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My husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this past Wednesday so I thought I’d share 15 marriage tips! We had a great evening out, enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Sutter Street Steakhouse in Folsom, I highly recommend them.  We strolled the streets of Historic Folsom and enjoyed sweet time together with rooftop views.  It was fun reminiscing on 15 years and dreaming about our future together.  15 years have gone by so fast, we were just babies when we married, 21 and 20, wow!

If you will be celebrating an anniversary, a fun thing to do is watch your wedding DVD with your children we have done this on our anniversary with our kids, not every anniversary but periodically.  Another fun thing to do is each of you share a memory from each year you have been married, it is fun to see what each one of us remember about the early years of our marriage.

Here are 15 tips that have impacted our relationship, some we have excelled in, some we are still working on and others are on here as a reminder to us to keep at it.

1. Date your spouse. Scheduling regular date nights are so important.  It is not just about a night out to dinner or doing an activity together although those are fun.  It is about making each other a priority.  We are fortunate enough to have a lot of family nearby to help with watching our kids so we schedule a date night once a week.  If you can’t go out on a date, schedule a date night in, it really is about spending time together.  Talk with your other mom friends and see if you can exchange childcare so both of you can go on a regular date night with your spouses.

2. Study your spouse. When you are first dating, you want to know everything about each other, favorite color, favorite food.  After being married for years I think we sometimes assume we know everything.  Remember that you change over the years, our hobbies, likes and dislikes.  Make it a goal to learn something new about your spouse regularly.

3. Marriage Counseling.  Having a 3rd party assist in communicating is a valuable resource.  You do not have to have a major issue to seek marriage counseling.  Many times I see couples both saying the same thing in a different way but you cannot always see that, a 3rd party can help.  I am so grateful for the times we have sought out marriage counseling from our pastor. It is so valuable to get wisdom from someone else on the situation, sometimes we just need a new perspective on the situation.

4. Read together.  It is great if you can read together at the same time, but even reading the same book, bible study, or devotional separately and then coming back and discussing the book together is beneficial.  This has definitely helped our marriage over the years.

5. Work together. My husband and I have had the good fortune of working together in our family business (Briggs Roofing & Repair, Inc.) in the early years of our marriage. We have fond memories of that season in our life. I know not everyone has a family business, but this tip still works.  Work together in the community, work together in your local church. There is something about working together that helps you grow as a couple.  You see a different side of your spouse.

6. Practice Listening. Too often we think we are good listeners, so we do not actively work on listening especially in this fast-paced, multi-tasking world we live in. I know this is something I need to work on better.  Many times our spouse is talking and we are thinking about 100 other things, or thinking about what our reply to what they are talking about will be.  We need to actively work on shutting down our thoughts and really listening to what our spouse is saying.  How about have you ever been on your phone texting, browsing social media or the internet while they are talking, I know I’m guilty.  I have to purposely choose to turn away from my phone or the task at hand and really listen when he talks.  This is important in any relationship.

7. Learn their Love Language. I highly recommend the book “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” by Gary Chapman. My husbands love language is quality time, knowing this about him has helped me express love to him in this way and connect deeper.  You can take a quiz to discover your love language online at:
http://www.5lovelanguages.com/.

8. Travel together.  I think this is important for many reasons.  When you travel together, you work together on planning the trip, you have something to look forward to together, and it takes you outside your everyday routine and location. Traveling together is a great way to connect and grow in your marriage.

9. Goal Setting. Many times we set goals when it comes to our professional life and our physical body but setting goals together as a couple is very important.  You don’t have to wait until the New Year to set goals.  Next time at the dinner table, set some goals for your marriage.  Set goals for what you want to accomplish as a couple.  Ask your spouse what you can work on to make your relationship better.  We just discussed this at dinner the other night, it is important to have individual goals and also just as important to have goals together.

10. Be kind. I think after being married for years it is easy to grow familiar with each other and not remember manners or remember to stay respectful. As a married couple, you are going to have disagreements, make it your goal even in those disagreements to be kind.  Never talk negatively about your spouse or to your spouse.  Only speak kind things about your spouse to your friends and family, and if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  Isn’t that what we tell our children?  Model kindness no matter what, remember that we all have “bad days”, “moments” you may need to be extra kind and recognize it is not personal they may just have been having a really rough day and what they really need is “extra love”.

11. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. One of my husband’s favorite statements is “in 100 years will this matter?” I don’t always appreciate when he says this in the moment, but I know he is right.  So many times in married life, the littlest things can be made big because of our emotional state, but if we would step back and really look at the situation, it is not that big of a deal in the big picture, in 100 years you won’t even remember that disagreement.

12. Be quick to apologize. We all have “bad days” or reactions to situations.  When you blow it and are rude or make a mistake with your spouse, be quick to apologize. Be quick to own your mistake and not make excuses for your behavior.  I find for myself if I don’t apologize quickly when I know I shouldn’t have said that or acted a certain way, then I will start to justify why I did what I did or think “he knows I was in a mood.” We have aimed to make it a rule not to go to bed angry.

13. Have sex! I amazed at the statistics I’ve heard of how many people are in a sexless marriage.  I know there are times when sex is more difficult to make happen, I remember when we had a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and a brand new infant, we were both exhausted and ready to collapse into bed every night.  So sure there are times when you are not as active, maybe your spouse has a health issue or maybe they travel for work often.  No matter how tired or busy you are it is important to make sex a priority.  It is important to communicate how you can help each other in this area. I think the more you work at making sex a priority and discuss it with each other the more likely you are to improve in this area.  So don’t just complain about your sex life, instead ask your spouse “how can I help you enjoy sex more often?”  Remember to prime the pump if you will, send those thoughtful texts throughout the day, brush up against your spouse when they are cooking dinner, sneak in a squeeze or passionate embrace, while you are helping clean up the dinner table, that will definitely improve your chances.

14.  Non-Sexual contact. Since the last tip was on sex. I thought I would also say how important it is to have physical touch that is not sexually motivated.  If you try and do small gestures of physical touch throughout the day, holding hands, hugging, you’ll automatically have more sex and this is important to women.  We want to know that you want to be close to us and touch us, not just to have sex rather to express your love.

15. Kiss. I heard a statistic that men who kiss their wives in the morning live 5 years longer than men that don’t, they get into fewer car accidents and have a higher income than married men who don’t.  There are so many benefits to kissing I may have to write another blog post just about kissing.  My husband makes a concentrated effort to kiss in front of our children we’ve read how this builds security in your children.  Even though my love language is physical touch, this is an area I need to work on.  I didn’t grow up in a family where a lot of PDA was expressed, I was raised in an environment where PDA should be a “private” thing. I was just sharing with a friend how I overheard some single people say they don’t see a lot of “happily married” couples they admire.  I’m sure you have heard comedians joke about what the “married” kiss looks like and the “they’re not married” kiss looks like.  This is a horrible perception, I intend to work on changing.  We are a very happily married couple, does that mean we need to make out in public, I’m not sure.  Although I don’t like the idea of being overly affectionate in public I see their point.  Let’s make it a goal as happily married couples to be more affectionate in public, let’s kiss more and improve our health, finances and give our children a vision of what they hope to be like as a married couple when they grow up.

 

Here are some older blog posts I’ve written on Marriage.

Don’t Count the Things you do, Do the Things that Count!

5 Essential Tips for Marriage

Skip the Small Talk

Dating Your Spouse

100 Years from Now

Our First Fight

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