For some reason, everyone has this idea that marriage is supposed to be perfect. If anything goes wrong, everyone is there to quickly put in their opinion, and it’s usually to leave your spouse. I believe that if you love someone, you will make it work. There is no such thing as a marriage in which spouses don’t disagree in at least a few different areas. Now don’t get me wrong, if the relationship is abusive in any way– I don’t recommend staying, but if it’s not… and you truly love someone then you should work on your marriage. After doing some research, I didn’t realize how many people search the web for “how to improve my marriage” or “how to make my husband happy again.” No relationship is perfect, but trying these 7 things might help to improve your marriage, and continue a healthy and happy marriage.
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Always say sorry first
No matter whose fault it was, just say sorry first. Say you’re sorry for fighting, for escalating, or even just for losing your temper. You HAVE to let go of your pride. Pride will destroy a marriage. Don’t just ignore your spouse until they apologize. If you apologize, they will likely also apologize. One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned is that you can only accept 100% responsibility for your own actions. You should be your only concern. You cannot force someone else to accept responsibility. Once you stop expecting someone else’s apology, and focus on improving yourself, you will feel so much better. And you’ll set an example for others.
Make a list
Now that you’ve let go of your pride, you can start accepting that you do have faults, and there is always room for improvement. Get out a piece of paper and write down things you think you can improve on, or complaints your spouse has about you. A lot of common issues that people often have with their spouses are;
- nagging/complaining too much
- not listening
- not communicating
- spending too much money
- working too much
- spending too much time on social media
- differing parenting styles
- holding grudges
- different religious preferences
The list goes on. Once you’ve created your list, set some goals. Set a goal to not develop an attitude while talking to your husband for one day. Or tell your husband three things you appreciate about him. Try to have a few days a week that are “no spending” days. Try to go a night without getting on your phone. Go on a date. No goal is too small.
Once you have genuinely tried to make improvements on yourself, your spouse will likely follow in your footsteps. If not, kindly point out that you have been trying really hard to be a better spouse, and ask him to try to improve one thing. Don’t give them a huge list, because it will likely aggravate and overwhelm them.
Choose your battles
It’s easy to be picky. It’s easy to expect perfection. But easy isn’t always right. It’s hard to choose your battles. But instead of getting mad about every little thing, try talking about only the really important things.
Think to yourself, “will this matter a year from now?” If your spouse leaves dishes in the sink, or socks next to the hamper, will you remember that in a year? No. You won’t. So don’t get mad, and don’t start a fight. Although it feels like yelling is the only way to get a point across, it actually just causes a lack of respect for you, and then your spouse really won’t value your opinion. This will just make the fighting worse. It’s a never-ending, vicious cycle.
Do something nice every day
It’s so important to show gratitude. If your spouse comes home and the first thing you do is lay into them, it sets the mood for the rest of the night. If they walk in and you say you missed them and loved them, it’s going to be a much better evening.
It’s hard to fight with someone who’s being nice to you. Try to do something nice for your spouse every day. Write them a love note, clean something, make them lunch, surprise them with a date. No matter how small it is, do something nice.
Respect each other’s roles
It’s easy to assume that you have the harder job. Husbands often think that they have the harder job because they have long hours, and they work their butt off while their wives stay home (if they are a stay at home mom.) Or they might think their wives have it easier because their hours are shorter, or their job isn’t as laborious. Wives who stay home with the kids often think they have the harder job because they don’t get to have any adult interaction. They deal with fighting, and tantrums all day. They spend hours cleaning just to have to re-do it again the next day.
Truth is, every job is hard. They each have their pros and cons. You cannot say one job is harder or more stressful than another. That’s just not fair. So instead of arguing about this with your spouse, let them know how grateful you are for their hard work.
Take care of yourself
If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of someone else. Insecurity can take a toll on a marriage. There’s nothing a spouse can do or say to make you love yourself, that’s something you have to do. One way to really help yourself feel better is to practice self-care. Here are some examples;
- Exercise daily
- Journaling (bullet journals are so fun)
- Learn a new skill
- Go on a walk
- Figure out what your passion is and find a way to add it into your daily life
Start a Tradition
This one is fun. Start something together that is “your thing.” Here is a list of ideas:
Leave a notebook on the counter and take turns writing something to each other. Maybe it’s something you’re grateful for, or something to make them laugh, or something you love about them.
Start a regular date night each week. Aim to try a new restaurant each time, or see a new movie, or go on a hike… anything that you both would enjoy!
Give each other a small gift each day (or week) that shows that you really know your spouse. Maybe it’s a pack of their favorite gum, or a movie you rented so you guys could watch it together, or their favorite drink. It doesn’t matter how much it costs. The point is to show them that you truly know them as a person.
I highly suggest reading a book called “The 5 Love Languages”. I read it with my husband, and it really helps you to see how different you are from your spouse. A lot of people try to show their spouse love in the way THEY themselves would want it, not realizing that their spouse might respond to that sort of affection differently. Read this book together, you won’t regret it!