It is no secret that it takes more than just love to keep a marriage strong and healthy. Obviously strong feelings for each other is a necessity, but with the many responsibilities of life, fitting in quality time with your significant other can definitely take a backseat.
Luckily there are countless ways to give your relationship the care and attention it needs to last. Best of all, a lot of them don’t require a huge change in your daily schedule or a lot of money.
Here are 10 simple (and fun!) ways to keep your relationship strong and healthy.
1. Greet each other when you come home
First things first, say “hello”. This may sound like a cliché, but making sure that you greet your spouse when they come home is important. It lets your partner know that you are happy to see them and often translates to “I missed you.”
Let’s face it, it can be pretty disappointing when you show up to an event and no one greets you or seems to care that you’ve even arrived. The same goes for when your spouse gets home, so don’t forget to greet them with a loving “hello” followed by a sweet kiss! Even just spending a few minutes doing some daily activities greatly increases your relationship’s happiness.
2. Schedule a weekly check-in
Running your children around from doctors’ appointments to practices to school and back often seems to have no end. We live in a time of constant “go, go, go,” which is why it’s important to schedule in weekly check-ins with your spouse. Sure, a weekly meeting may not sound like the most romantic thing in the world. But pour yourselves a glass of wine once the kids are asleep or meet for coffee during your lunch break.
There are plenty of ways you can take 30 minutes each week to just check in. This is a time for you to discuss things that happened that week or make decisions about the week ahead. A time to share how you are doing. If you feel like you have nothing to talk about, we’ve created a list of 25 conversation starters that are sure to get the conversation flowing.
3. Don’t forget to date your spouse
Just because you are married doesn’t mean you can’t also be dating, right? In fact, it is because you are married that you should be dating. It is easy to be caught in the hamster wheel of wake up, grab a cup of coffee, kiss, run out the door, dinner with the kids, pass out, and repeat. It is also easy for your relationship to grow very tired because of this.
Schedule one night each week that is your night with your hubby, just the two of you. Go to a nice restaurant, see a movie you both want to see, go for ice cream in the summer months. There are countless opportunities to have a fun, romantic date night that you both deserve.
4. Share your daily highs and lows
Written in your wedding vows somewhere was probably something along the lines of “for better and for worse.” Well, when it comes to your relationship, it is important to share the “better and worse” daily. Make it a fun dinner-time tradition to share a high point and a low point of each day. This can even be something that the kids take part in, as well! Sharing one high and one low each day is a wonderful way to maintain healthy communication between you and your partner.
5. Find something you appreciate about your spouse every day
This one is very easy because it is something that can be both said or kept to yourself. Try and think of at least one thing that you like about your spouse daily. Better yet, tell them! If your spouse brings you coffee in bed, tell them how much you appreciate that. When he or she takes the kids to basketball practice after work, let them know how much that means to you.
There is no better form of encouragement than being told by your spouse how much they appreciate the little things you do. And reminding yourself of the awesome things your partner does for you will certainly help you out in those moments when he is getting on your nerves a bit more than usual.
6. Tell your partner often why you love them
The initial stages of a relationship are filled with butterflies and constant verbal affection. The problem is, as time goes on, those butterflies tend to fly away and so do the “I love you because…” soliloquies. Of course it is normal to not be as “lovey dovey” as when you first met, but don’t forsake all verbal affection.
Tell your partner you love them often, but don’t stop there! Tell them why you love them. Whether it be for taking the kids to the mall when you clearly need some relaxation time, bringing you flowers one random evening, or simply for being him. Whatever it may be, say it loud and say it proud!
7. Look each other in the eyes
We all grew up with our parents reminding us to look people in the eyes when we speak to them. Mom and dad may have been on to something, because eye contact is just as important in marriage as it was when we were kids! Whether you are out with friends or speaking to your kids, it can be both rude and frustrating to have the person you are talking to checking their phone or looking around the room as you speak. It gives off the impression that the other person is disinterested or simply doesn’t care what you have to say. The same goes for when you and your partner are speaking.
Actions speak louder than words. Instead of saying “I’m listening”, show your partner you are listening by looking him in the eyes and eliminating other distractions when you are having a conversation.
8. Spend time together without technology
Speaking of making eye contact, eliminating technology every now and then is a great way to give your significant other your full attention. There is no denying how distracting technology can be, so make sure that you and your spouse are spending some time without it. Make a no cell phone rule for date night or leave the electronics in the other room during your morning coffee together.
Spending time together without the imposing distraction of technology allows you and your spouse to give each other the attention and consideration that you both deserve.
9. Small acts of physical affection go a long way
Marriage doesn’t automatically equate to no flirting. A simple brush of the hands or a kiss as you and your spouse pass by each other is all it takes to keep the spark from burning out. A little romance and day-to-day physical affection can truly be the cherry on top of a healthy relationship built upon good communication and trust.
Hold hands in public, hug your husband or wife from behind when they are making their breakfast, give him or her a loving peck as they read the paper. However big or small the gesture may be, regular physical affection has a major impact on a happy relationship.
10. Surprise them – and not just on their birthday!
Who said surprises must be saved only for holidays and birthdays? It’s time to take it one step further than the annual birthday cakes and Valentine’s Day cards. We’re talking about out of the blue surprises! A small gift just because “when I saw this I thought of you” or a surprise date. You can even leave a love note on the seat of your partner’s car one morning.
A simple “Love you, have a great day” with a few hearts here and there may seem a bit juvenile or silly. But hey, the lovey acts of kindness and romance worked at the beginning of the relationship, right? Well they still do the trick after years of marriage!
Maintaining your relationship can often be viewed as just another task on our never-ending to-do lists. It’s the small, consistent habits that keep your bond strong over the years. With these 10 simple tips, you will not only strengthen your relationship – you will also make it fun, exciting, and something to look forward to!
Need a little extra push to get date night going?
Check out our list of 22 fun and affordable at-home date night ideas to get you started!