The success of any big thing can be summed up by a lot of little things done well.
Marriage is no different.
If you get a lot of little things right, you can step back after a while and see you are really getting the big thing headed in the right direction.
Compound interest works in exactly this way.
Put a little in consistently over time, and by the end of it all, you end up having a lot.
It’s hard to multiply by zero. In fact it’s impossible.
So if you’re having trouble finding anything going right in your marriage, don’t fret about the big stuff. Chances are, it started growing a long time ago.
Ripping out a bad habit can be a lot harder (and sometimes more a waste of time) then using that same time to start a good one!
Behavioral science has concluded that if you stick with a new habit for 21 days of consistent effort, you’ll have a new one formed.
You’ve got enough time to establish 17 new habits per year!
How could next year look different if you started to do one little thing this week to improve and revitalize your marriage?
Just start taking one bite at a time and stop having to use elephant-sized Heimlich maneuvers!
Here are 5 simple ideas you can put in as great, life giving habits to your rock-solid marriage.
1. Schedule Time
Spending quality time together is crucial. We’ve said it before, but love is spelled T-I-M-E.
It is so important that a lot of spouses even have a love language that is only spoken by spending QT together.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be a big deal, it just has to be scheduled.
This will get a big amen from all the “quality time” folks as well. A block on the calendar dedicated to just you two, will be like a drink of cool water for you both. You’ll look forward to it amidst the craziness of life.
So… it’s as simple as sitting down together and putting it on the calendar before everything else robs your time.
Mornings, Lunches, Date nights, even late night sex, can all be put in a date book same as your other appointments.
Start the habit today of scheduling your main priority first! Your spouse!
2. Dig Deeper
If you are married, especially with children, break out of the habit of talking about nothing!
This can be an easy trap to get caught in, especially when you are exhausted.
It does take a bit more effort to open yourself up and be genuinely curious about your partner, but boy, will it pay dividends.
We can all get caught in conversational ruts sitting around the dinner table. Spice it up with some simple and replicable techniques.
Replace the normal, “Did you have a good day at work?” with “Tell me what you did at work today.”
Open ended questions leave room for your spouse to open up.
If your normal inquiries can be answered with “Yes”, “No” or “Fine”, it may be time to add some gourmet conversation to your palate.
Remember, “fine” stands for Feelings Inside Need Expressing!
Remember when you would hear your wife sigh and pause everything to find out why?
Remember when you would see that slouch in your husband’s shoulders or that pep in his step and couldn’t wait to find out what was going on?
Get that healthy and heart felt curiosity back by remembering your partner is a wealth of experience, wisdom, discovery and love just waiting to get out!
Give them a great excuse to share with you again.
You have two ears and one mouth, so if conversation has been dry, maybe you need to follow the clues of your anatomy, and listen twice as well and twice as long as you speak.
If you are still trying to figure out what to even say…
3. Turn The Computer/Smart Phone Off
You don’t have to look far to find a movie that shows the robots taking over the world. Be on guard against this even in the world of your marriage.
Artificial Intelligence is exactly that, ARTIFICIAL!
Be careful not to trade in time with the representation of relationship for your real relationship.
Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, popular media, and other time black holes can have you clicking more than you are communicating.
Internet pornography is a very real threat to all marriages these days.
If you find yourselves sitting in a room, and the whole family is on there phones, it may be time to put the screens away and look into the eyes of your honey once again.
All too often, we can run to the safe and controllable environment of our technology when we feel unsafe our out of control in our marriage!
Pushing the off button won’t make everything ok, but at least you’ll create the space and time to start to air out some dirty laundry.
If it’s become really severe, then don’t be afraid to “fast” certain online activities or put a clock on your screen time.
Unplug from the network and make your marriage work!
4. Play A Board Games
Monopoly lasts a long time for a reason! We’re pretty sure it was so you could spend time together with the person you’re play with.
Seriously though, a little friendly competition can really put a frivolous and engaging element to any marriage.
Grab some fun board games, (if they hopefully haven’t all been replaced electronically. If so, reread above), pick one, and get moving!
It doesn’t just have to be husband versus wife either! Invite some friends or friends-to-be, bring out the snacks, beverages, and just have some fun.
Keep in mind that if one of you is ultra competitive, you may have to take some time to loosen up, but it’s worth it!
Laughter is referred to as a great medicine for a reason. Sometimes healing in our marriage is one Yahtzee roll away. There’s a game called “Sorry” for a reason folks 🙂
5. Let Loose Now And Again
Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly!
If you have found things getting more and more serious, then smoosh your face against the proverbial looking glass, stick out your tongue, and LIGHTEN UP!
There is absolutely no reason why couples at any age cannot get into tickling matches or wrestle on the floor (as long as your physician says it’s ok. Side effects may include, gut busting laughter, ridiculously silly faces, sore sides, and Happy Spouse Syndrome)
Do not allow your relationship, or your tickle fingers, to grow old and stale!
Understand, and ACCEPT, that it is perfectly fine to be silly from time to time! In fact, it is incredibly healthy.
If you have nothing special planned on a Friday night, then you do now!
It’s now called Frivolity Friday. Rent a few video games, order in Chinese, and get your thumbs ready. It’s called PLAY station after all.
If that’s not your style, the local bowling alley is great too.
Need help with ideas? Ask your kids. They’re great at making fun out of nothing. They actually feel safer when they see Mom and Dad having fun with each other!
Get serious about playing together.
These are 5 essential habits for a rock-solid marriage that can pay huge dividends if done regularly over time.
Don’t be afraid to try others. A year from now, a possible 17 new habits stronger, your rock-solid marriage will thank you.
You can’t steer a parked car, so pick one today, and get moving!