Your days are busy – really busy. On many days, it seems like you just can't add another thing to your schedule. And because of that, your marriage sometimes slips to the bottom of your "to do" list. You want to focus on it, but you don't seem to have the time or the energy. Maybe you think that your needs as a couple aren't as important as your children's needs, your extended family's needs, your employer's needs, or your church's needs. Or that they just can't take priority at this stage of your life.
But deep down, you know that you and your husband both long for love and intimacy and connection, and that those things are just as important as the other demands on your time and energy (maybe even more so). Sometimes you may feel a bit worried, even guilty, that your marriage isn't getting the attention it deserves. But you just can't see your way to making it a priority right now.
I want to encourage you, though, that you can in fact make it a priority – and not by turning your schedule upside down or completely exhausting yourself. (Although, at some point, you and your husband may want to rethink the way you manage your family's schedule.) Instead, make your marriage a priority by making very small changes in your daily routine. These changes can, over time make a very real difference in the joy, happiness and connection in your marriage.
Are you willing to give it a try? If so, here are 5 simple ways to strengthen your marriage today:
1. Give him a real kiss
Remember the way you kissed early in your relationship and marriage? Kiss him like that today. One good, long kiss that says, "You still do it for me. You're still the one for me."
2. Do one thoughtful thing for him
Over time, thoughtful acts really add up. We do them for our children, our sisters and our friends, but over time we tend to stop doing them for our husbands. So today, do one thing that will make him smile or make his day a little easier.
3. Thank him
As life gets busier and more hectic, we tend to stop appreciating the things our husbands do. We start thinking that those things are just normal, adult responsibilities and tasks that he's "supposed to do." And in many ways they are. But a sincere "thank you" still goes a long way. So thank him today for one thing he does for you or your family.
4. Unplug from electronics and social media
Sometimes, time and energy spent "plugged in" detracts from time and energy invested in our marriages. And believe me, I'm pointing that finger squarely at myself! At the end of a tiring day, my natural inclination is to fall into bed and scroll through email and Facebook. So if my husband and I haven't connected that day, I have to remind myself to put my phone away and spend time with him. So today, put down your phone, tablet or laptop and focus for a little while and focus some time and energy on him.
It's ridiculously easy to get so busy that we don't actually touch our husbands for days. But our marriages need physical touch, both sexual and non-sexual – it's a big part of the glue that binds us together. So be intentional about touching your husband today. Hug him, put your arm around him, hold his hand, rub his leg with your foot, sit close to him on the couch, rub his shoulders, make love – anything that builds your connection with him.
Let's say you give it a try and do all of these things today. Then what? Then, do them again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. They aren't difficult, and they don't take a lot of time. But the effect of doing them regularly will add up over time, strengthening your connection and letting your husband know that he is one of your top priorities.
What do you think? Can small actions make a difference in your marriage? Have you tried making these or similar small changes?
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Calm. Healthy. Sexy. It has been republished here with permission.
Gaye Groover Christmus, MPH is a wife and mom to two almost-grown sons. In her “day job” she works as a writer and editor in a health field. Her passion, though, is encouraging married women to slow down, live with vitality and energy, and create joy and intimacy in their marriages. She believes that small steps can lead to big changes, and that women armed with knowledge and a plan can transform their hurried, hectic lives. Gaye blogs at CalmHealthySexy. She’d love to send you her ebook, 17 Ways to Live Calmer, Healthier and Sexier – Starting Today – as a gift when you subscribe to the blog.