the next time you share your struggles with each other (or when you just want to vent about a shitty day), actively listen to each other. Acknowledge the difficulties by saying something like ‘that sounds like it would be hard to deal with’ and encourage conversation by saying something like ‘how do you plan on handing that’? Of course, you can do this in your own way, but the point is to listen, acknowledge and not try to compete.
5 – Ask ‘Is There Anything I Can Do For You?’
One of the most powerful things you can ask your spouse is ‘is there anything I can do for you?’ We use this line in our marriage on a regular basis, often a number of times each day, and it’s a way to bring our support for each other to the surface.
Before one of us leaves the house, or before we take the kids somewhere, we will say ‘is there anything I can do for you before I go’ and it reminds each other that we aren’t alone. I don’t’ feel like I’m being left to deal with the morning chaos on my own when my husband goes to work because he has asked (and allowed enough time to help) if I need anything from him.
Often it can be as simple as ‘can you just wipe the kid’s faces’ or ‘can you bring something home for dinner’ and other times its ‘can you just give me a hug’.
Such a simple thing can build a stronger marriage and can help you feel like you really are in it together.
6 – Be Honest About How You’re Feeling
I know they say communication is key in a marriage, but effective communication is what is most important. And that includes communicating about the things that are meaningful and impactful on your life – such as how you’re feeling.
If you are feeling disconnected from your husband, tell him! If you’re feeling neglected, or overwhelmed, or unsupported, or burnt out – tell your husband, tell the one person who has promised to be there for you through all of it.
But, don’t just communicate the negative aspects. Be honest about how you’re feeling when things are good too. Express your love and gratitude, say thank you and share your happiness too.
It is alarming how many people who are preparing for divorce say that they didn’t even know anything was wrong. Stay strong by always communicating with each other in an honest way about how you’re feeling.
7 – Make Each Other Smile
Making each other smile not only makes you feel good, but it releases a whole heap of feel-good hormones in your body too, including oxytocin, aka the love hormone. It is a powerful hormone that helps us build connections and can make us feel euphoric. Why wouldn’t you want more of that in your life?
Do something each day that makes the other smile. This could be as simple as making them a coffee each morning, telling a funny joke or taking a few extra moments for kisses and cuddles. Making each other smile is incredibly powerful in building a stronger marriage.
Not only does this make us feel good, but it also helps ward off stress and literally reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Such a positive and simple thing to do each day.
When you’re wanting to take steps to strengthen your marriage, you don’t need to make it overly complicated. Start with the simple, daily actions that you can take to help build a stronger marriage and see what a difference these little actions can make.