The State of Your Union

12 practical ideas for improving your marriage

Continuing on the theme of resolutions/goals, (click here for the post) I have a question for those of you that are married.  How would you rate the “state of your Union” on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being “couldn’t be any better”?

I recently asked my guy of 36 years, and there was a long pause. “OK, awkward pause, honey.”

“Well,” he said, “I was thinking back over the year, and trying to come up with an average. I’d say 8.5.”

Whew.  We both agreed that we wouldn’t rate our marriage a 10, as there is ALWAYS something that could be improved. Then I gave my rating, and we talked about what could be improved.

The fairy tale myth

Though we love fairy tales and magical endings, the reality is, the relationships that live “happily ever after” are the ones that couples choose to work on.

 It is a myth that if you love someone, the relationship should just come naturally, effortlessly.

So, what if you chose to work on your marriage one month, as the ONE thing you focus on? Here are 12 ideas to add depth and fun to your marriage.  Choose 1 per month, or just choose a month to focus on your marriage and pick one idea from the list.

12 Ideas for improving your marriage:

  1. Start a marriage journal.  Write down something every day that you are grateful for in your marriage.
  2. Create a playlist together of your favorite songs–soundtrack of your life together.
  3. Plan a weekly date night. Doesn’t have to be expensive–but a regular time out together, especially if you have kiddos, provides a time to reconnect.
  4. Explore a new hobby or sport together.  You don’t have to enjoy all the same things, but having SOMETHING you enjoy doing together keeps the “fun factor” in your marriage.
  5. Serve together.  My mother wisely said that it takes something bigger than the two of you to keep a marriage working.  Is there something through your church, neighborhood, or community that you could join forces to lighten someone else’s load?
  6. Attend a marriage retreat or seminar.  There are so many opportunities to get away and work on your marriage.
  7. Read a book about marriage together.
  8. Write down things you do together on a card & place the cards in a jar or container, to be reviewed at the end of the year. This is obviously an all year thing, but a great way to remember the little things that make a life together.(Kudos to Dustin Wray for sharing this)
  9. Identify each other’s love language (see # 7, consider reading 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman) and focus on “speaking your spouse’s language” for a month.
  10. Spice up the bedroom. Have fun and explore ways to keep this intimate connection from becoming routine. I’ll leave this to your imagination and maybe another opportunity for #7 —Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Lehman is a great option.
  11. Caring days. It really is the little things that matter, so make it easier for each other, and make a list of 10 things that your partner does or you would like them to do, that make you feel special, cared for, thought about.  These should be simple things, and don’t need to cost anything. Your list could include some things that are bought, i.e. flowers, but keep those to a minimum.  Example: I feel special when you bring me coffee in bed, or I really like it when you put your arm around me when we are out in public. After making your lists, exchange them and choose something off the list every day for a month…keep adding to the list! This is a great way to add deposits to the love bank and keep it growing.
  12. Take a day or a weekend away and dream together. I’ve known couples that do this quarterly–so great if you can do that, but even a day away with no real agenda other than to reconnect and talk about the future, or have extended time to talk through an issue that’s unresolved really helps keep your relationship light on baggage. We tried to get away every year for our anniversary–it was a nice time to review the year, practice gratitude as we acknowledged progress in different areas and dream about the future.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas to keep tuning up your marriage, but there are so many more!

Question: What would you add to the list that has helped your marriage stay fresh and fun? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

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