How To Make Your Marriage Better in 2020 — 8 Simple Tips
Originally published: Jan. 10, 2018 under “8 Tips To Create A Dream Marriage in 2018”
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Want To Make Your Marriage Better? Keep It Simple
You’ve likely already created your professional goals for 2020… But what about your marriage? Have you chosen even one simple goal to work on this year?
Thing is, great marriages don’t just happen accidentally. It’s like a rose bush. The more you nurture it and prune it, the more the roses will bloom.
In the same way, the more you prune and nurture your marriage, the more your relationship with your spouse will blossom into the marriage you desire.
Now, if you’re looking for some inspiration about where you could start, check out the eight tips below.
Tip #1: How Get On The Same Page About Spiritual Growth
This is a common challenge that women share with me where she feels like her and her husband aren’t on the same page when it comes to spiritual growth.
From her perspective, he’s not being the spiritual leader she wants him to be. And she’s already mentioned to him that she’d like him to do more but the change doesn’t happen that she’s looking for.
According to him, she’s not being clear about what “more” means so he doesn’t know what she’s really asking.
If this is how you feel, then how can you make your marriage better when it comes to spiritual growth?
SOLUTION: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR SHARED BELIEFS ARE
Take half an hour, sit down with your husband and write a list of your shared core beliefs. Next, pick one book (together) related to spiritual growth and commit to reading it together in the coming year. This could help you learn more about what each thinks and what spiritual growth means.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: SPIRITUAL GROWTH CAN LOOK DIFFERENT FOR TWO PEOPLE
Remember, just because spiritual growth means one thing to you doesn’t mean that your spouse will see it or value it to the same level.
Tip #2: How To Shift Your Mindset About The Reality Of Marriage
Girl, if you have the mindset that marriage shouldn’t take work, that it should be easy, then you need to have a reality check!
Here’s what happens: when you believe that marriage should be easy, the challenges that come up can easily frustrate you.
You may even think that there’s something wrong with your spouse.
Or worse, that you made a mistake and married the wrong person.
SOLUTION: BRAINSTORM A LIST OF SIMPLE ACTIONS FOR YOUR SPOUSE
Work on changing your mindset by accepting that marriage takes work. Period. Great marriages take intentionality. Take 15-20 minutes and brainstorm a list of 12 simple things you can do that you know your husband would like. It could even be as simple as listen more, talk less. Choose ONE thing to work on each month this year.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: YOUR MINDSET ABOUT MARRIAGE MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE
Remember, leadership guru John Maxwell says that “everything worthwhile is uphill.” Having that mindset can help shift your expectations and makes it okay that some days, weeks, months or even years, are really hard. Just don’t stay stuck there.
Tip #3: How To Deal With Selfishness In Marriage
How often do you put your husband’s needs and desires ahead of your own? Some of us are naturally giving, but others find this much more difficult. Our culture doesn’t help. We’re bombarded with messages that tell us everything is all about me.
Here’s the truth — marriages can’t thrive when there’s a lot of selfishness.
No relationship can. You need to start consistently putting your husband’s desires and needs ahead of your own.
SOLUTION: MAKE YOUR SPOUSE A PRIORITY
Work on consistently making your spouse a priority and thinking about him with tender loving care. Every day, think of ONE way you can focus on meeting his needs, wants or desires.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: SELF-CARE AND SELFISHNESS AREN’T THE SAME THING
Remember, putting your husband’s needs and desires ahead of your own does NOT mean that you’re a doormat. However, a woman who’s confident in her worth can put him first because she knows that she’s treasured by him.
Tip #4: How To Stay Connected When You Disagree
Let’s fact it, it’s hard to stay connected when you don’t agree with your husband about something. It’s easy to be connected if you agree all the time, but no one has all the right answers [insert link].
One of the benefits of walking together in marriage is to have another person’s perspective.
It helps to make our world a bit bigger.
SOLUTION: PRACTICE COMPASSION TO STAY CONNECTED
It’s pretty simple — practice compassion. For, compassion makes it possible to stay connected when you don’t agree. It enables you to put your own agenda aside to hear what your spouse is saying. This is especially important when you don’t or can’t understand the other person.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: IT’S OKAY IF YOU NEVER AGREE ON SOME THINGS
Remember, practicing compassion doesn’t mean that you have to or will ever agree or even like what the other person is saying. Rather, it shifts the focus from needing to be right to staying connected.
