Marriage can definitely be a good thing, but it requires time and effort from both sides to make it the best it can be. However, many times couples stop doing the small, caring things they used to do while they are dating. In many cases, this puts a marriage on the road for destruction. If you’re finding your marriage is starting to become a little boring or you are getting to the point that you are starting to question your relationship with your spouse, read on! We may have just the cure!
M and I recently went to a marriage class offered at our church titled “Refreshing Your Marriage by Minding the Little Things.” The speaker emphasized over and over again about how important it is to continue to do the small things in a marriage. He compared the small, positive things in marriage to yeast. A very small amount of yeast added to bread will make it rise a tremendous amount. It is the same in marriage. Doing small things for each other to let the other partner know you love them add up quickly! The positive feeling they get when you do something thoughtful for them will grow into other parts of the marriage, and it will become easier for your partner to return their love to you in the same way.
So what exactly are the little things that are so important in a marriage? It is different for each individual. I will give some examples from M and I’s relationship. M always loves it when I have his shirts ironed for work and he doesn’t have to ask me to do it for him. The things I say to him are also important. He likes it when I ask him how his day was, and when I give him compliments about things he has done. On the other hand, I feel the most connected to M when he cuddles with me, or tells me I’m beautiful. I think we can all agree that these actions I have described are very simple and easy to do, yet they are extremely crucial things to have in a marriage.
The great thing about this is that no matter where you are in your marriage, whether very much in love newlyweds or on the brink of divorce, incorporating these positive actions into your marriage can make drastic changes for the better. The speaker in the video told of countless couples he had met with who confessed to not even liking their partner anymore. They felt that their marriages were at a dead-end. His prescription? Do one small, positive, caring action every day, five days a week, for six weeks. At the end of six weeks, evaluate how your feelings towards your spouse have changed for the better. And amazingly, for the couples who stuck with the program, they felt as if their relationship made a complete “one-eighty.”
In order for this plan to be most effective, you first must know what little things your spouse desires from you the most. Some of you may think you already have a good idea of what your spouse desires from you, but I still suggest you do the following: make a list of ten, small and simple actions that you would like to see from your spouse. You may be surprised some of the suggestions that show up on your partners list! For example, I already knew that M would put “make meals” on his list, but I had no idea that he liked it when I left little notes for him around the house! I learned more about my partner by actually writing out a list and not assuming what he likes. So write out a list of ten actions and exchange them with your partner. Also, it is important when writing your list to not make “Ten Demands” rather than just things you like. Write the list to help your partner, not to put them down. Only then will it be the most effective.
Once you have made the exchange, it time to use what you know. Make it a point to do one thing off your spouse’s list each day for five days out of the week. I don’t think this is a lot to ask! M and I started implementing this into our marriage right away, and I already feel after three days that my attitude is changing towards him. In no way would I have considered our marriage to be struggling, but when we started doing more little things for each other, I could already see improvement. That’s what is so great about marriage, there is always room to grow! I really feel even more satisfied than ever in my marriage. For us, it feels like we are dating. I’m not saying this will be the case for everyone, but it will most definitely improve your marriage in some form.
At the end of our six weeks, I will write another entry evaluating how this worked for us. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you in your relationship! We would love to hear if this is helpful to anybody else. Just take it one day, one simple action at a time and see how your relationship grows together!