With Valentine’s Day and our anniversary both in the last couple of months, love and relationships have been on my mind a little more than normal. We are celebrating our 18th anniversary and while I know people make it to 50+ years, 18 still feels like such a big number!! I love hearing more about others people’s relationships and what works for them, so I thought it would be fun to put together a little post on my top 5 tips for a happier marriage that work for us! Every relationship is different and this might not all be what works for you but I hope it is helpful!
#1 Your Spouse Is Not A Mind Reader
I don’t know what it is about marriage, but I think we all kind of assume that our spouse knows so much about us, they should be able to read our minds too. Anyone else feel that way? I started to notice that a lot of Joe + I’s disagreements or frustrations, would stem from me assuming he knew what I meant or wanted, even when I wasn’t saying it.
For example, he would ask if it was okay with me if he went and did something with his brothers. I had had a long day with the little people and didn’t want him to go, but I would reply with “yeah fine…whatever”. My answer was no, but I wasn’t saying it. I was expecting him to take my tone of voice or body language into account and assume my answer. By saying what you actually feel or think, instead of expecting them to figure it out, you will save a lot of unnecessary confrontation.
#2 Make Your Spouse a Priority
While this may not be the case for everyone reading along here, we are in the depths of raising our little family. Having 5 kids, comes with very demanding busy schedules. It is so easy to let the craziness of it all push our relationship to the background. We just don’t have time. But you guys, your marriage and that relationship is most important piece to the family puzzle!! Making your spouse a priority builds the foundation for your family to grow on.
For us this means making regular date night a must. Some weeks are busier than others, but we find a way to make it happen. For you that could mean finding a babysitter while you go grocery shopping together, or getting your favorite takeout after you put the baby to bed. As long as you are setting time aside to focus on your marriage and that connection. I used to feel so guilty leaving our kids, until I realized if we aren’t strong as a couple, the whole family suffers.
#3 Check In With Your Spouse Regularly
Life gets busy and sometimes we just get into our routine. As long as everyone seems happy we just kind of go with the flow. I don’t know about you, but I notice when we get that way, I can get frustrated. Again I’m assuming Joe knows what I need. Something that has really helped our marriage is to have a check in with each other once a month. We talk about anything we could use the others help with. Areas where we might be struggling. It is kind of a reset for our family game plan so we are on the same page.
#4 Know Each Others Love Language
If you haven’t read this book, you need to read it together! Knowing your spouses love language can be such a game changer in your marriage. If you are unfamiliar with the book, the love languages are Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. We all have a different way we feel the most loved. A lot of the time, yours will not be the same as your spouse. I often catch myself doing things to show my love for Joe that I would want him to do for me, instead of working in his love language. Focusing your affection in a way that they appreciate it the most makes such a difference.
#5 Always Try to Put Your Spouse First
Being a busy exhausted mom – it can feel impossible. Your husband can get pushed aside as your focus is constantly on taking care of your little people. I catch myself doing this a lot and not making Joe a priority. We have both noticed that if we try, as hard as it can be, to really put them first and give them the benefit of the doubt and respect, it makes such a difference in our attitude towards each other and to the feeling in our home.
Obviously our marriage is far from perfect. We still struggle and disagree on a daily basis. But we’ve been at this for 18 years now and I do feel like these are some tips that have helped our marriage to be stronger and happier. I would love to hear any tips you try and focus on in your relationships too!