Every relationship, and every marriage, is work. All the time. The work should never slow down, but it naturally does over time. It’s not always easy to just pick up where you left off, either. And with life throwing you obstacles, it’s even more difficult to figure out where you left off, and how to manage it all.
I have always been one to believe that you should treat each day like it’s your first day as man and wife – the excitement, joy and giddy pleasure you feel knowing the man next to you is your life partner. The one you will share every moment, struggle and doubt, experience together each milestone, hardship, accomplishment and fear. Then, lay down next to each other every night before waking up to do it all over again.
But as human beings, we only dream we could live like we’re always prepared to handle whatever life gives us. Truthfully, life gets the best of us at times. As human beings, we’re not designed to be perfect – especially when it comes to marriage. There is no such thing as ‘fixing a marriage’. You, your partner, and your marriage are not like the engine of a car, where you can just simply ‘get a new one’ or slap a bandaid over the problem temporarily.
A marriage is the promise only to improve – improving for yourselves, for your spouse, and for your marriage. And every marriage should be filled with constant improvement, commitment, trust and mutual effort. There are positive daily routines you can do for improvement – they are simple, yet crucial. And you can start these routines right now.
8 Positive Daily Routines For Your Marriage
1 | Make time for one another
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. But lo and behold, finding the time can be tough, especially in a marriage. Whether you have kids or not. If you both work, or you’re simply exhausted day in and day out. Days where you have barely found enough time to shower, let alone get a good night sleep; as you have probably walked right by your spouse many times without ever noticing his presence. Don’t worry – I’ve been there.
With that said, just as your own life is important, the life in which you married into should be, too. Schedule time for one another, no matter the duration. If you get an hour before bed, utilize that time for each other and only each other (technology and distractions aside). Manage your days off together, plan something just the two of you or as a family. But do think about those little moments in between getting the kids off to bed, cooking dinner, or waking up with only an hour before you both rush off to work. Those little moments count, too.
2 | Save time to reflect, and to actually talk
This doesn’t mean rehash past concerns or disagreements. Reflect, as in rekindle the reasons as to why you love one another, why you got married, how you feel for one another, or reinforcement of your future together. Tell each other what you are appreciative for in one another, or share your dreams, thoughts or prayers for each other. The goal of taking the time to reflect is spending that time being ‘close’ in an emotional way.
Instead of talking about work or the kids, talk about the things that still gives you both butterflies. Reflect on your wedding day, the day your first child was born – bring about the good feelings and emotions that were felt, and your thoughts at the time. Take this time to look deep into each other’s eyes and say how you feel for one another – even if it’s always the same things time and time again! We, as humans, subliminally feed off reinforcement.
My husband and I are newlyweds, and we tend to easily bring up our wedding day – a lot. We could simply be cooking dinner in the kitchen, and the topic just strikes. And we discuss that day over and over; each time it sounding better and better as we talk about it. Most of the time it ends with both of us huddled close on the couch watching our wedding video or looking through our wedding album.
3 |Greet each other every time
In a hello, and in goodbye. A hug, a kiss, a cutesy saying or phrase you both might have for one another – or all of the above. Act on it every time. No matter what. There’s always going to be that one time you didn’t and wish you had. And it can be tough sometimes, whether your marriage experiences long distance, or you’ve just had an argument. Do it anyway – make a conscious habit of doing it, in some form and fashion. Make it happen.
4 | Engage in things as a team (or encourage it)
I was introduced to this one early on in my marriage (not the easy way in, either). For starters, I’m a little more on the independent side. But, I also can’t stand dealing with money, or the matters around it: insurance, mortgage, etc. Everything looks like Greek to me – the numbers, percentages and negatives. And I was lucky enough have a husband with a finance degree and who takes charge of the finances already. And I trust he knows what he’s doing.
But the point is – he’s alone in that situation, when he shouldn’t be. I should at least be engaging with him on our life expenses and financial matters. So, I’m trying to learn more about those things and be as involved as I can – as a team.
Of course we all have our separate hobbies and duties as individuals, and that’s actually encouraged in any marriage or relationship. But I think in terms of life there are things we try to pawn off on each other, or expect one another to do (whether from a skillset standpoint or out of equality). If you expect your spouse to be the one to cook – as you have absolutely not a clue what a processor even is – then be more engaged when your spouse cooks. Offer how you can help or learn a few things in the kitchen. A marriage is built as a team, with teamwork effort in all that life throws at us.
