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7 Remarkably Simple Things You Can Do to Uplift Your Marriage

Sometimes the daily pages of motherhood read a little bit like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure stories, don’t you think?

You are deeply entrenched in a day of parenting. As it nears its end, you take the baby to get a new diaper and immediately hear a CRASH! You bolt into the kitchen only to find a two-year-old, an empty cup, and a milk-covered floor. As you mop up the mess, the baby starts to cry because he just wants to be held and the other two start screaming because they both want to read the exact same book. In this moment, mop in hand, you see your husband walking toward the front door, home from a long day of work.

If you greet him with a smile and a hug despite the chaos, turn to page 7.

If you hand him the mop and offer a snarky reply about how great your day has been, turn to page 9.

The Great Marriage Adventure:
Choose to Love Well

You’ve already chosen the adventure of marriage. You’re in it.

And now that kids are in the mix? Well, chances are, those vows are being tested.

The vast majority of your daily energy is spent tending to your tiny people. You feed them, clothe them, correct them, encourage them, snuggle them, and love them with nearly everything you have.

And then sometimes, if you’re like me, you forget that there is an entirely other person in your family who needs to feel your love. Your husband.

I totally get it. It’s hard to make marriage a priority in this season of 3 a.m. wake-up calls, diaper blowouts, and the constant preschool chatter, but this is actually the time when your marriage needs you most.

After all, if we don’t fight for our marriages, then who will?

And I do mean fight. There are days when you have to make an active choice to do this marriage-thing well and to love your husband (with the good and the bad).

With that in mind, here are seven remarkably simple things you can do to uplift your marriage (even when you’re running on very little sleep!).

IMPORTANT!! It takes two to fight for a strong marriage. This article is written to wives, but that doesn’t mean husbands are off the hook! These seven things should be practiced by BOTH sides of the bed!

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #1:
Say, “I’ll Do It.”

It’s so easy to keep score in marriage isn’t it?

  • Number of diapers changed.
  • Last to take out the trash.
  • Whose turn it is to get up early.

But here’s the thing about keeping score: If you do it, there’s a hidden guarantee that you’ll never win.

You can’t. Someone is always going to mop the kitchen floor or clean the bathroom more times. There’s just no way around it.

There’s good news though: Sacrifice will go much further in your marriage than an even scorecard. It will communicate that you care more about your husband than who does the most chores.

Now, of course responsibility shouldn’t all fall on one person, but if you stop keeping tallies of the number of dishes you’ve washed, I think you’ll find yourself more focused on the important and lasting things.

You can practice this one the next time you catch the scent of a dirty diaper toddling past you. All you have to do is replace, “Your turn,” with a smiling, “I’ll do it.”

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #2:
Give “Grace Space.”

The idea here is that you married a human being–another imperfect person with his own downfalls and mannerisms. In their book, No More Perfect Marriages, Mark and Jill Savage describe “Grace Space” like this:

“Grace Space happens when we allow another person to be human, to make mistakes, to be imperfect, and to have their own idiosyncrasies. When we give grace, it is an internal decision to forgive and a choice to let something go without addressing it.”

I’d like to add that it is your willingness to assume the best.

  • Think about those things your husband does that really get under your skin.
  • He’s constantly leaving lights on in our house!
  • I always have to remind him to take out the trash!
  • He just leaves his clean clothes in the laundry basket instead of putting them away!
  • He refuses to put the toilet seat down!

Done? Okay, next step: No More Perfect Marriages encourages you to ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Does this hurt me or just irritate me?
  2. Does this need to be corrected or simply accepted as part of being married to an imperfect person?

Chances are, your husband isn’t leaving the lights on to spite you. He’s not leaving the toilet seat up because he loves it when you fall in. It’s more likely that he’s got a lot on his mind and just forgot. Give him some grace, and it will go a long way.

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #3:
Stop. Look. Listen.

I have a confession. (We’re friends, right?)

The other day, Jake (my husband) came home from a long day at work. Our kids were already in bed, and I was sitting in some much-needed silence on the couch. He walked in the door, and, rather than greet him warmly, I didn’t even look up from my phone. I didn’t even look up! I said a quick hello and then just kept right on doing what I was doing. [insert face palm emoji]

The problem was that I inadvertently communicated to him that I was indifferent about his arrival home. I made him feel like I wasn’t happy to see him because I was so wrapped up in what I was doing at the time.

Mark and Jill once again speak directly to this mistake: When your spouse comes home or enters a room you’re in, stop what you’re doing.

