Do you want to win in marriage? There’s something to be said about the taste of victory. Seeing your favorite olympian cross the finish line first or watching your favorite team with the championships feels good. Maybe your idea of victory is starting and completing a DIY project. For some of you just getting your kids our the door with no complaints is a win. But an underestimated an overlooked victory we often forget about is when we win in marriage. If you’re like me it feels great to know that I can win in my marriage by making my spouse my priority.
To win in marriage is not always easy. There are many roadblocks that keep couples from experiencing a better marriage. Believe it or not, some couples I meet with have forgotten how to simply be nice to one another. Another young couple I met with recently told me how hard it was to make sure they stay connected because one works second shift and the other works first shift. I’ve had couples come in not too long ago and basically say they’re too comfortable and things have stalled out. Other couples start the day battling with one another and are on the verge of catastrophe before they get home from work. You might not be surprised about this one either—couples have to learn how to prioritize one another first and say ‘no’ to the kids ruling the roost.
Tell Them Why You Love Them
Take time to look in their eyes during a hug and tell them you love them. Give them a compliment. Tell them you’re grateful for something they did. Our culture is deficient on teaching gratitude, encouraging one another, and saying ‘hey you’re my husband/wife and I want you to know that I’m your #1 supporter!’ There’s truth in the metaphor about plants wilting if they don’t get watered. Our spouses need watering—with words of love, support, kindness, empathy, encouragement, and tenderness. When’s the last time you were on top of your game? I bet sometime before that you were encouraged by someone somehow. Tell them how great it felt when they gave you a compliment in front of your co-workers. Thank them for keeping the kids entertained and ready to enthusiastically cheer you on the homestretch of running a race. Maybe they do your laundry or make your favorite meal with out asking and you love that they do those things for you even though you’re capable of doing them too. Sometimes it’s nice just to say ‘hey babe, I love doing life with you!’
Learn about them
Put your phone down and talk to them— don’t just talk the normal day to day ‘business’ of life. Talking about bills, running errands, who’s going where is important don’t get me wrong. But, it can get boring, routine, and your marriage relationship will go on auto pilot. It’s our job as spouses to be students of the other. This is another way we can win in marriage. Even though we may know our spouses inside and out there’s always something new to learn about them. What once was their favorite place to go with you may change. We tend to think that once we know our spouse they never change. To a degree some things may not change. Maybe your spouse takes up a new hobby. Ok, well try to enjoy it with them if you can. Maybe even if you don’t do the activity or hobby with them, go with them as they gather the supplies for it. Take an interest in hearing about it or check in with them during the process.
Make the First 5 Minutes Count
The first 5 minutes of every day sets the mood for you and your spouse for the rest of the day. How do you greet your spouse in the morning? Do you wake up, get out of bed, quickly shower, inhale a breakfast burrito, and run out the door shouting ‘see yah’ as you speed off to the local coffee dispensary? Did you immediately criticize them for what they didn’t do? If you want to win in marriage, make your first five minutes positive. Maybe you simply give them a quick kiss and tell them ‘I love you.’ Tell them how excited you are to go on a date with them later that day. You could tell them you’ll make them breakfast ‘just because.’ I personally think focusing on making sure the first five minutes of your day is positive is one of the best ways to win in marriage. It takes some getting used to but it definitely helps!
Your Spouse Comes first
Remember you are king and queen of your castle. That means your spouse comes first, then your children, then your work—in that order. I didn’t come up with this idea but I certainly try my best to apply it to win in marriage! I heard it during a speaking event with rabbinical scholar named Ray VanderLaan. He described how family and societal stability depend on our priorities. If we focus on our spouse first they know they are first. By putting kids second, they know that dad and mom’s love for one another is secure thus keeping their emotional life and perception of home as loving and safe. By putting work third it removes the temptation to violate the prioritization of the other relationships. Spending time with friends and enjoying leisure pursuits are super healthy. Get away with your spouse, even if it’s for a few hours or an over night trip. Better yet, if you can manage, take a special trip with your spouse once a year to let them know they come first.
If you’re not sure how to communicate with your spouse, how to prioritize them with busy schedules, or if every day is a battle or a bore contact Great Lakes Wellness Counseling marriage counseling experts a call today. Contact us today so we can help you win in marriage!