Is your marriage everything you ever expected it to be? Have you achieved the complete and utter fulfillment in your married life that you'd always dreamed of? Do you and your spouse spend hours upon end simply staring into each other's eyes while telling each other how madly in love you are?
"There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear the divorce courts are jammed.…Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed."
It doesn't take long after the wedding bells have finished ringing and the guests have gone home to realize one simple fact: marriage, while wonderful, is also hard work.
It takes time, patience, commitment, etc. to create a truly happy marriage. It's a process. Results may not always be immediate, but you can certainly enjoy the journey with your best friend!
If your marriage feels like it's in a bit of a slump, or if you're just looking for some ideas to keep moving things in the right direction, then try out these 10 quick and effective ways to almost immediately improve your marriage!
1. Go on a date!
Plan a night. Ask your spouse out. And date it up! It doesn't have to be flashy, expensive, or extravagant - it just has to involve the two of you spending some one-on-one time together (and a little ice cream never hurts!).
When's the last time you reminded your spouse how much you love them? There's something really special about a handwritten note expressing sincere affection. Trust us, this will yield immediate results!
This is probably more for the guys, but if you bring home a bouquet of flowers... oh boy! And if those flowers are accompanied by the love note mentioned above, your wife might start to wonder what's up!
4. Clean the car, do the dishes, fold the laundry, etc
It may sound a bit odd (because it's nothing flashy or particularly romantic), but finding some way to serve your spouse will almost immediately improve your marriage. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Simple, but extremely effective!
5. Make dinner
Does your spouse tend to do most of the cooking? If so, try a little role reversal and make dinner for him or her. If you typically do the cooking, then try fixing up your spouse's favorite meal. The fastest way to a person's heart is through their stomach, right?
6. Plan a getaway
This is probably our favorite! Getting away from the "hustle and bustle" of every day life and spending a few days together will do wonders for your marriage! It gives you time to relax and refocus on what matters most. So renewing.
7. Create a home spa
If it's been a while since you and your spouse have given each other a massage, then the time is now! Get some oil (doesn't have to be expensive) and treat your spouse to a nice home spa. Who knows what else it will lead to!
8. Offer a break from the kids
It's possible that you or your spouse are the primary care-giver of your children. Anyone who does this knows that it can be a grueling, relentless task (albeit very rewarding!). It may seem a little counter-intuitive, but simply giving your spouse a break every now and then can allow them to recharge, which will yield benefits to your marriage.
9. Steal a kiss. Or two
When you see your spouse next, steal a kiss, or two, or more. Seriously, how often do you two just kiss anymore? Just because. If you want an effective way to strengthen your marriage today, go kiss your spouse. For as long as you want. And then sincerely say, "I love you," in his or her ear along with it. It's the little things.
Sometimes the best and most effective way to improve your marriage is to apologize and hit the "restart button." We all make mistakes and occasionally say or do things that may hurt our spouse. Having the courage and humility to say "I'm sorry," and to then forgive in return can provide healing and a fresh start to a bright future.
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.