Put down your phone.

Pause the show.

Close the computer screen.

Walk away from what you’re doing and make direct eye contact. Look at him.

Then listen. Ask about his day or what he has been doing and then listen to his response. Engage fully.

It’s that easy.

Plus, it will communicate that he is important to you. You will build his confidence and remind him that he matters with your body language.

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #4:
Speak His Love Language

Do you keep telling your husband how much you love him with your words but feel like you’re not really getting through? Well, it may be that you’re speaking your own love language instead of his.

In his book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Gary Chapman suggests there are 5 main ways we show and receive love: (This has been HUGE in my marriage!)

  1. Quality Time
  2. Words of Affirmation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

Chances are, your husband doesn’t feel loved in the same way as you, and our wires get crossed when we don’t know exactly what the other needs. If you’re leaving little love notes all around the house (a wonderful gesture, certainly) when really what your husband needs to feel loved is some meaningful physical touch, you’re going to have an emotional disconnect..

Thousands of love notes aren’t going to reach him quite like a kiss you really mean will.

Thankfully this is easily straightened out.

Find out his love language, using this free quiz and then learn how to speak it fluently!

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #5:
Be Word Conscious

I sound like a broken record every day as I remind my kids to, “Say please” or “Use kind words,” and yet, so often I don’t heed my own advice in my interactions with my husband!

I think often of the Proverb that says rash words will cut like a sword whereas wise words bring healing. Our words have great power, don’t they?

Here are a few small things you can do to use your words well:

  • Be courteous. Say “Please” and “Thank you”.
  • Apologize when you’re in the wrong. Say, “I’m sorry,” and also, “Will you forgive me?” Humility has the power to build strong bridges.
  • Use “I statements” instead of starting sentences with “You”. “I feel frustrated when you forget to text me” will be much better received than “You never text me when you leave the office!”
  • Avoid all inclusive statements. “Never” and “Always” are hardly ever true, and usually just start a new inflamed argument!

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #6:
Say the Good Things

This one almost seems too obvious, but in the season of correcting small children, I find that I often have to remind myself to say the good things too.

  • Did your husband get the kids dressed? Tell him how much you appreciate his help.
  • Is your husband having a long week at work? Send him periodic text messages to remind him how much you love him.
  • Did he put gas in your car? Thank him for all he does for you.
  • Is it just a random Tuesday? Stick a note in his car, so he knows you’ll miss him while he’s gone.

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple, encouraging word, phrase, or sentence.

Remarkably Simple Marriage Tip #7:
Stay Friends

Time is a scarce commodity when kids are in the mix. And once bedtime hits, you’ve got a few options of how you choose to spend those kid-free hours. You could either A.) Be intentional about the time you get to spend together or B.) Fall asleep watching Netflix again.

Now there’s certainly nothing wrong with Option B, but if you’re spending every single evening together zoned out in front of the television, it’s probably time to spice things up.

Resist the urge to say, “There will be time again once the kids are gone.” That’s too long to wait.

What are you going to do today? Here are a few simple ways you can connect and stay friends:

  • Have in-home dinner dates. Feed the kids separately and while he’s getting them ready for bed, order takeout and light a few candles at your table. Enjoy a meal together without being interrupted every 7 seconds.
  • Talk to each other. Keep asking questions and getting to know each other. It sounds cheesy, but something like this simple tool might be just what you need to enhance your communication.
  • Share hobbies. Find things you can do together that don’t involve staring at some kind of screen. Teach yourselves how to play a new game (maybe an awesome old school game like this one or something that requires a little more thought and strategy). Plan out some new spring landscaping for the front yard. Paint a picture together.
  • Get out of your house. Alone. If possible, find time monthly to get away from your house. Recruit a family member or hire a babysitter to hang out with your kids, and leave the premises for a few hours.

Marriage:
Choose the Adventure

Nobody said this marriage thing would be easy. It’s work that requires sacrifice and the choice to love your husband each day.

I know you’re tired. I know you feel like you haven’t slept through the night in three years, and I know you’re exhausted by the constant demands of motherhood.

But I also know that you’re still reading this. You want to live this marriage adventure well.

So, pick one thing. Choose one way to uplift your marriage, and do it today.

  • Tell him you appreciate him.
  • Hold back unnecessary criticism.
  • Fix his favorite meal.
  • Kiss him and mean it.
  • Get a babysitter and plan a surprise date night.

Even if you start small, the life-long marriage implications will be huge! The choice is up to you!


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