I stepped on a scale in the doctor’s office last week, and I assumed their scale must be broken because the number was way too high! I was slapped in the face with a reality I had been avoiding. I had gained weight. I had slipped into an autopilot of overeating and the results were obvious.
When we have any area in our life where we want to make an improvement, if you’re like me, you want to see that improvement immediately. I’d like to get back on the scale the next day and see twenty pounds gone, but that’s not how it works. I didn’t gain the weight overnight and and I won’t lose it overnight. I can, however, make some immediate changes which will create some immediate improvement and lead to positive, longterm results.
It’s the same in your marriage.
The overall health of your marriage will be determined by what you do consistently over a long period of time, but you can get started right away. There are some adjustments you can make which will have an immediate, positive impact on your relationship. Below are 8 simple ways to instantly improve your marriage.
(In no particular order.)
1. Stop “keeping score.”
Married couples offend each other every day. We step on each other’s toes. We hurt each other’s feelings. Imagine how much your marriage could improve if neither spouse kept score of every little offense, and instead, chose to see the best in their spouse and extend grace and compassion. I know it’s tough, but give it a try. It could revolutionize your relationship.
2. Prioritize what happens in the bedroom.
It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it. Improving your sexual intimacy will always improve your marriage as a result. For more on this, check out our new video series on sex, intimacy and communication in marriage.
3. Submit to your spouse’s preferences.
We’re all pretty selfish by nature, and we like to have our way, eat what we like, watch what we like on TV, and basically have life revolve around us. The strongest marriages are those where each spouse submits to the preferences of the other. Be willing to go first! Regardless of how your spouse instantly responds, serve him or her by prioritizing his or her preferences ahead of your own.
4. Communicate about everything.I’ve always been bad about sharing details. It’s part of being a stereotypical male, I suppose. Still, I’m learning the value of opening up about the details of my day, my feelings and my struggles. It brings a new level of intimacy to our marriage. Better communication creates a better marriage.
5. Invest in shared experiences.
We’re in the crazy years of raising a young family, so we’ve got to work extra hard to prioritize time together alone. Make a regular date night a priority. Find ways to serve together and make a difference together. Look for ways to create new memories and new adventures together. Your marriage will be largely built on those shared experiences.
6. Learn something new.
I write and teach about marriage, but I’m still the first to admit I’ve got a LOT to learn! Keep learning about your spouse, but also keep learning about life and marriage. Read books. Check out our books and resources as a starting point, but even if you don’t read our stuff, get your hands on some good books and connect with some mentors who could help you keep learning and growing.
7. Get rid of the clutter.
When life is overly hectic, messy and busy, that chaos inevitably spills over into your marriage. I’m not very organized, but I’m learning the freedom that comes with de-cluttering. Stop adding stuff to your schedules. Stop packing more junk into your house. Start having conversations about what you should quit doing or quit buying. Simplify your life and you’ll improve your marriage.
8. Celebrate the wins.
I’m usually better at pointing out the stuff that needs to be fixed than I am about celebrating when something positive happens. I’m learning not to always focus on what still needs to be improved, because it takes my eyes off all the blessings happening right in front of me. Take time to celebrate the positives in your life and your marriage and that attitude of gratitude will help you deal with the negative stuff in a healthy, productive way.
For more tools to build a rock-solid marriage, please connect with me on twitter, subscribe to our email list at the top of this page and watch our free video below on “The 4 Pillars of a Strong Marriage”