5 | Just let go of the little things
The cheese was left on the counter overnight. Or there’s that sweatshirt that gets flung over the arm of the couch at the end of every day. I frequently find myself in a wide-eyed panic each time I see facial or head hair just left all over the sink – after I had just cleaned it.
Those little things. Yes, they’re annoying, and by now as individuals we should be able to pick up after ourselves without our spouses telling us to. Regardless, these things go unnoticed at times, more than once, or a lot. They can be what set you off, or get your day started on the wrong foot. But guess what: we’re all human. We aren’t designed to perfectly satisfy every single person on this planet to their liking.
And that’s definitely not what it means to be married to someone. ‘Now we’re married, so that means he should be willing to clean up every single hair on that sink so it doesn’t ruin my day of having to clean it again. He should know how that pisses me off, and that I hate it.’, ‘He shouldn’t ever forget to put the cheese away on the counter, and should be a grown man and put his clothes away when he’s not wearing them.’
That’s how we’d like to see it. But realistically, I’m not even the neatest and cleanest person in the world all the time. I have my days I refuse to fix, organize, tidy, or clean anything – and I definitely don’t want to be judged by it. I know I’m not alone in this. But when stuff he does in a way that bothers me, I forget that I probably do similar things to him.
So, I’ve learned it’s important to pick your battles. It isn’t worth me bickering and growling over a few times that he has left a shirt laying over the couch, or had forgotten to put back the cheese once after making himself a late night snack after I had gone to bed.
Hindsight, if your spouse was leaving out the cheese overnight before you got married, and still does today, you might want to have a sit down. Nothing good comes out of wasted cheese.
6 | Rely on each other from time to time, it’s OKAY
This is one of the most difficult things I have struggled with since being married, or since being in such a deep relationship, period. I am so inwardly used to being emotionally independent; it is hard for me at times to know I ‘need‘ my husband.
My emotions, and my overall mood end up changing into this dirty, bitter, cold shouldered-like manner. And in the end my husband ends up being the one suffering, when I couldn’t allow myself to feel vulnerable for needing him.
Whether that is relying on him to fix something you can’t, consoling you after a stressful day at work, being the sole income provider while you find another job after being laid off, or being there as you struggle with a death in the family. Allow yourself to feel open in your marriage for that lending hand or shoulder to cry on, you are just as much entitled to having your spouse to rely on as they are on you.
7 | Respect each other’s time apart, or alone time
I’m an introvert, so I’m an advocate for my ‘alone time’ or ‘time apart’ from my spouse. I enjoy my writing in peace, without disturbance; just as my husband enjoys his routine workouts in our spare bedroom without me bothering him. And I’m not, and probably won’t ever be the type to be able to use the bathroom in plain view of my spouse. It just isn’t going to happen for me, and my spouse doesn’t do it, either.
Out of respect, it is beneficial to allow one another that sense of privacy in whatever way possible. It can be beneficial to set simple boundaries between one another, such as during work hours, or times in need of additional privacy.
8 | Be there for each other, willingly
I’ll never forget when my husband dropped plans he had made just to simply take care of me while I was feeling sick. Things like that don’t happen very often, but I never actually realized how incredibly selfless and willing he was until then. It made me see the light in a different perspective – that there are just things worth sacrificing for your spouse, no matter what. And in turn I had never felt so grateful, and confident in the feeling of trust I have in my husband.
Just as it is important to give your spouse their respected space, it is also important to show your spouse your unconditional devotion. In times of need, or just because you feel it is the right thing to do – be there willingly for your spouse, even when it interferes with your schedule or priorities. You can almost always trust your gut instinct – if it is telling you that you should skip that work meeting in order to be able to see your husband postoperative surgery – you do it.
Implementing these positive routines in a marriage makes for a healthy, happy one. Being that there are so many positive things you can do to improve and stabilize your marriage from the beginning, it never hurts to start doing them even when you think you don’t need to. Marriage is a two-way street, and should never for a second be taken lightly when it comes to improvement.
Carissa Link is currently an aspiring photographer, writer and Lifestyle Blogger. Aside from the love for her two dogs and goofy husband, she enjoys kayak fishing, and exploring nature’s wildlife that Florida has to offer. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@themrsinglink), and take a peek at the rest of her blog at http://themrsinglink.com