One of the best resolutions you can make this year is to invest in your marriage. Whether your marriage is thriving or struggling, or somewhere in between, you can take steps that will strengthen it by the time next January 1 rolls around. Here are 5 ways to invest in ways that will add joy to your marriage this year:
- Determine to live joyfully. You and I can’t change our husbands, but we can change ourselves. And when one spouse begins to focus on the positive or to live more joyfully, the marriage often changes for the better too. This year, why not decide to live with joy and happiness and bring both into your marriage? J. of Hot, Holy and Humorous recently shared practical tips for making and following through on this decision in Give Him the Gift of Happiness.
- Devote time and attention to your marriage. Your children, job, house, church, school and social activities all clamor for your time and attention. As a matter of fact, they are willing and able to devour all of your time and attention, and then some. Don’t let them! Your marriage desperately needs your time and attention too. As a matter of fact, as long as your children are safe, secure and healthy, I’ll go out on a limb and say that your marriage needs more of you than anything on that list, not only for this season of your life, but also to lay a foundation for the season when your children are out on their own. (Trust me on this – you want to have a good foundation in place when your youngest child goes off to college!) This year, consider giving more of you to your marriage and less to things that don’t matter nearly as much. (Here are some ideas to help you get started.)
- Support your husband’s priorities and interests. You know that feeling you get when someone really believes in you, supports you, and gives you the freedom to pursue your dreams? Yeah, husbands like that feeling too! So this year, make a concerted effort to support your husband in the things that matter to him. Is he working hard to get a business off the ground or to move forward in his career? Does he want to pursue an interest that might lead to a different career? Has he set aside a favorite hobby to focus on your interests or the children’s activities? Identify one or two things that mean a lot to him, and give him the freedom and time to pursue them. (This could mean setting some limits on the children’s activities, which might end up being a good thing for everyone in the family!)
- Embrace your sexuality. Marriage is a sexual relationship. In order to live with joy in marriage, the needs of both spouses for sex and intimacy have to be met on a regular basis. (Yes, you have a God-given need for sex and intimacy too – it’s not just something for your husband!) If this is an area of stress or friction in your marriage, commit to embracing your sexuality and building sexual intimacy with your husband this year. Here are some great resources to help you get started – 9 Sex Tips for Wives, Sex Savvy, 31 Days to Great Sex, Resources for Low-Libido Wives, Resources for Wives Who Control or Refuse Sex.
- Surround yourself with marriage-positive people and influences. This year, surround yourself with people, activities, books and media that build up marriage. So much of our culture tears down marriage (and some of it seems designed for that very purpose!) If you spend time with people who bash marriage, participate in “husband gripe” sessions, watch movies that romanticize affairs, or read books that present marriage as an outdated institution, your view of marriage will suffer. Instead, immerse yourself in pro-marriage messages. Spend time with family and friends who value marriage, get involved in church or community activities that build up marriages, and read pro-marriage blogs and books, like the ones listed on the Resources page and Fawn Weaver’s best-selling book, Happy Wives Club – One Woman’s Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage.
Are you thinking about ways to invest in your marriage this year? I’d love for you to share them in the Comments. Gaye