What if you could improve the state and quality of your marriage without investing money, going to a counselor, or experiencing a boatload of angst? What if you could do something simple that could actually almost instantly lower the stress and up the satisfaction in this most significant relationship?
You’d go for it—right?
Well, you can. But you have to do it sincerely and consistently. Here’s how it works.
First, set a time to have an honest conversation with your spouse. Start like this: “I love you and believe you love me. I think we can have a really great marriage, and we both know that happens when our needs are met. How about if you start by telling me the three top things that will meet your needs at this season of life, if I do them consistently? I promise I won’t argue, make excuses, or try to change what you have said. I will just thank you for telling me, and commit to try to do those very things. Then, you can invite me to tell you my three top things, and you respond in the same way? This is BIG, and can help us have the marriage we hoped for when we first fell in love through every season of life. So, I don’t want us to tell each other right now. Let’s take a couple of days to think about it. Then, we can have dinner/a date this weekend, and share what we discovered. How does that sound?”
Second, keep that date. Make it special by being very prepared yourself. Thank your partner for all the things they do that you seem to take for granted, and for their love for you through the first until now. Be very positive and non-condemning. Say something like this: “These are the things that make me feel most loved. Thank you for hearing them, and for committing to do your best to meet them.”
Give your partner time to share first. Don’t be defensive about anything shared. Thank them for the information, and promise to do your best.
Third, make a hard copy list of those needs where you will read them every single day. Put them on your dashboard, your mirror, in your Bible. Just make sure you are reminded each day what this person you married needs from you. You can then make a deliberate, intentional effort on a daily basis. Remember, God our Father’s desire is for our relationships to be full of love and life, and He says unless our love is displayed in our actions, it is not love at all. As you go to bed each night, sure that you are honoring your spouse and honoring God, you will find your own heart to be pleased and satisfied. And the chances are better than 50% that your relationship with your mate will improve.
Now, I have found one more thing to be really helpful to me. I have made it a habit when I get home in the evening to ask Patty, “Hey, babe—how can I help you tonight?” It works out well for both of us. She knows I care, she appreciates it, and often we can get something accomplished that draws us even closer. Many times there’s nothing I can do, but we both feel closer just because I asked.
Having a better relationship is actually pretty simple. But it takes consistent effort. Come on. You are up for it. You can do this. You’ll be glad you did.