Marriage partners live their lives together as spouses, best friends, lovers and often co-parents. Even with all these important interconnected relationships, many people expect their marriage to run on auto-pilot while they attend to jobs, children, housework and hobbies. Marriage, like any other relationship, needs time and attention in order to thrive. While romantic surprises or evenings out can be part of keeping a marriage alive, what matters most is how you treat each other everyday. Read on to learn how to keep a marriage alive.
Stay connected with your spouse. Find out how he is really feeling, beyond the usual “How was your day?” Don’t assume that, even if you’ve been married for many years, you already know what’s on your partner’s mind.
Make spending time with each other a priority. Remember that you probably got married because you enjoyed being together. After you’re married, it can be too easy to take each other’s company for granted. Your spouse needs your time and attention, just as much if not more than your children, job or friends do.
Find small ways to show your spouse how much you love and appreciate her. This may include picking up her favorite treat at the grocery store, doing something around the house you know your spouse will appreciate without being asked or giving a back rub at the end of a hard day.
Send your spouse a short email every morning, or leave a love note on the counter when you know your spouse will arrive home before you. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or poetic, just a reminder that you’re thinking about him.
Set aside date time with your spouse. Alternate between activities where you go out and have fun together and quiet talking times. Pick an activity you both enjoy, or try learning something new together. Dates don’t have to be expensive to be good for your marriage. Time together can be as simple as holding hands and talking after the kids are in bed or going for a walk together.
Make a list of things you love and appreciate about your spouse, even if you’re upset or frustrated with her. You can keep this list to yourself, or share all or part of it with your spouse occasionally.
Remember to encourage and praise your spouse. Most people face criticism and negativity from work and other sources all day. Marriage can be the place where you strengthen each other and lift each other up.