Marriage is tough. No one has to tell you that. You love your spouse with all your heart, but sometimes, he annoys you to the high heavens! And sometimes, Valentine's Day packs the pressure on. Are you supposed to buy something for your spouse every single year? How are you supposed to be creative? What if you're too busy or too tired to do something special? And what expectations are you supposed to have?
Well, forget Valentine's Day. Here are some simple tips to keep your marriage fresh and exciting all year long.
1) Make date night a priority: One of the most difficult problems in a marriage is that couples shift their focus to their careers and their kids, and they forget why they got married in the first place. It's important to spend alone time together so that you can talk about adult things for a change, reminisce about why you fell in love in the first place, and truly connect on an intimate level.
So find someone to watch the kids, plan a date and get things moving. Dates do not have to cost a lot of money or be complicated. You can plan a picnic at the park, go to the bookstore or library, catch a movie, workout together, eat at your favorite spot, go to a museum, the list is endless. Don't get caught up in the details, just have fun.
2) Be adventurous: I have to admit, I am not Mrs. Adventure. I like structure and planning-they make me feel safe. But when it comes to my husband, I'm willing to try things at least once. Try to walk on the wild side from time to time. Instead of eating at the same old Italian place, try the new food truck. Instead of staying at the same hotel, try a bed and breakfast. Change up your routine from time to time.
Adventures keep the marriage young and fresh, and more importantly, you get to experience new things through the eyes of your spouse.
3) Communicate: This is the hardest one of all. Many couples think they are communicating, but what they do is they expect their partner to read their minds. Communication simply means dropping your guard and allowing your spouse into the vulnerable spaces in your heart.
Don't expect your spouse to read your mind-tell him your wants and needs. If he says something that offends you, let him know in a loving way. If you think he means one thing, clarify to make sure you're both on the same page. Doing this helps him understand you better and also shows him what true communication looks like.
Know that in a marriage, you have to teach you spouse how you want him to treat you.
4) Learn your partner's love language: One of my favorite books in the universe is "The five love languages" by Gary Chapman. In the book he says that every individual has a love language-the primary way they need to be loved. He breaks down 5 of them. If you haven't read this book, I suggest you buy a copy and read it with your spouse.
It's not just important to know your love language, but it's important to also know your partner's love language so that you both can work on making each other happy. Often times, our love language is quite different from our partner's which means it will take some patience and effort on your part to make your partner happy. Successful marriages aren't easy.
5) Don't hold grudges: Grudges are a result of poor communication. When we think our partner has said or done something that's hurtful, rather than tell them, we hold bitterness in our hearts. Well grudges have never strengthened a marriage-rather, they break it. Grudges are the best way to tear your marriage down. If your partner has said something that you don't agree with, pull him to the side and let him know. If he should be saying something, but isn't, also let him know. This opens the door for good, mature communication.
So there you have it, 5 ways to strengthen your marriage even if you're a busy working mom. Remember, you can make every day Valentine's Day. Marriage is such a beatiful thing. With work and practice, your marriage can blossom.
How will you work on your marriage today?