What marriage goals do you have for this new year?
The big thing I talk about here at To Love, Honor and Vacuum is marriage, and with the new year upon us, it makes sense to look at some ways you can improve your marriage over the next year.
So have you made any marriage goals? I asked on Facebook for marriage goals that people had made this year, and got some great answers!
But remember–if you want to meet those goals, you need to develop new habits that will get you there! And today, for Top 10 Tuesday, I thought I'd list 10 marriage habits that can help you reach some new goals!
As you're reading this, here's what I'd suggest: Before you start, think of the big goal or big change you'd like to see in your marriage this year. Have that in your mind first. Then, as you read, what ONE habit resonates the most with you? What ONE habit will get you where you feel God is calling you?
Then start that ONE thing! (Please don't try to start all 10. Pretty please. Make one small change! It's much easier to do, and then you'll see better results.)
Okay, let's go:
Marriage Habits to Help You Feel Emotionally Closer
1. Start a daily check-in
One of the biggest threats to oneness in marriage is simply drifting apart–or feeling like you don't know each other anymore. That's so common, especially if you work separate shifts or if one of you spends a lot of time out of town. Even if you're just busy with kids, and you're in the same house at night, you can still feel like you're drifting.
So start this one great marriage habit: every night, share your high and low–the time during the day when you felt most energized and "in the groove", and the time when you felt the most drained.
Here's why this is especially powerful: Introverts can be extra awkward with the question, "what did you do today?" It makes it sound like you have to recount your whole day and talk for hours! But if you simply have to share two moments, it's easier to do. And you both still feel emotionally connected, because you've shared the times when your emotions were strongest.
2. Go to bed at the same time
Adults need bedtimes, too! In fact, adults need SLEEP. And with screens, often we stay up far too late. If you go to bed at the same time, though, you're more likely to feel rested, and you're more likely to experience real intimacy as you drift off together. That's your time to chat, to pray, and even to make love!
3. Add some non-screen time to your day
My husband and I have recently decided that every night we're going to play a board game BEFORE we watch Netflix or bring a screen into our marriage. It challenges the brain. It lets you laugh together. And it lets you talk and create memories. Screen times are passive times when the brain isn't really engaged. Game times are active times. So that's when you can create memories!
I have a great post on 2 player board games that I update all the time with new games. Here's our game cupboard shelf with all our games that work with just two people. So fun!
4. Have a weekly date night
Many women on Facebook wrote about wanting to stress a weekly date night this year! But date night doesn't have to mean dinner and a movie. It can just mean planning one night a week that's especially for you. Maybe you put the kids to bed first and then you eat later, and do something together (like that board game). Or maybe you do ballroom dancing online classes in your living room! (That's one of our favourite romantic things to do!)
One woman on Facebook wrote this:
[Our goal is] weekly date night! Even if they are staying in dates (we have three small children and a puppy haha!)
5. Catch him doing something right
Here's a different habit that can make all the difference! One woman on Facebook wrote this:
[My goal is] to keep "catching him doing things right!" Looking for opportunities daily to thank him, affirm him, compliment him, both privately and in front of others. And to talk to God daily in deep prayer about areas he needs to grow and change, for at least a month, before I try talking to him about it.
She got that "catch him doing things right" from my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change a Marriage. So often we're looking and thinking about the things that he's doing wrong. But when you make it a habit, everyday, to find one thing to call out and compliment that he's doing right, then you start looking for those things. And when you look for them, you notice them more. It changes your whole outlook! You become more grateful and more loving. And, perhaps ironically, as you do that, it's actually easier to talk about the things that are problematic in your marriage, because your attitude primarily is not a critical one. It's a great habit to break the negative cycle!
Marriage Habits to Build a Great Sex Life
6. Schedule Sex
Scheduling sex isn't for everyone. But for many it can work really well. If one of you has a low libido, then scheduling sex tells the person with the higher libido–it's okay. You're going to make love this week. That way they don't have to always be on edge and asking, and the low libido spouse doesn't always have to worry, and the low libido spouse has the ability to get herself or himself "in the mood" throughout the day!
Also, if you haven't had sex in a long time, and you're realizing that you need to start connecting again, it can be very awkward to start. This takes some of the awkwardness factor out. No one has to initiate sex–you know you're going to. So it's easier!
One woman wrote this on Facebook:
[My goal is to] have "nookie" 3 times a week. We didn't have any for over 21 months and just recently decided to fix that.
Yep! This is often the way to do that. And if you want an even bigger prompt–try the 31 Days to Great Sex challenge in January!
7. Implement the "His" Nights or "Her" Nights Change to Spice Things Up
Want to spice things up in your marriage this year, but don't know where to start? If your sex life has gotten into a rut, here's a fun way to be more adventurous! Take the month, and choose one or two Saturdays to be "his" nights and one or two to be "her" nights. Then on those nights you do what she wants or what he wants. It gives you a chance to do things differently, knowing that on all the other nights (which are regular nights), you won't have to do something new. So you get the fun of being more adventurous without the pressure that it has to be like that all the time!
I've got a post on how to make his nights and her nights work.
Marriage Habits to Help You Reach Goals
Are you working on goals in a specific area of your life? Maybe you can bring your marriage into them this year!
8. Create and stick to a budget
Money disagreements are one of the biggest stressors on a marriage. And debt just weighs you down. Could this be the year that you start truly making–and sticking–to a budget? The year that you get a plan to get out of debt? I love Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Here's my suggestion: Get that book, get the Every Dollar app, and start watching some Dave Ramsey videos on YouTube. Together, you can break out of this cycle!
9. Bring Scripture into your life
Maybe you both believe and you're both Christians, but God just isn't a part of your daily routine. Want to change that? Several Facebook respondents said they're prioritizing doing devotions together this year.
So perhaps you can choose this year to memorize verses at dinnertime (I have a list of the best 50 Bible verses to memorize).
One thing Keith and I do is the daily Scripture readings from the Anglican lectionary. We're not Anglican, but I love their daily prayers and the daily Bible readings, which are always super relevant. Just search your app store for Anglican daily readings! It's not as long as reading the whole Bible in a year, but it brings Scripture into your day.
10. Fight the frump for your husband
One woman on Facebook said this:
[My goal is] putting my husband first! I think nothing of going around the house with no makeup and sweats but will get made up to go out why?? My husband should be my priority! Also I have started weight loss he would and has never said anything about my weight but he is definitely more interested now that I have lost 15 pounds and 15 to go.
Choosing to look great for your husband (and for yourself!) rather than for every stranger who will see you in the grocery store is a great mind switch to make this new year. Get started by reading my fight the frump series! It's all about how looking put together doesn't have to take that much time at all–but can make you feel great!
Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 25 years and happily married for 20! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature "Girl Talk" about sex and marriage. And she's written 8 books about sex and marriage. See a theme here? Plus she knits. Even in line at the grocery store.
Find her at https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/
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