I saw this link-up topic recently with Shay and Erika‘s “Workin’ It Wednesdays” and knew it was right up my alley! I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed learning how other married couples are being intentional about keeping their marriages happy and strong, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and contribute to the conversation a bit.
Our relationship leading up to our wedding was anything but traditional since we were long distance from our first blind date (February 2008) until a month after our first wedding anniversary (February 2012). Just typing that sounds so crazy! Four years of long distance before we’d ever spent more than eight straight days together. Such a leap of faith, but one that we were very confident taking. When ya know, ya know!
We’ve had our fair share of hurdles and issues – big (!) and small – that we’ve had to work really hard to overcome, but I’ve always said that one thing that feels so secure about marriage is that our only option is to work it out, get over it, and learn from it. We’re in this for life, baby!
I quickly jotted down a few things Jamie and I both do (or have done) to work on our marriage and keep it in good shape. It didn’t take me more than a couple minutes to identify a few things that we intentionally do to continue growing our marriage in a happy, healthy direction.
7 Ways To Work on Your Marriage
I realized when I made this list that it’s all about the little things that you would never normally write home or talk about. Those little “I see you and your needs/wants/etc” moments are everything.
- We try to help each other when the other is truly tired, mentally or physically. For example, he often gets up early on Saturdays and Sundays with the girls so that I can get a couple extra hours of sleep and wake up on my own. He also really appreciates it when he’s had a long day and I take care of packing his breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day (he also thinks I pack him way better stuff than he would think to prepare and pack for himself – ha.)
2. We spend money on babysitters about once a month, even if it’s only for a few hours.
3. I asked him plain and simple one day what makes him feel welcomed home versus what overwhelms him when he walks in the door, because I was trying to clean and have dinner ready and and have an empty sink, yadda yadda yadda and I just couldn’t keep up with all of these self-imposed expectations with two kids at my feet. I needed to know what was important to him and what I could let go. He told me that I don’t have to do any of those things and that they don’t stress him out at all, but it does make him really happy to come home and eat dinner. So I make him dinner almost every single night, even if it’s just a grilled sandwich or a bowl of pasta that’s sitting in the microwave. Even if I’m eating dinner out with a girlfriend or something, I still sometimes enjoy making him something so that that’s one less thing he has to think about when he gets home. Maybe this sounds crazy to some people, but the way to my husband’s heart is often through his stomach. 😉
4. We communicate, and I talk things out to death until they’re fixed. And he listens. We sometimes don’t communicate in the most effective or “right” ways, but we communicate regardless and try not to let anything – big or small – fester. Jamie does not like when I “snowball” issues and constantly bring them back up. He likes to fix things and move on without worrying that things will get grouped together and brought back up in the future when something else totally unrelated goes awry. I totally agree with him because I don’t like when people do this either, even though I’m the queen of it sometimes.
5. It’s taken five or six years to learn (though we’re always learning), but the small things always mean a lot to both of us. One day last month he brought me home my favorite Halo Top ice cream and I gave him a fancy new shaker cup that I’d picked up while grocery shopping. We were both happy campers that night because we both got something we liked without asking.
6. We both work to maintain good relationships with each other’s families. My mom has always said that the key to a relationship with your married child is to treat their spouse right. I appreciate that advice! Jamie enjoys going out and getting pizza and beer with my dad every time they’re together, and I’ve spent tons of time with Jamie’s family, even when he’s deployed. Family is important to both of us, so we try to keep those relationships a priority.
7. We both share the same faith and try to incorporate this into as many aspects of our marriage as we can, but this is admittedly a tough one at times (though you think it would be easy). Praying at meals, praying together, encouraging each other to do daily quiet time in the Word, attending church, etc. During our rockiest moments, our faith has been one of the only things that’s held us together and seen us through (especially during a separation via a deployment).
What would you add to this list? What do you and your spouse do to work on your relationship?