I know what strain on a marriage feels like.
And it’s easy to see how the big stuff can damage a union.
But the true danger for many of us lies in the small things.
The day-to-day strain that comes with busy schedules, sick kids, work stress, unexpected bills, broken appliances and parenting growing children in new phases (hormones in the house, yo).
So, you know normal stuff.
In these seasons (and we all have them), there’s a tendency to let life lead you instead of the other way around. There’s the temptation to get everything else done and forget about each other. And when you do that, you feel the pulling in your marriage.
This year, I will celebrate being married for two decades. Crazy, since I’m still obviously so young.
There’s a lot of water under the old bridge. I have shared the best days of my life with this guy and also the very worst. And I’ve learned this one thing is true: every day is a new chance to make my marriage better.
Here are 3 things you can do today:
1. Connect :: It might sound basic, but with busy lives, parenting, jobs and life filling every hour of the day, it’s too easy to go an entire day or even week without connecting with your spouse.
- Don’t go to bed without asking your husband or wife about their day.
- Wait for them to answer. Last week I heard on the radio that you should wait 30 seconds after you ask your husband a question without saying a word. It’s harder than I thought it would be.
- Turn off the late night TV shows and communicate. You might be surprised what your spouse will say if you ask them.
2. Compromise :: Oh, yes. This. Even after so many years together, this is still what keeps peace. We are two totally different people and we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything (or anything some days).
- You don’t have to agree on everything. We don’t. Just last week we were on opposite sides and we agreed to disagree.
- Love despite your differences.
- Don’t pick or nag or insist on your way.
- Compromising on the small stuff has a huge impact on your marriage. You don’t have to win every argument or be right about everything. Getting along for the long haul is about meeting in the middle.
3. Care :: If a friend needs a favor, I try to be there. It’s often easier to care for a sick neighbor or show love to a girlfriend than it is to show kindness to our spouse. Being kind, going the extra mile for our partners speaks volumes of love.
- Be nice.
- Be quiet. I’m bossy and sometimes it’s better to just hush.
- Do the little things. I noticed recently my husband filled up my car with gasoline and plugged in my phone to charge when I forgot. These little things show just how much he loves me and it makes me want to care for him in the same way. If we make it our goal to show kindness to our husbands as we do others, they will notice.
The relationships in my life are good. But I long to make them better. Sometimes the most profound way to do this isn’t as complicated as we might think. Sure, sometimes we just need a good old fashioned counseling session. I’m certainly not against getting help when we need it, but often we can turn the tide in our marriage by simply treating our spouse like we want to be treated.
It turns strain into something stronger.
It works for me!