Marriage requires love, commitment and yes work.
But don’t let the word ‘work’ scare you off; we mean patting your husband’s behind in passing, telling your wife she looks beautiful on date night, or extending your morning kiss by 10 seconds.
These are things that are easy to do, things that (we hope!) you want to do, but they’re also easy to forget to do. Although, it’s nothing a little mindfulness and daily practice can’t fix. ;)
We’ve gathered ten helpful and effective tips from marriage and relationship experts that are going to keep you and your partner connected and happy.
1. Stay in touch throughout the day.
Send a sweet snap, text or email letting your partner know you’re thinking about them, or just to check in and see how their day is going. (And let’s not rule out sexting...just be sure to understand how to sext safely!
2. Practice random acts of kindness.
“The accumulation of small gestures (like bringing a cup of hot coffee to your parnter in bed, or filling up the gas tank unexpectedly) has a bigger impact on couple happiness than grand, less frequent gestures,” explains Dr. Terri Orbuch Ph.D., author, therapist, and research professor at University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research (a.k.a. The Love Doctor). You don’t need to go the extra mile—just the extra second, to build up that love tank.
3. Start and end the day with a hug and kiss.
Gretchen Rubin, author of Happier at Home, said that Orbuch’s research inspired her commitment to kissing her husband every morning and every night, “Frequent gestures of affection make me happier (and him, too!). He’s my husband, not my roommate, and I enjoy showering him with kisses.”
4. Touch, often.
Hold hands on the couch, pinch his butt when you’re walking down the hallway, rub her arm over dinner. Don’t be afraid to show each other affection throughout the day. “Research consistently shows that touching more creates a stronger bond by releasing oxytocin. When you give a quick hug or kiss, try to lengthen it to at least five or 10 seconds for more effective results!” Thanks, Lori Lowe, author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage, we like how you think.
5. Connect every day.
Dr. Terri Orbuch encourages “The 10-Minute Rule,” to chat with your partner daily, “about anything other than work, family, the household, or the relationship.” That uninterrupted face-to-face time is super valuable for your relationship.
6. Look at an issue you’re facing together in terms of a goal.
Try not to argue or place blame; instead, Hitched Magazine advises, “begin your conversation with goals -- it gets both partners thinking about solutions, possibilities, and opportunities for change.” And like marriage counselor Sharon M. Rivkin, M.A., M.F.T. says, “Drop the shaming, blaming, needing to be right, and really listen without interrupting. Then communicate how you feel, using “I” statements.“
7. Compliment one another.
Make your partner feel good about the person they are. Ashley Davis Bush LCSW, a psychotherapist who specializes in couples therapy and author of 75 Habits for a Happy Marriage: Advice to Recharge and Reconnect Every Day explains, “Not only does your partner feel appreciated after your compliment, but you start to train yourself to look for the good. You focus your attention on the things they do, not just what they don’t do.”
8. Have a planned event to look forward to, together.
Plan a mom-and-dad-only weekend getaway or vacation so you have something special for you two to be excited about. Not in the budget to go away right now? Make sure you have a movie, dinner, or a new activity to try together on the calendar. Our friends at Happify found that, “couples who have new experiences together report feeling more loving and supportive towards one another, and more satisfied with their marriages.”
9. Thank each other for the little things.
Super simple, but sometimes hard to remember in our daily lives. Maybe you’re used to your partner cooking dinner every night, so you don’t think to thank him. Or you always do the grocery shopping and don’t receive praise for it. Start thanking each other for these types of tasks, and you’ll notice a positive impact.
10. Celebrate good news.
How do you react to your partner’s good news? The New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope shares with us in her book For Better, “It’s not enough that your partner knows that you take pride in his or her accomplishments. You have to show it. Making a fuss over the small, good things that happen every day can boost the health of your marriage.” So really go for it—put the kids to bed, open that special bottle of wine, and relive the you’re-getting-a-raise conversation with enthusiasm!