Spring is almost here. Winter has dragged on – seemingly forever – but I see signs that it’s just about over. Thank goodness! Everyone I know is ready to be done with cold, darkness and dreariness and ready to embrace warmth, light and new beginnings.
I always like to start or renew something in the Spring, and you probably do too. Sometimes I adopt a healthier diet or start a new exercise program. Maybe you declutter your house or decide to lose some weight. And while those things are great, I want to encourage you (and me) to add one more item to that list – recharge or improve your marriage.
Whether your marriage is great, not-so-great* or somewhere in between, you can make small changes this Spring that will give it new life and bring joy to you and your husband. Here are some ideas for getting started:
- Picture your marriage “recharged.” What would it look like if you could change one or two things in order to improve your marriage? What would be different? How would you feel? How would your husband feel? Really think about it and envision the difference that small but positive changes could make.
- Identify one or two changes that could make a difference in your marriage by the time summer rolls around. What would make a real difference in your marriage? What could strengthen it, enrich it, or make it more enjoyable for both of you? Maybe you need to simplify some things or say no to something in order to make time for you and your husband. Maybe the two of you need to touch more and kiss more. Maybe you need to make sex a priority. Or maybe you just need to set aside time to connect with your husband every day – beyond figuring out the school, soccer, church, and homework schedules! Every marriage is different, and the changes that can make a difference are unique to each one. So take some time to identify one or two changes you could work on this Spring that could make a real difference in yours.
- Figure out how to make those changes happen. Once you’ve decided what you want to do, figure out how you’re going to do it. Making changes is hard – that’s why we haven’t done it yet! But remember, we’re talking about small changes – not turning your entire marriage upside down! Even so, you need to figure out how to make it happen. So develop a plan. First, determine what you need – time, organization, determination, courage? Then decide how you’ll access it. Will you need to clear some items from your family’s schedule in order to make more time for your marriage? Do you need to get organized in order to reduce stress in your marriage and family? Or do you simply need to make the decision to move forward on a change and then do it? Finally, decide what steps you’re going to take and when/how often you’ll take them – and write them down. Put them on your calendar, schedule them, create a reminder on your phone – whatever will help you get started and keep going.
- Consider just making the changes you’ve decided to make, without talking about them. Sometimes your actions say more than your words ever could. So think about just moving forward with the changes you’ve decided to make, rather than talking them through with your husband. Not to keep anything from him, but simply to show him by the things you do that you’re committed to taking positive steps to benefit your marriage.
- Focus on the things you can change. If your marriage could use a bit of work (and whose marriage couldn’t!), it’s easy to focus on what your husband is doing wrong – or what he isn’t doing right. But just for the next two or three months, while you’re “recharging” for Spring, try not to focus on what he should be doing. Instead, focus on the positive changes you can make. You can’t change what he thinks, says, feels or does, but you can change what you think, say, feel and do. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling in a positive direction.
- Have sex more often. Having sex regularly helps set an overall positive tone for your marriage. It helps your husband feel emotionally connected to you, and can help you feel the emotional connection you need from him. It sets your marriage apart from all of your other relationships, and reinforces your commitment to each other. Plus, it adds some fun and relaxation to your marriage. And please don’t think that I’m saying “you need to have sex with your husband because he needs it.” What I’m actually saying is “have sex with your husband regularly because you both need it.” Sex is about you too. If that’s an area where you struggle, I encourage you to check out the books and blogs on the Sex and Marriage Resources page.
Could your marriage use a bit of “recharging” this Spring? Are you thinking about making some small changes? If so, what steps do you plan to take? Please share your thoughts in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.
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*Please note that that this article is not referring to very troubled marriages, and certainly not to abusive marriages. Those marriages won’t be helped by the simple steps suggested here, but require assistance from a counselor or other professional. If you are struggling with significant problems in your marriage, I encourage you to seek professional help.
Sharing with Holley Gerth.