There are simple steps we can take to have a great marriage.
I had a good marriage for a lot of years. We loved each other. We worked as a team in raising our kids, leading our church, and running the house. Life ran smoothly for many years, because we each had our roles and did our part.
Yet, slowly life became the roles we filled, and our focus slipped from husband and wife to mom and dad. Our relationship reverted to autopilot…and we let it. After all, it was trouble to find a babysitter, and not to mention expensive. We were tired from work and raising kids. It wasn’t that we had a bad relationship; we just had a stagnant relationship. Not pursuing the other became normal. Our hearts grew distant. Nothing was terribly wrong, but it was on a path to get there. This path can lead us to believing lies in our marriage.
Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, this has become normal in the American family. Autopilot, distance, disconnection. Go through the motions. The kids will grow, work will slow down, and life will get easier. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Let me let you in on a secret, there will never be a good time to go out of your way and pursue your spouse. There will always be another reason not to.
Let’s look at 5 steps that we can do now to improve our marriages.
How to Go from a Good Marriage to a Great Marriage
1. Simply do something…anything to connect.
Meet them at their level. What do they love? Is it coffee shops, Hobby Lobby, book stores, or Home Depot? Plan an out-of-the-blue trip there. “Hey babe, I was thinking about you and saw this new book shop downtown. Let’s go pick you out a new book.” So simple and goes a long way!
2. Find something you both love to do together, and make it a regular.
Let me go ahead and clarify, I am not referring to sex. You want to make sure they don’t think you are “only doing this for sex.” I know a couple who makes every Saturday morning a coffee date at a local shop. If you have young children and can’t do this, consider making a coffee date on the porch while the kids are inside. Don’t be surprised if your spouse is suspicious of your intentions at first. If there hasn’t been pursuit in the relationship for awhile, sudden pursuit seems out of the ordinary. Stick to it! Their heart will soften as they see that you are genuine with this gesture.
3. Learn your spouse’s love language.
Gary Chapman has found there are 5 love languages and we each usually have two main ones. And here’s the kicker, ours and our spouses aren’t usually the same! It’s normal to love someone the way we want to be loved. In other words we love in the love language that we have. But what happens when our spouse speaks a different love language? Then our messages aren’t being understood. When we learn our spouse’s love language, we can give love well. Typically, that means they begin to “see” how much we love them, and they become open to positive change in the relationship.
4. Be happy to see them when they come home.
I know the day has been incredibly challenging and all we want is some help. We see the husband walk in the door and think, “Oh good, finally some relief.” We shove the kid in his arms and leave the room. What message did we just send? And no judgement here, because Lord knows, I’ve done this. I also have felt very resentful when he didn’t want to help; “How dare he walk in from a long day of work and not immediately offer to take the children and let me go take a bath!!!” Let’s pause from the roles for a moment and just be happy to see each other. An, “I missed you” or “I’m glad you’re home” helps communicate we thought about them, and they were missed. It’s simply a small point of connection.
5. Find one thing to complement or thank them for daily.
From their hair, to their shirt, to the grass getting cut. It doesn’t even matter what exactly it is. The point is to connect and train your own heart to look for the positive in your spouse. It’s so easy to see the disappointments and the failures. Anyone can find dirt, but it takes being intentional to dig for the diamonds. Be a diamond finder, not a dirt finder. There is little value in the dirt!
It is wonderful when both spouses are taking these measures to connect with the other. Truthfully, their is usually a point in marriage where it’s only one person doing the work. This can be painful, because we all long to be pursued and loved well. Find your resolve, and implement these simple steps to increase connection. Give it two months, and see where you are. Even when a spouse’s heart is cold, these steps done consistently can warm them up and create positive change in your marriage.
You may also like Lies We Believe in Marriage and The One Single Word that Stops Almost Every Fight.