Top 10 Marriage Hacks To Keep Your Love Thriving
Yeah, not just alive but thriving!
Me & hubby
June 2016 hubs and I will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. We were very young when we married, 17 and 20, and everyone we knew said it would never last. Truthfully, for the first 7 years there were many times when all that kept us together was not wanting all those people to be right! But during that time, and all the years since, we learned a few things about marriage, love and commitment that have helped us weather all the storms and have kept our love for each other thriving. I hope you find them helpful too.
- Plan for physical intimacy. This is absolutely critical. As time goes on and our lives get busier and busier, passionate, spontaneous sex just doesn’t happen much. Maybe you’re just too tired or there really hasn’t been an opportune time for all the stars to align and put the two of you in the mood at the same time with little or no chance of interruption. There is nothing wrong with scheduling your intimate rendezvous with your spouse. In fact, to do so is very thoughtful and loving. Physical intimacy is so important in a marriage, that deep connection and time set apart for the two of you to be focused on nothing else but each other and deepening that bond between you. If it’s not happening on a regular basis then you definitely need to plan for it.
- Make a Marriage Bucket List – write down everything you want to do together. Trips you want to go on, hobbies to take up, projects to complete – spend some time talking about things you’d like to do as a couple and make a list of the ones you both agree are things you should do. You will learn a lot about each other as you make your list and you will have a lot of fun doing it. Try to set a general, tentative, date for the completion of each thing on your list – for example, next week, next spring, by 2018, before we celebrate our 25th anniversary, etc.
- Make a game out of doing the chores – Come up with a prize, either something you agree on as THE prize or agree that whoever wins gets to choose something. It can be anything – favorite treat, a full body massage, you agreeing to do one of their chores for a week, dinner and a movie, cleaning their car, you get the idea. Next, assign each other, and agree upon, a task or list of tasks to complete. The first one done gets the prize or gets to pick a prize 😉
Make your marriage a priority – Have regular date nights. Actually put them on the calendar, at least once a month, doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy but it should be just about the two of you…together, for several hours, talking (but not about jobs, kids or money), connecting, laughing, sharing. This is so important and is one of the reasons why 10 Fitch is an adults only, romantic escape. We know how vital this is and want to be a part of helping couples connect in meaningful, lasting ways with each other. When our boys were young we couldn’t afford to do much, even paying for a sitter was often out of the question, but we did what we could to make special time to be together and not let anything else intrude. Maybe just snuggling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a romantic movie that we watched after the kids were in bed. Later, it was going out to dinner, just the two of us, and whenever we could we would pack a bag and take a little romantic escape, even just for one night at a nearby motel, so we could reconnect and be totally away from all the demands of our lives.
- Say I love you every day, throughout the day. Not just in person and face to face, leave a note where your spouse will find it, in the bathroom, car or on the fridge. Text or message them. Call and say, “I just wanted to tell you I love you and am thinking about you.” When you do say it in person you should always punctuate it with a kiss 🙂
- Hold hands often. This warm, skin to skin contact is not only romantic but also reassuring, comforting, calming, and it re-establishes an important physical connection with the one you love. Without saying a word, when you reach for someones hand you send a powerful message that you are there for them and want to be near them.
- Hold hands when you are arguing. If things are getting a little heated in your discussion call a time out, take a deep breath, make eye contact and lovingly reach for your spouses hand. Now don’t let go until you’ve finished your discussion. It will then be much harder for anger and harsh voices to intrude.
- Learn & speak frequently your spouses Love Language. This can feel like learning a foreign language. Seriously! The truth is that we all feel love in different ways and we tend to express it to others in the same way that we best feel it. But this can be a problem if your spouse doesn’t feel or receive love in the same way that you do because your love language won’t “translate” to them the same. If you are going to express to them that you love them you want them to hear you, you want them to feel it right? So, you need to know their Love Language which according to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five – physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, receiving gifts. You may think you are letting your spouse know that you love them but If you are not speaking their love language they just aren’t hearing you. Let’s say your spouses love language is physical touch but you aren’t very affectionate, you can shower them with all the gifts you want or help them with chores around the house and they still are not going to feel loved by those expressions no matter how genuine or sincere they are. You and your spouse can download an app for your smart phone to find out what your love language is and then complete the 5 week challenge to learn how to express love to them in their language. Pretty cool! You can find out more here.
- Don’t let them get away! It’s so easy to fall into the mind set that once you are married you don’t have to try so hard to win over the one you love but if you do that you are probably going to run into problems. Don’t you remember what it was like when you first met your spouse? Think back now… I’ll bet that you spent a lot of time thinking about them right? You paid special attention to your appearance (and theirs!) when you knew you were going to see them. You were interested in finding out as much about them as you could so you asked questions right? You wanted to be with them and you did everything you could to win their heart didn’t you? And do you remember what that felt like, being with them then? That’s what it was like to fall in love. Well for goodness sake, don’t let them get away now! You won your spouses heart but it’s a fact that you still have to work to keep it!
- Love and be more committed to your marriage than you are to your spouse. What? I know, it sounds odd but truthfully, in this day and age of disposable marriages and couples leaving one another for practically any reason or no reason at all, if you truly want your marriage to last you are going to have to be more committed and invested in your marriage than you are to your spouse. You and your spouse are human and are going to mess up at times, sometimes you aren’t going to like each other very much, you are going to disappoint one another, you are going say and do things that hurt each other and the truth is that you are probably going to go through some really terrible times in your marriage. It’s just a fact of married life so you have to be just as committed to the marriage today, and every single day, as you were the first day of your married life together. This commitment is deeper than the commitment you made to each other and will keep you in it for the long haul no matter what your spouse does or says or how you feel about them. It’s not about resolve, to stick it out and endure no matter how horrible it gets! No, this is about love, the kind of love that is unconditional and not based on feelings or your spouses performance but on a choice, on an act of your will. This kind of a commitment will keep you together and coming out of every single difficult situation a stronger and better person and with stronger, deeper love and devotion for your spouse. It is the cement that will keep your marriage in tact and flourishing through any storm that comes your way.
If you aren’t already putting into practice these 10 hacks I would encourage you to do so and to see what a difference they make in your marriage!
10 Fitch, your romantic escape in NY states beautiful Finger Lakes region.