Are you looking for ways to improve your marriage? Some couples make marriage look easy. And when you see them, you secretly say to yourself:
“I want a relationship just like theirs.”
“If only my spouse treated me that way.”
Or, sometimes you secretly hate on them and think:
“Oh Lord, here they come again…they think they’re perfect…but I bet they can’t stand each other at home.”
But, you really don’t get to see all of the energy that they are putting into developing a good marriage. Let’s face it, if you want to have a healthy marriage, then you’re going to have to work at it. And I know you’re saying, “There she goes again with that ‘work’ word.” However, it doesn’t always have to be hard work!
Lamar and I just recently came back from a marriage conference, and one of the presenters said:
Being in a constant state of gaining new skills helps you stay out of dysfunctional relationships.
In the article, What Makes a Marriage Good?, Amy Morin writes:
All couples hit bumps in the road. How you respond to those bumps in the road makes a big difference. Do you view those bumps in the road as an opportunity to build and grow your marriage? Or do you allow problems to cause you to grow apart? Sometimes people just resign themselves to a mediocre marriage. However, if you don’t work on the relationship and your marriage is only mediocre to begin with, you’ll be entering into dangerous territory when you hit some bumps in the road. Strive to make your marriage the best it can be. Take stock of the areas in which you could improve on and work on strategies to improve the health of your marriage on a daily basis.
So, I took the liberty of pulling together 7 simple things that you can do help your marriage now:
Do a Marriage Challenge Together 1 of 7
Marriage challenges provide great ways for you and your spouse to connect on a daily basis. Just query a search engine for "Marriage Challenge" and you will be presented with a variety of options to choose from. Blogger Sheree Adams just released a 30 Day Marriage Challenge :
"After you take the challenge, you may want to do it again…and again. Be sure to challenge other couples to take it as well. It doesn't matter if you start in the middle of the month. Just do it. What's important is that you realize how important it is to connect, re-connect and STAY connected to your mate. Just watch the bond between you and your love grow stronger!"
Kiss Every Day 2 of 7
Relationship coach Tiya Cunningham Sumter says touching regularly is one of the 5 Habits that Produce Extraordinary Relationships. Tiya says: "Holding hands, kissing, gazing into each other's eyes and making love always produce a stronger relationship. Keep in mind we can't argue, fuss or fight while we're physically connected."
Photo Credit: DNF-Style
Follow Marriage Focused Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts 3 of 7
Social Media is being used to embarrass, bully, and humiliate people every day. But we can also use those same tools to uplift and strengthen marriages. Follow a few social media accounts that send positive messages and links to articles that support healthy marriages. These are particularly good on days that you are feeling down or are having marital issues.
Follow us on twitter @blackandmarried
Learn about Each Other’s Money Habits 4 of 7
Finances and money problems are among the top conflicts between couples. Syble Solomon, creator of Money Habitudes says: "When couples have a healthy relationship with money and can productively discuss and manage their differences in spending and savings patterns, they will likely experience fewer challenging conflicts in other areas of their lives together." Money Habitudes is a fun and easy way to for couples to talk about money.
Photo Credit: Image of the Money Habitudes Cards from MoneyHabitudes.com
Read a Marriage Book Together 5 of 7
Reading a marriage/relationship book together is a cheap and easy way to strengthen your marriage. Read a few chapters and then discuss them together. Lamar and I just picked up 101 Conversation Starters for Couples by Dr. Gary Chapman. It's a great tool that couples can use to increase their intimacy.
Photo credit: Book Cover for 101 Conversation Starters for Couples by Dr. Gary Chapman
Pray Together 6 of 7
A great way to start your day is saying a prayer together. In the article, Making Love is Good, But it is not Good Enough, Dr. Michelle Johnson urges couples to nurture their spiritual connection (as well as their physical and emotional connections). She says:
Spiritual intercourse, in my opinion, is the most powerful kind of intercourse because it's the closest to God, who is a Spirit. When your physical bodies are tired or just unable to engage sexually, and when you're too angry or hurt to speak to each other, you can call on your spirit to remind you why you fell in love in the first place.
A lot of relationships have problems because they start off heavy with the sexual, skim the surface of the emotional, and rarely ever reach the spiritual. Or, if they do touch on all 3, they fail to nurture them consistently. And when you don't nurture something living, it dies. Which is the precise reason why it's important to have this discussion and to be intentional about growth and balance. More of one type of intercourse and none of the other is not good either.
Be Present Every Day 7 of 7
It's literally possible to be in someone's presence every day, but not really be present. Make sure that you are connecting and engaging with each other every day. And when you are talking to each other, make sure that you are in the moment and focused on "now"...not work..not the bills...nor something you have to do tomorrow.