Marriage is important. But like any relationship, marriage takes effort and it is all too easy to set your relationship on autopilot rather than make the daily effort to grow closer to your spouse.
Recently on her podcast Girlfriends, Danielle Bean shared four things you can do to improve your marriage – and they are all things you can start right now! Danielle Bean stopped by Morning Air® recently to share these four simple ways you can show love to your spouse.
Pay More Compliments
Use words of encouragement. Say what your spouse is doing right! Appreciate it, be grateful for it, and then verbalize that gratitude.
We all get into bad habits and ruts inside our relationship where we take for granted other people’s contributions, the good things they do, and the good people that they are. And it’s all too easy – whether in our parenting or in our marriage – to only notice the things that are wrong. We only notice those things that stand out because they’re off, and we take the good stuff for granted.
We all know from our own experience how encouraging it is when someone pays you a compliment, when someone notices your good work, or appreciates you for who you are. So let’s use that tool inside of our marriages. It’s very human to respond positively, and it’s relationship-building to use those positive words of encouragement and praise.
It’s all the more powerful when you’re willing to not just compliment your spouse, but also praise them in front of other people. Tell other people what you think is great about them.
Do Something Active Together
The more you are spending time together, the more opportunities you will have to speak those words to your spouse, to appreciate them, and to notice the little things about them.
And there’s nothing really wrong with sitting and watching television together, going to a movie, or something. But those passive forms of entertainment aren’t truly bonding in the way that having a shared common goal is. And doing something active together doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, but it might be something as simple as tackling a do-it-yourself project in the home together, planting a garden, or something with the kids.
You can have that shared goal from doing something active together, and I think that forms a cooperative spirit inside of your marriage.
Frequent the Sacraments
It’s all too easy, especially for those of us who have been Catholic for a long time, to take the graces of the sacrament for granted. I think we’ve all been guilty of that sometimes, receiving the Eucharist unthinkingly, not taking advantage of the Sacrament of Confession as often as you can. But they are very real graces that we receive that are specific to our state in life, that are specific to the kinds of things we need inside of our vocation.
Marriage is a sacrament, and you receive special graces through that sacrament. So call on God, ask for those graces that you received through the sacrament of marriage on your wedding day. Because they weren’t for the wedding day – they were for the long haul. They’re for the tough times.
And also rely on the sacrament of Confession. There is nothing more healing inside a marriage or inside a family than to receive God’s forgiveness together. My husband and I have enjoyed making it a date night. We start out with Confession on a Saturday afternoon and then go out to dinner or do something fun. It’s a wonderful way to really soak up those graces that are available to us in the sacrament.
Do More Than Your Share
It’s so human to tally things up inside of our relationships. And I think it’s important to remember that our perspectives when it comes to division of household duties, especially, is skewed. Every human being notices their contributions and sacrifices more than what other people contribute to the household. So recognize that your perspective is skewed, and then do more than your share. It’s going to feel that way anyway, so rather than keeping score, which is such a destructive force inside your relationship, try to do more than your share. Inspire that generous spirit inside your relationship. Because the good news is that it’s going to be reciprocated.
Listen to the full conversation with Danielle Bean below:
Hear more from Danielle Bean at her podcast Girlfriends.
Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.