28 Little Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Your Marriage Happier
It's not diamonds and flowers that make a marriage, but the little things—and taking these small, simple steps over time will yield bigger, happier results.
Take time for yourself
Go ahead, take that writing class—or any other interest you might have outside of those you share with your partner. It makes you more interesting to your partner and everyone else. Moreover, a little "me time" allows both you and your partner to grow as individuals and reduces the pressure on each of you to fill the other's every need. Here's how to make the most of your free time, according to science.
Be sincere about your love
Write a love letter or e-mail. Don't worry that you're not a writer; just be simple and sincere, rather than trying too hard to be romantic. Describe how your partner makes you feel, and mention specific qualities you appreciate or quirks you find endearing. Recall your past times together and describe your hopes for the future.
Work to improve yourself
Demonstrate your love by working to improve something about yourself that bugs your partner. For instance, if she wants you to be healthier, go to the gym or take up a nightly walk (preferably with her). If he's a neat freak, stop throwing your dirty socks on the floor and leaving your dishes in the sink. Saying "I love you" is always nice, but showing it is really fundamental.
Always put your marriage first
This is a golden rule: Of all your relationships, your spouse always comes first. After all, the kids are going to leave someday; hopefully, your partner isn't. Plus, giving up your life as a couple to indulge your children simply sets an uninspiring example: Grow up, become an adult, then you, too, can subjugate your existence to that of your children. Putting your marriage first means things like deliberately setting aside time for the two of you, whether it's a weekly date or dinner alone a few nights a week (feed the kids early).
Another way to spend meaningful time together is to do service projects together. Giving to others moves you out of yourself and your own problems and supports a broader, more spiritual view of life. Rekindling your spirituality or engaging in a physical activity are also good ways for you two to get closer.
Keep your word
Breaking a promise can ruin the trust and unity your relationship is based on. It’s better to take time thinking about if can realistically follow through before committing than to let your partner down when you drop the ball.
Spend a night under the stars
Grab a blanket and stare at the night sky during a clear evening. You don’t even need to talk—just soaking in the beauty together is a great bonding experience.
Share a hobby
Find an activity both of you enjoy, and participate in it together. Try gardening, attending classes, hiking, or visiting art shows. If your partner hasn’t expressed interest yet, sneakily ask for help watering your plants, or tell your spouse a friend gave you tickets to an event. Once your partner gets involved once, he or she might want to do it more regularly.
Start monthly movie nights
Even if you have different tastes in genres, you can usually find a common ground. Find a spy film with a love story involved, or a Western movie with an attractive male lead so you both enjoy yourselves.
Couples who share funny experiences feel significantly less conflict than couples than those who don’t laugh together, one study found. Share a funny story from your day or check out the jokes on RD.com.