20 Small Things to Make a Huge Difference in Your Marriage
Let’s be honest. Marriage can be hard. Anyone who says marriage is easy has either never been married, or they’ve only been married for about five minutes. Over time, we tend to develop habits in our relationship. Some are good, and some aren’t so great. Whether you’re in a season where the bad’s outweighing the good, or you’re just looking for ways to continually improve your relationship, these 20 small tips can make a huge impact.
Use these tips to improve your marriage, and watch how the relationship changes.
1. Greet the other person with love at the end of the day.
Work sucked. The people sucked. The whole day sucked. You know, every day is supposed to be a gift, but today was probably socks. But when you walk in the door at home, you have the opportunity to hit the reset button, to shift your focus and to recenter on the relationships that matter most. There will be days when you have literally nothing left to give, but those should be few and far between. If you’re constantly expending all your energy on work relationships and you have nothing when you get home, your doing your most important relationships a disservice.
Show your spouse love by greeting them with a kiss, a hug or just a simple smile when you get home. Talk about the things that bothered you during the day, but also take time to enjoy being with the other person.
2. Offer a kind word.
Nothing makes someone feel better after a long day than saying something nice about them. Remind them of why you love them, or something you like about them. Tell them they look nice. Let them know how you thought about them during the day.
3. Give thanks.
It doesn’t have to be huge. Maybe he loaded the dishwasher when he got home. Maybe she started working on homework with the kids. It’s the small things that go a long way. Let the other person know that you noticed, and that you appreciate what they’re doing. A simple “thank you” really makes a big difference.
4. Speak the truth.
Don’t just tell the other person what they want to hear. But also, don’t just tell them everything’s fine when it’s not. Build trust in your relationship by being willing to discuss the hard stuff. It may not be easy, but it will make the relationship stronger.
5. Look for the positives.
Spread positivity in your relationship. Did your spouse have a crappy day? How can you make their day better? What’s something simple you can say to make them laugh or to bring a little sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day?
6. Shrug off the small things.
Yes, it’s true. Your spouse was raised by savages. Those savages never taught them how to squeeze toothpaste from a tube the proper way. Nobody ever explained to them how to put a new roll of toilet paper on the roll. It’s probably physically impossible for them to put their dirty socks in the hamper, or park the car in a straight line in the garage. But it’s important to remember, in the grand scheme of things, those things don’t really matter. Use separate tubes of toothpaste. Put the roll of TP out yourself. Pick up the socks. Put reflective tape on the garage floor so they know how to pull the car in. Seriously – It. Will. Be. Okay.
When we choose to not sweat the small stuff, we’re telling our spouse we are overlooking those small things they do because we love them. And while they may suck at doing those little things around the house, they still love you with their whole heart.
Plus, there are areas you probably suck, too.
7. Snuggle together.
When’s the last time you curled up on the couch or spooned at bedtime? If you’re having a hard time remembering, maybe it’s time to try again. Your spouse will appreciate the attention
8. Serve together.
What’s something you and your spouse both enjoy doing? How to your talents compliment each other? In what ways can you use those gifts in your church or faith community? Despite what the children’s pastor at your church may tell you, not everybody is called to kids’ ministry. And that’s okay. But what other opportunities are there? Can you join the hospitality team? Serve in a soup kitchen? Mentor a hurting family? How can you use the gifts God has given you to find joy and purpose with your spouse?
9. Pray for each other.
Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and pray for your spouse. Even if you’re mad at them, or frustrated with them, or just completely and totally done dealing with them at the moment – pray for them to have a better day. Pray they have a day they enjoy that is satisfying and fulfilling. Pray they feel your love and God’s love. Pray they feel joy.
10. Listen carefully.
Are they telling you about a situation from work? Maybe they got into a disagreement with a friend. Maybe they had the best dang day in the history of ever. Whatever it is, really listen. Look them in the eye. Don’t listen for the sake of responding. Listen to understand them deeper. Ask follow-up questions.
11. Apologize and ask for grace.
Sometimes they suck. Sometimes we suck. Sometimes it all sucks. Maybe you said or did something that was hurtful or spiteful. Ask for their forgiveness and how you can make the situation better.
Don’t just say “love you” when you walk out the door mindlessly. Kiss them goodbye. Kiss them hello. Kiss them just because.
13. Laugh at their stupid jokes.
Yes, their jokes are dumb. They think they’re funny. You know they’re not. They probably feel the same way about you. Find the joy anyway. Laugh at the silliness. See Number 5.
14. Give a gracious answer.
Don’t be harsh. Not everything is serious. And even if it’s a serious topic, remember to show grace. For people who are constantly looking for grace from other people, we’re certainly pretty bad at extending it to others.
15. Spend time with just each other.
After you put the kids to bed, spend some time with just each other. Enjoy each other’s company. Talk about your hopes, dreams and plans. Talk about the future and what you want it to look like. Talk about favorite memories of the past. Building intimacy can start with this simple step.
16. Smile at each other.
A warm smile goes a long way. Stop scowling at the other person because it’s 6:00am and you hate people this early.
17. Forgive fully.
As stated previously, we all suck. We all fall short in marriage. Sometimes we say and do things that shouldn’t have been said or done. Those things can’t be changed, but your reactions can. They screwed up, and it hurt. But you don’t have to continue living in that hurt.
18. Act ridiculous with each other.
When’s the last time you just let your guard down around the other person? Sing an awful rendition of your favorite song. Dance around the living room. Look at funny videos on YouTube and giggle like 16-year-old girls together. Let your hair down.
19. Build each other up.
Tell the other person all the reasons why you love them, and why you fell in love with them. Write it down on a list. Send them an email. Leave it on sticky notes throughout the house. Give the other person a compliment that lets them know you really notice those things.
20. Decide you’re going to love each other.
Not every day is a walk in the park. Life isn’t always paradise. When you’re married to someone else, disagreements will undoubtedly come up. And that’s okay. But it’s also important to remember when you’re in the middle of a conflict, that you are going to continue loving that person even though they’re not really winning at this marriage thing right now.
Marriage isn’t a stagnant relationship. It’s always growing, always changing, and always evolving. Begin looking for small ways to make huge impacts in your relationship.
P.S. – If you haven’t already, download your copy of our FREE resource, 10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week! Download your copy here.