Marriage is like a plant.
Well, not for me. I kill plants, but I’ve managed to keep my marriage alive!
For a plant to stay alive and healthy, it needs sunlight and water. You need to pay attention to it every day, so you notice anything wrong with it. Is it wilting? Is the soil dry? Is it in a safe place where pets and kids can’t get to it?
Taking care of a plant isn’t technically difficult, but it does require attention. Plants don’t scream. That’s why I neglect them. I could never get into a habit of paying attention to them each day.
Your marriage isn’t going to scream either at first. But if you don’t have good marital habits, the soil will start drying out, and the marriage will wilt.
Habits in Marriage
Everyone has habits in their marriage. Some of them are good, and some are bad. If the words coming out of your mouth are harmful, or if you tend to roll your eyes or reply to your partner’s needs with snarky comments, you need to eliminate those habits.
Replace those negative habits with encouraging habits that show your love for your spouse.
Habits can either create or destroy the climate of your marriage. It takes five positive interactions to make up for one negative one. So you must be intentional about designing moments to create a happier marriage.
The habits that create a nurturing, loving marriage don’t need to be grand, or require a tremendous amount of preparation. In fact, they take only a few seconds to a few minutes.
The more simple you make these habits, the easier it will be to actually keep.
So what do the happiest couples have in common? Close and connected couples share some powerful habits essential to happy relationships.
Habits for a Happier Marriage
Each morning you get a new opportunity to let go of the past and create a happier marriage than you had yesterday. If you institute some of these tips each day, you will stay connected and create an atmosphere of love and positivity.
Here are some things you can try in the morning, during the day, after work, and at bedtime.
Express your love every morning.
Every new day is a chance to reboot your marriage by forgetting the negative that happened the day before and create an environment of positive feelings. It’s important to get each day off to a good start.
So, give them a nice kiss (not just a peck), a long hug, and say good morning or wish them a good day. Don’t forget to say I love you. I know you think they know, but they need to hear it anyway.
I know not everyone has a traditional schedule where everyone gets up at the same time and can spend time together before work. Our schedule is crazy, so we don’t always see each other in the morning. Dan leaves for work some days by 5:00 AM, and other days not until noon or 1 o’clock.
If your schedule is weird like ours, you can still let your partner know that you love them if you don’t get up at the same time.
Try sending them a cute text, a selfie, a funny gif, or just a simple “Good morning. I love you,” text. If you plan ahead a little, you could stick a love note to the mirror, or put it in their bag, car, or coat pocket.
Build spiritual connections in the morning by praying together. A quick 15-second prayer is all that it takes!
Technology is a great thing, even though some people misuse it and it hurts their marriage. So, use it well! Call them at lunch, send a text when something happens you want to tell them. Drop by for lunch occasionally. Surprise your spouse at work with a coffee (if that’s allowed). Send them a link in the middle of the day to a song that makes you think about them. Send your partner an e-card, like from someecards.com.
Reunite with a hug and kiss
When you meet up again in the evening, recognize your spouse. Say hi. Get up and hug them. Make it a good one, too, at least six seconds. A long hug will cause your body to create oxytocin, the chemical that many refer to as the “cuddle hormone. It not only relaxes you, but it actually strengthens the emotional connection with your spouse. I do this every day when my husband comes home. Maybe not immediately, especially if the dog is demanding attention, but I will get my hug in the first few minutes.
Don’t waste the evenings
From the time you or your spouse gets home, there are other habits you can start that have a small time commitment but can have a big impact.
Connect every day
It is so important to take a few minutes to connect with your spouse each day. Our Kitchen Table Connection Plan gives you a blueprint on one way to do that. It worked for us, keeping us in the loop when it came to the other person’s life and making sure we were ready for the next day.
A quick way to reconnect is just a smile. When was the last time you smiled at your spouse for no reason? Yes, they may think you are up to something when you do it, but that’s okay! You are creating a happier marriage by showing your spouse that you are happy.
Touch your partner
There are many physical and emotional benefits to touch. I wrote a blog post all about the importance of holding hands. So, hold hands. Curl up next to them on the couch, put your arms around each other, or lean on their shoulder. If you’re out running kids around or going grocery shopping, rest your hand on their leg while driving.
Compliment your partner
Take a moment each day to let your spouse know that you appreciate their good qualities, or to say thank you for doing what they do for you and the family. Making a point to recognize what you love about your spouse is a habit that can make your marriage thrive.
We have several blog posts about complimenting your spouse. Read the first one here: 7 Specific Compliments for Your Spouse.
Ready to Have a Happier Marriage?
Habits take time to implement, anywhere from 21 to 90 days, but the improvements that can come to your marriage are worth the effort. They will help you create a happier marriage and keep it strong for years to come.
If you would like help implementing new habits and creating a happier marriage, you can book a free coaching session with us, and we can work together to create a plan!
Don’t forget to get your copy of the Kitchen table connection plan here: Kitchen Table Connection Plan