Tip #5: How To Spend Time Together With Crazy Schedules
Honestly, we live in such a fast-paced culture and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.
So often, I hear the women I work with say, “I’m exhausted!”
Having quality time together with busy schedules can be a real challenge.
SOLUTION: PRIORITIZE DATE NIGHTS
Every week or two weeks, prioritize date nights to do something fun. This is a chance to have fun and to remember why you fell in love in the first place! Keep in mind, this shouldn’t be a time to sort through difficult problems, but instead to focus on keeping the spark alive.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: SET YOUR DATE NIGHT UP FOR SUCCESS
Remember, agree to focus the evening talking about just the two of you (not your kids). Getting to know each other never stops! After 37 years of marriage, I learned that my husband played the harp in elementary school.
Tip #6: How To Handle Expectations Of Daily Household Tasks
Surprisingly, even good marriages face everyday challenges because of unmet expectations.
These are small, unexpected day-to-day things that bite us over and over again.
Like who does the dishes? Who takes out the garbage? Who does the laundry? Who cares for the car? Who does the yard work? Who manages the finances?
SOLUTION: MAKE A LIST, DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot’s solution in I Love You More is to have regular, weekly “business” meetings. Make a list together of all the tasks that need to happen in order for the household to run smoothly. Divide the responsibilities between the two of you, keeping in mind the responsibilities each has outside the home and agree on deadlines.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: RE-EVALUATE WITH EVERY BIG LIFE CHANGE
Remember, Drs. Les and Leslie recommend that when you’re facing career changes or other big life changes, look again at how you can work together to get rid of these annoyances.
Tip #7: How To Deal With Hurtful Relational Patterns
Most likely, there are certain relational patterns that are hurting your relationship. These are everyday habits and attitudes that create moderate tension and struggle in the relationship.
While they’re not a huge challenge, when you don’t address them resentment builds and blows up over time.
For instance, it could be things like one partner being consistently late for events, feeling like the other person isn’t listening, feeling misunderstood, or going to bed at separate times.
SOLUTION: KEEP SHORT ACCOUNTS AND FIND SOLUTIONS THAT WORK FOR YOU
Keep short accounts. During your weekly “business” meeting tackle one issue at a time. Dr. Doug Weiss suggests this method:
- State the problem.
- Write how you feel about the problem on separate papers and alone.
- Take turns sharing feelings with each other about the problem.
- Brainstorm solutions on separate paper.
- Share solutions and combine.
- Separately vote on solutions.
- Add votes together and solution with the highest vote wins.
- If the solution doesn’t work, try the process again and come up with a different solution.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: KEEP THE PROBLEM SOLVING TO 10 MINUTES
You only need to spend 10 minutes on this. Focus on the mindset that you’re using this conflict to build intimacy in your marriage.
Tip #8: How To Stay Connected During The Busyness Of Life
In addition to date nights, how do you stay connected as a couple in the busyness of life?
Staying connected can be as simple as creating daily rituals and traditions.
After all, date nights are wonderful but if they happen only every two weeks, there’s a lot of time in between them where you may not be connecting as much as you desire.
SOLUTION: USE RITUALS AND TRADITIONS TO BUILD CONNECTION
I’ve discovered that the more Melis and I participate in habits together, the more they become a part of us, building great memories and a stronger bond. For instance, my husband and I started a weekly, exploring drive that we came to love when our kids were old enough to be on their own so we could have time alone. For more on the importance of marriage and family rituals, go to Marriage Uncensored with Dr. Dave Currie.
MARRIAGE PRO TIP: SIMPLE TRADITIONS CAN HAVE A BIG IMPACT
The ritual or tradition can be something as small as how you greet each other at the beginning and end of the day. Most mornings, Melis makes me a coffee with a touch of cinnamon. At the end of the day, we greet each other with a kiss and a simple “how was your day?”. It’s nothing exciting, but it’s constant and genuine and builds connection.
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