How do you make your marriage a priority? We talk about it all the time, but how do you actually do it?
Having a great marriage doesn’t happen by accident. Marriage requires active effort to drift together, not drift apart.And today I’m excited to have Leah on the blog giving some practical tips to keep your marriage a priority, even when life is hectic and overwhelming.
Making your marriage a priority. It feels like it should be pretty simple, right? “My husband is my priority,” we say.
It’s often said that you can tell someone’s real priorities by looking at their calendar and their checkbook. If days and weeks are full with all the things in life and you’re not getting that connection time with your husband, you may be wondering how to reset the priorities and make your marriage a priority again.
Here are some life-tested ways to make your marriage a priority – even when you have kids at home!
1. Teach your kids that marriage is your number one priority.
One of my favorite authors tells his kids that he loves God the most, and then mommy, and then the kids.
How we’re teaching this to our kids (5, 3, and 1) is by having a weekly date night at home. Every Saturday night, we have a date night at home. The kids go to bed a little early. And they know it’s our date night, our time to be together. We’ve started eating together, just the two of us. And we talk to them about how it’s important that mommy and daddy spend time working on their marriage so they can be better parents and better husband and wife to each other. As they get older, these conversations will no doubt grow.
2. Say no to other stuff.
Focusing on your priorities means saying no to other things. That can mean not making other plans on the night of your weekly date night or keeping your schedule generally less full so you can spend time together each evening. It may even mean saying no to something like a TV show that you like watching so that you can spend time talking or connecting.
3. Be thankful.
What you look for is what you’ll see. And if you focus on just the areas where you feel like your husband falls short, you’ll continue to see areas in which your husband falls short.
But, if you look for things to be thankful for about him, you’ll notice those things start to grow and they’ll become easier and easier to see.
This turned one of the hardest seasons of my marriage on its head when I started focusing on things to be thankful for. It’s amazing how the perspective change will impact you.
4. Assume goodwill.
If you are in a good intentions marriage and none of the 4 A’s (abuse, abandonment, addiction, and adultery) are present, then you can and should assume the best about your husband.
We all make mistakes in how we present things, say things, do things. But if you can take a step back and assume that he meant to do it as a good thing and didn’t intentionally make a mistake and certainly didn’t mess up AT you, things diffuse a lot more quickly.
I ran our car battery dead yesterday. We have a fickle headlight system and I left a door open. My husband knew I didn’t run the battery dead on purpose or to make his life harder. He just pulled his car up and jumped it. No yelling. No passive aggressive down talk. Just fixing the problem. Because we all make mistakes.
Imagine how differently that interaction would go if he didn’t assume good things about me and instead assumed I was trying to make his life hard or that I messed up on purpose?
5. Drop the expectations.
We’d all be a lot farther ahead if we didn’t assume our husbands could read our minds. Don’t expect him to know you had a hard day and that he should somehow compensate for it. Don’t expect him to know you think it’s time to mow the lawn and your dreams of being featured in Better Homes and Gardens is presently being crushed.
Sort out needs from wants in the expectations department. And be realistic with your resources. Then tell him.
6. 10 second kiss.
I could not stop kissing my husband once I started. My lips were all kinds of chapped and still all I wanted to do was kiss him.
But somewhere over the years, kissing just for kissing sake has turned into more of a quick thing on the way in or out the door.
Reclaim the passion with a 10 second kiss at least once a day (I say more like 4 -10 times a day).
7. Go to bed at the same time.
This isn’t ALWAYS possible with work schedules or baby sleep schedules but make it a priority to try to go to bed together. I love just lying in bed and reading with my husband. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
8. Learn his love language and use it.
It took us a few years (and actually taking the 5 Love Languages assessment) to figure out my husband’s love language. Thankfully, it was what my default giving language already is and is probably how I’d won his heart years ago. Just kidding. Well, kind of.
I think we all can assume we know what a man’s love language is…I mean…*wink* right…and forget that there are 4 others that play a HUGE part in this equation (and that the physical touch love language is WAY more than just sex).
It also helps to know YOUR love language. How you both give and receive love (which can be different). I’ve explained it to my husband like this – On a good day, I can see the acts of service that you default to as love. I can translate that from acts of service into love when I’m rested, happy, and having a good day. But if I’m having a hard day or you and I are having a disagreement, I need you to speak MY love language. I need you to touch me, take the freeze off, and help me thaw out. I can’t translate when I’m like that. I need it plain and simple in my love language.
9. Rock a daily communication method.
Technology is a beautiful thing when it’s used well. There is absolutely no reason we can’t spend a good chunk of our day talking, flirting with each other. This is not meant to be a continual all day dump of things the second they happen like a play-by-play. This is meant to build into your relationship.
This can go from texting the “thank you” from earlier all the way to definite flirting time. Your call.
10. Share an interest or hobby.
My husband is SUPER into gardening and permaculture. I like eating fresh food but frankly the work is a little harder than I’d like if I was choosing a hobby. There are parts of it I love though and I want to try to learn to love more of it. So I head out to the garden with him. We talk about broad forks and seeds and starts and soil blocks and how much composted manure we need. Sometimes I help, get my finger nails good and dirty. Sometimes I watch. Either way it’s great. We are sharing an experience together and that is great shoulder-to-shoulder building time for any marriage.
Start small. You can try one of these today and the rest of the week, and then add another and another as you go. When we start small, it’s easier for our new behaviors to become habits that’ll stick with us for the long haul.
And marriage is all about the long haul.