Tips to Improve Your Marriage
During the early honeymoon stage when things are exciting and time spent alone together is plentiful, it’s relatively easy to keep a marriage healthy and happy. But as the years go by, kids come into the picture and the daily stressors of work and home life begin to add up, it’s tempting to put your marriage on the back burner. Striving to be a better wife does not imply that there is anything wrong with the wife you are right now. It simply means that you value your marriage and recognize the benefits that efforts for continuous improvement will yield for both you and your spouse.
Regular Date Nights
Scheduling regular date nights with your spouse is of the utmost importance. It can be tough to steal away some adult alone time when you have kids at home, but it can be done with a little planning and perhaps some creativity. If you don’t have family members nearby who can babysit for you on date nights and a formal babysitter is not feasible, strike a mutually beneficial deal with trusted friends. You can watch your friends’ kids every other Friday night in exchange for them watching yours every other Saturday night or whichever day works best. This is a win-win for both your marriage and your friends’ marriage too.
Carve Out Daily Check-Ins
Most busy adults feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done. Life gets hectic but if you prioritize correctly, you will always have time to check in with your spouse on a daily basis. After the kids have gone to bed, turn off the phone and the television for 15 minutes and just talk to each other about how your day went or whatever is on your mind. Actively listening to each other for just a few minutes each day can work wonders to keep you both connected.
Focus on the Positive
Don’t fall into that stereotype of the nagging wife who nitpicks at every little thing her husband does wrong. It may drive you crazy when he tosses his socks on the floor or leaves dirty dishes in the sink, but try to focus on the things he does that you appreciate, like noticing your new hairstyle or listening to you vent after a rough day at work. It’s easy to become resentful of your spouse if all of your attention goes to the negatives.
One way to avoid this is to keep a gratitude journal in which you record at least one positive thing that your spouse does for you each day. There is nothing wrong with letting him know that you would appreciate it if he picked up his socks, but don’t make that the focal point of your interaction with him. Make an effort to regularly let him know how much you appreciate him and the things he does for you and your family.
Don't Neglect Self-Care
It’s hard to be a good spouse if you aren’t being good to yourself first and foremost. Make time to indulge in regular self-care so that you can be your best self. Whether it’s reading a book you enjoy, taking a girl’s night out or getting a relaxing massage, do something for yourself at least once a month and encourage your spouse to do the same. You could even take turns watching the kids for each other. He can watch the kids while you get pampered at the spa one weekend and you can watch them the following weekend while he plays golf with the guys. Regular self-care is essential for your well-being and can help both you and your spouse be better for each other.
Kristina Barroso earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University. She is happily married, works full-time as a public school teacher and enjoys mothering her 5-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson. She has also fostered several children and loves writing about parenting, families, education and relationships on WorkingMother.com and TheClassroom.com.