Don’t worry… you don’t need to do all 50 :). And some of these ideas won’t apply to your situation in life. But, I hope this list inspires you to just try ONE and re-focus on the person you love! I think it’s so easy, with the stresses of parenting or working or life, to neglect giving daily love and attention to our most important relationship on earth. In marriage, we are completely known for who we are and our spouses get our best and our very worst. Luckily we can continually learn and grow as a person and a couple. Being married to my very best friend is the biggest blessing in life!!
If you ever feel that your marriage could be stronger or you feel your relationship needs a re-charge (which is always does), pick one that works for you and have fun!! I so believe that discovering ways to show love in YOUR SPOUSE’S LANGUAGE and re-discovering your FRIENDSHIP over and over again is what builds a strong marriage! So I hope one idea may help…
1. Choose to act, not re-act.
Isn’t it so natural to react to others, to become offended when someone is offensive?! To mentally blow up your spouse’s faults to justify your “better,” standing? To reflect shortness to someone’s being short or irritable? You cannot ever change others, but you have the power to choose how you act and how you love.
2. Be the first to change.
My husband and I once heard the advice to look into a “mirror,” when there’s any particular marriage issue…definitely NOT in an effort to blame yourself, but to ask yourself, “How can I change or make things better?” Or, “What can I do differently?” Really, you are the only thing you can control, and your efforts can and may inspire your spouse.
3. Flirt with each other.
It’s funny how we totally flirt while dating, but once we’re married we can easily forget to be fun with each other! Just because you’ve snagged him or her, don’t stop flirting. Try to bring it back :).
4. Laugh more.
Remember when you were dating and you laughed about everything? We all can get into a rut and forget to have fun, but we need to be able to laugh at ourselves, and to not be so serious all the time. The other night, my husband and I were bantering and laughing, and I caught a glimpse of my son’s wide eyes and sheepish smile. Children secretly light up inside when they see their parents laugh and connect!
5. Text each other.
Surprise him with a spontaneous, flirty text, or a sentence about why you are so grateful for her. Finding small ways to connect during the day makes a difference.
6. Initiate intimacy.
Through extensive research and experience in married couples therapy, Dr. Willard Harley discussed the top 10 marital needs in his book “His Needs. Her Needs.” The needs that women rated as their top 5 were typically men’s bottom 5, and vice versa. Harley explains that the marital need of “sexual fulfillment” doesn’t necessarily mean just quantity, but even more – quality. Interestingly, men feel most fulfilled and loved only when they feel their spouse is also desiring and also fulfilled. Dr. Harley counsels wives in therapy to discover how they personally can enjoy intimacy more and more, prepare for it, and especially choose to initiate.
7. Offer praise and show appreciation.
When your husband or wife works hard, or does something for you, let him or her know you appreciate them! Everyone desires to feel understood and valued. In a moment where you could become frustrated, first think of something you could be grateful for in your spouse. Interestingly, researchers have found that “praise and appreciation” are actually one of men’s top five needs in marriage.
8. Drop everything.
Try putting aside your eternal to-do lists just for a moment, and give your husband or wife your sincere, undivided attention.
9. Start a hobby together.
With our babies asleep at home one night, we decided to write a “bucket list” of fun things we wanted to do together. We love rock-climbing, so we’ve started buying the gear. Find something you both would enjoy!
10. Read a book together.
11. Plan a date night.
Even if it is in your own home, when the kiddos are asleep (but I love it when we actually leave the house!). If you need some fun date night ideas, click here. It’s so important to have that time to fall in love all over again – just the two of you. Find what works for you, and maybe even officially ask each other out!
12. True love is never about you.
I love the article “Marriage Isn’t for You” where we learn “you marry to make someone else happy.” How can you build, and serve, and add to the happiness and well-being of your spouse?
13. Feel beautiful.
Trying to oversee that four people get their teeth brushed, clothes on, hair done, and tummies fed means it’s easy for me to get last pickings on personal time. One day with all my little buddies finally strapped in car seats, we made it all the way to the store before I realized I forgot my own shoes! However, I have made it my New Year’s resolution wife-goal to somehow find a way to feel more beautiful for my husband, because it seriously makes such a difference to me.
14. Remember the “real” golden rule.
In marriage, it’s not just treating your spouse the way you want to be treated, but meeting their needs in the way they want. This takes lots of time, practice, trying and understanding – over and over again.
15. Make a surprise breakfast.
16. Say you are sorry (sincerely).
Say you are sorry even before your spouse does, and irregardless of whether he/she gives an apology, too. I love the quote by Ruth Bell Graham, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
17. Remember the power of touch.
Spontaneously decide to dedicate an entire day to as many random acts of physical touch as possible… back scratches, hugging while talking, touches in passing, etc.
18. Write a fun love note.
Maybe a “Top 10 Things I Love about My Wife,” on the bathroom mirror, or post-it notes or a letter thrown in his car, or on the bedroom door.
19. Light candles and give each other massages.
20. Grab a kiss while you wait.
Kiss your husband or wife while you’re waiting at the stoplight, or in the food drive-through, or at the grocery store…just because.
21. Remember the power of exits and entrances.
As you and your spouse say goodbye’s and reunite again after a long day, be aware of how you show love during these important cross roads.
22. Take interest in each other’s interests.
Doesn’t it make you feel close to someone when they take a keen interest in what you love?! If it matters to your spouse, then it should matter to you because you love them.
23. Dance together.
Dance in the kitchen, in the parking lot, under the stars, in your home, anywhere… as long as you both would enjoy that.
24. Verbally show appreciation for your spouse in front of your family and friends.
When with his family, for example, share real sincere appreciation for what your husband does or who he is. When you are around her friends, mention something specific you love about her.
25. Buy or make a surprise gift.