By Ron & Ann Mainse
We all know that good habits can help us feel better and live better…and that’s especially true in marriage! Things we do consistently every day can be like a daily dose of vitamins for a marriage, just what the doctor ordered for a long and healthy relationship.
There are probably hundreds of little habits that can help to strengthen your marriage, like picking up your shoes or replacing the toilet paper roll, but let’s just focus on some of the biggies…
Saying “I love you” goes without saying (meaning, it’s a given that you should say it regularly J). But what about saying “thank you” (and meaning it!). That may not seem like much, but when your spouse feels valued and appreciated on a regular basis, the groundwork is laid for deeper intimacy.
I know it means a lot to me (Ann) when Ron thanks me for even the little things like doing the laundry and putting it away. It means a lot that he noticed. How about complimenting your spouse in front of others (especially your kids). When you point out something that you appreciate about your spouse in front of other people, it not only builds their self-worth but encourages them to keep doing it.
Also, stay in touch during the day. One of the quickest ways to lose intimacy in a marriage is to stop communicating. These days it’s so easy for us to stay in touch with our spouse. Text each other… often! Send “one line” insights into what’s going on in your day. Find an emoji that has a special meaning for the two of you and text it to her for no reason. We have friends who went on a cruise for their honeymoon, so sometimes, when life gets stressful he’ll text her an emoji of a cruise ship, and that brings back lots of good memories.
Another great habit is kissing – and we’re not just talking about a “quick peck”. Marriage researcher, John Gottman, recommends a 6-second kiss every day, or as Gottman calls it, “a kiss with potential.” Sure, life gets busy but isn’t it time for us to take the kissing experience from the parking teenagers and put it back into its rightful place as “an official symbol of marriage!”
Here’s one that you were probably pretty good at early on but may need a little reminder – flirt with your spouse! I think Hollywood has pretty much drained all of the romance out of marriage and given it to the singles (what’s up with that!). But when you’ve been married for awhile, you know each other pretty well and you know the things that make her blush. Use them…often…and just see where that leads!
And the best habit any couple can form is to pray together. Research shows that couples who pray together have only a 1 in 10,000 divorce rate! As you get into the habit of beginning your day humbled before God, you’ll be amazed to see how much more focused, calm, content and loveable you are!
So to recap these good marriage habits… say thank you, give public compliments, keep talking, keep kissing, keep flirting…and pray together!
And remember… closer to God… means closer to each other.
Ron & Ann