My husband and I were talking on the phone to one of his friends last week, and he told us that we were “#relationshipgoals”. For years I’ve been saying that we have an awesome marriage, but it was extra validation to hear that from an outsider looking in on our relationship.
So how do you get to “marriage goals” status?
Here are some of the healthy marriage habits that can improve your marriage:
What is a “Healthy Marriage”?
Before we look at some healthy marriage tips, we need to define a “healthy marriage” and what that constitutes. This will vary a bit based on opinion, but these are some generally accepted qualities of a healthy marriage:
- Commitment. Both husband and wife should be fully committed to each other and to making the marriage last. That means no throwing in the towel, or threatening to leave when the going gets tough.
- Connection. Both physical and emotional connections are necessary for a healthy relationship… That means making each other a priority and spending time together.
- Trust and loyalty. You should trust your husband completely and vice versa, and each spouse should be faithful to the other.
- Good communication. You should be able to talk with each other about anything and everything.
- Forgiveness. When your husband messes up (for instance, he forgets to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home), don’t crucify him for it. Couples in a healthy marriage are quick to forgive, and they don’t keep a running tally of past mistakes to bring up during future fights.
10 Habits to Start for a Healthy Marriage
Have a “No phones in bed” rule.
Technology is taking over everything these days, fast food restaurant cashiers are being replaced by giant self-serve monitors and now we can get updates on the weather by asking a little black box. But don’t let technology take over your marriage, too.
Make it a rule to have quality time together without either of you reaching for your cell phones, so that your time together doesn’t start looking like this:
It’s hard to connect with your spouse when you can’t disconnect from your devices.-Amy @ The Savvy Sparrow
Try something new together at least once each month.
Shared experiences can deepen your physical and emotional connection, and a great way to create shared experiences is by trying things that are new to both of you. Here are a few examples:
- Try a new restaurant that you’ve never been to before.
- Cook a new recipe together.
- Visit a new festival in your city.
- Try a new workout class together.
- Visit a new farmer’s market.
- Try a new food truck.
- Explore a nearby town that you’ve never been to before.
- Go to an Escape Room, or try a similar activity that requires teamwork.
Work towards a shared goal.
Having shared goals is another great way to strengthen your bond. Spend time talking about your goals for the future, whether it be financial goals, work-related goals, or goals for your children. Then, develop an action plan with steps that each of you can do to contribute. This will help you develop a “teamwork” mentality… and successful couples know the importance of being a team.
Stop comparing your relationship to others.
With social media, this is one of the healthy marriage habits that may be the most difficult to achieve. How many times have you scrolled through your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed and felt like your marriage was inadequate or not as exciting as your friends?
People tend to put the absolute BEST of themselves on social media, and being bombarded with images of your friends doing super exciting things with their husbands can make you feel like your own marriage is boring. As you’re using social media, remember that in most cases, it’s not an accurate portrayal of everyday life.
And don’t try to live up to unrealistic expectations of what marriage should look like, based on pictures of strangers’ exotic vacations or the surprise flowers that your friend got from her husband and then promptly posted to her socials.
Don’t over-schedule your family’s time.
When you’re always super busy running kids to soccer practice or volunteering for the PTA, then there’s little time left in your schedule to focus on your spouse. You can designate certain days or evenings as “family days”, and turn down invitations that fall on those days.
After all, if your daily to do list looks like this, then where does making time for your marriage fit in:
It may sound harsh, but you probably already do this without even realizing it… Many families with younger kids have at least a few evenings a week that they don’t have any plans, so as to get kids in bed on time. That’s a good practice, for your own well-being and the health of your marriage.
Create shared routines.
I’m all for routines. Routines are great and can help your household run smoothly. But the word “routine” can bring up some negative feelings in the context of your marriage… like “My marriage feels so routine.”
But you need to make it routine to spend quality time with your spouse.
Make it a habit to eat dinner together every single night without the TV on, cook breakfast together on Saturday mornings, or take a walk around the neighborhood together a few nights every week. My husband and I take a shower together every single night, and that shared routine has probably been one of the biggest contributing factors to our healthy marriage. Why? Because there are ZERO distractions in the shower… no cell phone notifications to check, no kids running in, etc. Just uninterrupted quality time to talk, even if just for 15 minutes.
Find something that you typically do daily or weekly, and do it together.
Do something small everyday to SHOW your love.
You know the old saying “Actions speak louder than words.”? Well, it’s especially true in your marriage. Even saying “I love you” can become mundane. Yes, of course, you love your husband, but how often do you actually do nice things for him that show your love and appreciation.
Even something as simple as leaving a funny and flirty love note in his lunchbox can be a nice surprise and an inexpensive way to show your husband that you’re thinking about him.
Here are some other easy ideas for how you can show your love for each other:
- Pick up his favorite ice cream at the grocery store.
- Have his coffee ready for him when he leaves for work.
- Leave a sweet note in his car.
- Take out the trash, if that’s something he usually does.
- Make his lunch for him.
- When you get up to go to the kitchen, ask if he wants anything.
- Order his favorite takeout for dinner.
- Offer to watch sports with him.
- Send him a sweet text message to let him know you’re thinking about him. I’ve got 31 awesome texts to send your husband here, like this one:
And if you want more ideas, I’ve got an awesome list of 50+ ways to SHOW your husband that you love him based on his Love Language here!
Do what you can to make each others’ lives easier.
When my husband and I had our pre-marital counseling 15 years ago, our pastor told us that one of his best marriage tips was to always do what you can to make your spouse’s life easier. That does two things: 1) It ensures that both husband and wife are constantly thinking of each other and putting the needs of their spouse above their own, and 2) It helps to alleviate stress in each other’s lives.
And constantly thinking about what you can do for your husband is a true act of selflessness… whether it’s filling his car up with gas when you use it to run to the store, or ironing his pants so they’re ready for him in the morning. Instead of focusing on everything that YOU do on a daily basis and harboring feelings of resentment because you feel like you do more, flip the switch. Focus on HIM and everything that HE does for your family, and find ways to lighten his load.
If both you and your husband have this same mentality, you’ll be well on the way to a happy, healthy marriage.
Don’t rely on your spouse to make you happy.
I’m a firm believer that you have to be happy on your own before you can be happy in your marriage. And it is not your husband’s job to make you happy or keep you entertained. Find something that you enjoy, and make time for that in your schedule. Even taking just a few minutes a day to sit on the back porch and read two chapters of a book can be a great way to destress and focus on you.
And if you’re happier, that feeling of optimism will overflow to your relationship, too. Not to mention, a happy person is much easier to be around than a negative Nancy.
And if you need other self care ideas visit this post: 30 Day Self Care Challenge for Moms
Be intentional about working on your marriage.
It’s a myth that only broken or unhealthy marriages need work. You should put in the work to keep your marriage healthy, and be proactive instead of reactive.
Take time to communicate, spend quality time together, make each other a priority, and build each other up… these are all ways that you can “work” on your marriage and maintain a healthy relationship.
What are some of your favorite healthy marriage habits? What do you do on a consistent basis to keep your relationship strong? Leave me a comment down below!
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