It’s all about the little things. My mother-in-law pulled me aside and told me. It was a few days before my wedding and we were neck deep in planning and obsessing over all the details. It seemed like such a simple thing to say–I mean, I was expecting her to impart some great gems of knowledge learned from 20 plus years of wedded bliss and here she was, with a soft smile on her face, telling me that the best way to better your marriage was to focus on the little things. Not going to lie, I was a little nonplussed at the time! But four years later, I wholeheartedly agree with her sentiment.
Ask any military spouse or LDR couple and they’ll probably tell you that it is indeed the “little things” they miss the most during their spouse’s absence. Things like bringing the trash out to the curb, brushing snow off your car before you leave for work, or making you a cup of coffee in the morning seem pretty minuscule in the grand scheme of things but really these “little things” we do in our marriage are what shows our spouses we truly care about them. Here are 10 ‘little things’ I think will make a world of difference in your marriage. I know they have in mine!
1// Find out each other’s love language.
Have you heard of Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages”? If you haven’t, you need to head on over to check it out right NOW–don’t worry I’ll wait. Finding out the way you and your spouse receive and give love is one of the most important things you can do for your marriage and can definitely help you understand each other better. You can take the Love Languages quiz on the site I’ve linked below. And don’t forget to put your discovery into practice!
Learn more about the 5 Love Languages and take the quiz.
Need some ideas to put your spouse’s love language into practice? I absolutely love my friend Charlene’s series called “How to Love Your Spouse”–in this series, she highlights ideas for each love language: Acts of Service, Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, & Physical Touch.
2// Spend an hour a day with your spouse completely technology free.
No phone, no facebook, no twitter, no email–just you and your spouse spending time with each other and talking about your day. If there seems to be not enough time in a day to spend one hour tech free, start small with just 10 or 15 minutes and work your way up.
3// Keep your bedroom an argument-free zone.
You’ll be surprised by how much it helps to keep that space happy and relaxing.
4// Edit yourself….especially in public.
“What were you thinking?? That’s the complete wrong kind of cereal–do you not pay attention to me or are you just plain stupid??” That was the gist of what I heard one wife
telling no, screaming–at her husband in the grocery store the other day. The embarrassment and pain written on the husband’s face as he faked a smile as we passed in the aisle said it all—there are only a few things worse than being demeaned by the person who is supposed to love you unconditionally…especially if it’s done in public.
As much as possible, avoid saying critical remarks about your spouse in front of others. I’m absolutely not saying you can’t be upset with your spouse about something but humiliating them can breed resentment and no honest discussion usually comes from it anyway.
5// Always listen first.
It can be so easy to greet him at the door with a kiss and a honey-do list but give him some time to relax and tell each other about your day first! I started implementing this into our marriage about a year in and since then, the 30-minutes or so after Zach comes home from work has become my favorite part of the day.
6// Thank him for the things he does for you.
Wow, is this one important!! Everyone likes knowing that their effort is being noticed and appreciated by others and your spouse is no different. Even a simple “thanks for taking out the trash, hun” or “I love seeing you interact with our child. Thank you for being such a great dad.” can go a long ways.
7// Brag about your spouse.
No really!! Let everyone know (especially your spouse) that you are proud of their accomplishments and successes.
8// Choose something in your spouse’s daily routine and do it for/with him.
This could be as simple as packing a lunch, taking the dog for a walk before he comes home from work, or playing a video game with him.
9// Apologize when you’re wrong.
It should go without saying that none of us are perfect but, often, pride can get in the way of our admitting to that! If you realize you are wrong during an argument or that you handled a situation badly, admit it and say you’re sorry. It will make a world of difference in terms of staying close.
10// Set aside a certain amount of money each month for date night.
You can use this money to pay for a babysitter or for the actual date depending on your family circumstance but no matter what, take steps to make dating your spouse a priority!!
What is one little thing your spouse does for you?
I’m sure you can come up with some other ‘little things’ to do for your spouse, what is one thing you’d add to this list?