Marrying someone is a scary thing. You hope you choose the right person. You think you know them but you don’t. Not really! When my wife Lisa and I were dating we were so much in love. We couldn’t stand to be apart from each other. Neither of us could do any wrong. Then we got married. I woke up the next day beside a complete stranger! Who is this person? The first time we went shopping together we got into a big fight about cheese, if you can believe that!
No marriage is perfect. Even the best of marriages experience problems from time to time. Just because you have problems in your marriage doesn’t mean you have a bad marriage or that you should end your relationship. Nor does it mean you should begin a project to fix your spouse. If you try, you will fail every time. You can’t force anyone to do or be anything. I believe that the only way to get a better spouse is to become one yourself.
They say marriage is grand and divorce is at least 10 grand!
That is why I have put together this list of 25 tips to help you become the best spouse you can be. Here it is:
- Keep Dating – Just because you are married doesn’t mean the dating stops. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life and never get out together, away from the children, house and bills. Go to the park, a concert, the gym, out to dinner or a movie.
- Have Courtesy – Courtesy in marriage is more than just saying “Please,” “Thank you,” “Excuse me,” or “You’re welcome.” Courtesy in marriage is calling your partner to let them know you’re going to be late. It’s being conscious of their needs and making sure they are met.
- Show Respect – Your spouse will have opinions that are different than yours. Show respect for them by never belittling or making fun of them. Show respect for their ideas, their privacy, and their things.
- Say “I’m Sorry” – Be the first to make peace. Be willing to say “I’m sorry” and mean it.
- Give Surprises – The unexpected things in marriage are what add spice to life. A surprise date, a note on the mirror, finding the dishes done or flowers for no reason can boost your marriage.
- Have a Sense of Humor – Be playful, be funny, lighten up from time to time. Find the humor in any situation.
- Give Support – Show interest in your spouse’s outside interests and support them in it. Be a cheerleader for them. Help them accomplish their goals.
- Give Compliments – Find things about your spouse to compliment. They need to know that you still find them attractive or smart or talented. Tell them.
- Say “I love you” – You can never say this too much. Tell them every day that you love them. Go one step further and tell them why you love them.
- Have Fun – Don’t be a stick in the mud and never do anything fun. Go out and try new things. Or better yet, do the old things you did when you were dating that were so fun.
- Keep Talking – Communicate. Speak to each other. It’s amazing how many couples never talk. You talked until 3 in the morning when you where dating. Why did you stop?
- Keep Confidences – Don’t talk about your personal marriage problems with your parents or your friends. This is none of their business. There is a certain level of trust expected in a marriage that we must not tarnish.
- Connect Daily – Whether it’s a phone call, email, text message or chatting on Facebook; connect with your spouse every day just to say “Hi, how’s your day going?” Touching bases shows you care.
- Give Gifts – They say you can’t buy love but a gift now and then can help brighten the love you’ve got. It doesn’t need to be big or expensive, just a small token that shows you care. Of course big gifts can be nice too!
- Work Together – When you do things together like remodeling a room or planting a garden, you both feel that sense of accomplishment which strengthens the bonds of your relationship.
- Never Humiliate – Don’t correct or demean or put down your spouse in front of others. It’s bad enough to do these things when you are alone but to humiliate in front of others is paramount to marital suicide.
- Listen – One of the simplest yet most neglected things we can do to strengthen our marriage relationship is to listen. It can be a challenge in our multi-tasking-world to stop everything we are doing and actually listen with our full attention but this is crucial to showing we care.
- Romance – Somewhere deep inside every adult is a giddy, silly teenager that thrived on juvenile crushes, puppy love and romance. It doesn’t go away; we just tend to suppress it. Light up your relationship again with romance.
- Bury the Past – In other words, learn to forgive. Let things go. Don’t keep dredging up past offenses every time you have a new argument. Forgive and forget.
- Write Notes – One of the easiest things you can do for your spouse is to write a simple love note and leave it somewhere to be discovered. Somehow, putting it in writing makes it that much more meaningful.
- Pick Your Battles – Some things just aren’t worth fighting over. If the issue at hand won’t matter in the long run then concede the battle. Let it go. Winning battles only to lose the war is foolish.
- Say “Thank You” – Show appreciation for the little things you take for granted on a daily basis. Your spouse needs to hear from time to time: “Thank you for going to work every day.” “Thanks for a wonderful dinner.” “Thanks for mowing the lawn.” Say it and mean it.
- Don’t Smother – When they say a married couple should be “as one” it doesn’t mean you should be tied together 24×7. Allow some slack in the marriage bond from time to time to allow your spouse some personal time and expression.
- Sacrifice – Give up something you want so your “better half” can have what they want. Let them choose the restaurant, the movie or television show.
- Be Nice – This sounds obvious but sometimes we treat those closest to us worse than we treat strangers. If you treated your friends like you treated your spouse would you have any friends? Something to think about.