The difference between an ordinary marriage and an extraordinary marriage is in giving just a little ‘extra’ every day, as often as possible, for as long as we both shall live.
Marriages, much like Rome, aren’t built in a day.
Marriages are commitments, institutions, and partnerships that are forged slowly over time. They are built brick-by-brick and day-by-day. Some days are hard and some are easier. Some are pure bliss while others are days you’d rather not remember. But when you’ve committed your life to someone, you’re in it together, whatever each day brings.
And each day is so important. It is actually those everyday habits and rituals that add up to create a life and a lasting relationship. If you want to build a better marriage, you can improve it a little more with every day that passes. The world’s happiest couples know that it is these day-to-day actions that have the greatest impact.
Do you hope to strengthen your marriage? Here are six small things you can do every single day.
Spend real time together
Our lives are so, so busy. But your marriage is important and deserves time and attention—even if that’s only 15 minutes. At least once every day, take some time alone with your spouse to simply be together. Put down the electronics and really connect. For some couples, morning coffee is a great time to hang out together. Plus, it gets your day off to a beautiful, positive start. Could you wake up 15 minutes earlier to share a morning cuppa together?
Evenings are another possibility. When you’ve come home from work, it can be easy to just crash, but make an effort (however minimal) to genuinely connect with one another. If you like to unwind watching Netflix, no problem, do it together! Just get close and do some cuddling while you catch up on the latest episodes of your show. This physical contact has mucho benefits. Quality time doesn’t have to mean talking and it doesn’t have to feel forced. Just prioritize this time spent together and you’ll not only make it happen, you’ll love it too.
I am extremely thankful for my husband. I try to tell him or show him this whenever I can, but I often forget. Don’t we all? So we’ve made a habit to do this every night. Before going to bed we each tell each other one thing we appreciate about the other person or share something they do that we’re grateful for. It literally takes two seconds, but it’s a small way to strengthen our bond daily. It makes us feel good, too. Receiving an authentic compliment from your favorite person makes you glow. It is a confidence booster and a heart warmer. And most importantly, it reminds us every single day of what we are so blessed to have: one another.
Try to do one selfless thing for your partner
Our culture is really me-centric. There’s definitely nothing wrong with self care and self love (in fact these are essentials), but in a marriage or a relationship, putting the other person first is a necessary act. Sometimes we need to set aside our own desires and do something that is truly selfless.
Putting another person’s needs first can genuinely be difficult. Sometimes it is inconvenient, or it doesn’t feel good, or you have something else you’d rather be doing. Here’s a great example: Say your husband has to get up super early to catch a flight or go to work. At 4 am, when he gets up, you get up, too, and you pad out to the kitchen and put together a lunch for him. Sure, your self-sufficient husband could totally do this on his own, and you would much rather be asleep at such an ungodly hour, but isn’t it a lovely sacrifice? This kind of small, selfless act says “I love you enough to do this somewhat annoying thing.” And though it’s a challenge for you, this act speaks volumes to your husband.
This example is a fairly minor thing, but that’s exactly the point. While big sacrifices are amazing, you don’t have to move heaven and earth to do a selfless act for your partner every single day.
Take care of your own needs
Okay, back to your own needs. You really need to tend to these, and often FIRST. This isn’t selfish, in fact it is vital for you to be your best self. But here’s the thing, a loving spouse will understand, and if you’re regularly being selfless towards one another, it’s far easier to understand when someone needs time alone, a long bath, or an evening out with friends.
Taking care of your own needs means more than just spa days and journaling, though. It has a lot to do with your own emotions. We can’t depend on our partners to be everything for us. Yes, a spouse can provide comfort and support or be your cheerleader/sounding board/shoulder to cry on, but they’re only human. They may not always be able to be the strong rock you need.
Have you ever had a day from hell and started to talk to your wife about it? Here you are hoping for sympathy (and perhaps a shoulder rub) and she’s barely listening! She’s had her own awful day today, too. This is ok. Sometimes you’re both in a rough place. Sometimes you take turns being the strong one in the relationship. But getting angry and starting a fight won’t help anything. Instead, realize that it’s up to you to handle your own rough emotions today. It’s a give and take and sometimes it means being responsible for yourself, both for your own wellbeing and for the sake of your marriage. This is part of being an adult in relationships, and sometimes, it sure isn’t fun, but it is necessary.
Love your partner in the way they love to be loved
Just saying to “love your wife” or “love your husband” every day is a very vague piece of advice. You can be showing love all day long, but if it isn’t getting through to your spouse, it isn’t having the intended effect. Have you heard of The 5 Love Languages? This is an idea from a book Gary Chapman, and it suggests that each individual gives and receives love in five distinct ways. Learning which one works for your particular spouse is a vital part of the equation. For example, my love language is Words of Affirmation. I feel most loved when my husband verbally shares his feelings with me. I love being told “I love you” or “you’re beautiful,” and I adore receiving notes and cards. My husband knows this, and though Words of Affirmation is not his love language, he’s learned how to “speak” to me and love me the perfect way I want to be loved.
I highly suggest checking out the book. The concept of love languages is so simple, but it can really explain a lot about our unique differences in marriage.
Have fun together
Finally, make time to have serious FUN with your partner. Every day is ideal, but even weekly is good. How will you have fun? However you want! For us, going to one of our favorite coffee shops together is fun, or, if we have more time, going away on a trip! After all, sharing adventures together is one of the greatest ways to strengthen your marriage. Schedule regular date nights if you struggle to make time for fun, and don’t be afraid to try something new (here’s some date night ideas we love!). Even if you’re at home, you can have a blast cooking a quirky meal or watching hilarious YouTube videos. Oh, and adult fun is always a plus!