How to Make Your Marriage A Priority
(partial excerpt from my book so please picture all of capital letters lowercased)
I get it…you’re busy. You have things to do. Maybe your days are spent at an exhausting and demanding job, you have small humans that require your attention, or you’re starting a business together and trying to juggle life partnership with business partnership and sometimes it’s a disaster-ship (I made that ‘ship’ up).
Regardless of your life circumstances, if you’re in a marriage or relationship and you want to maintain it and make it better-you must BOTH figure out how to make it a priority.
Here’s the definition of priority: “a thing that is regarded as more important than another.” While technically in the English language, ‘priority’ is categorized as a noun, I tend to think of it as an action. We need to be intentional about choosing our marriage over other things.
Oh and see that arrow above…it’s point at YOU (and me). We have to take action to make our marriages work and making it a priority does this.
I don’t have kids so I cannot personally speak to how much time and energy they tend to eat up (literally and figuratively) from your relationship. What I have seen and heard from couples that have chosen to have kids is that when they continue to make their marriage a priority, the whole family benefits.
Here are some tangible ways to help make your marriage a priority:
1. Discuss what ‘priority’ means to each of you
It’s first important to define this so that you can know whether or not you are meeting your intention of making your marriage a priority. It’s equally important to share it with your partner so she/he is aware of the actions you are taking. Another bonus to sharing with each other is that chances are you are both pretty smart so new ideas of what you want your marriage to look like or how your days to feel will come about.
2. Give your most precious resource: TIME
You can always make more money; you can always binge watch hours of Full House later (don’t pretend like your crush on Uncle Jesse ever wavered) and I’m sure those dishes will eventually get washed. What you cannot get more of and what you are not guaranteed is your time- so spend it with the person you love the most. Carve out specific times during each day and week that the two of you just spend together. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, or at the dinner table or every Thursday night you simply sit and stare at each other for a solid 7 minutes instead of turning on the TV. This includes also scheduling mandatory date nights with just the two of you to feel connected.
3. Vocalize your appreciation
Appreciate the big and small things that your partner does for you. Each time delicious food miraculously appears on my plate, I look directly at my husband and tell him I appreciate the time and effort he has put into feeding me (if it were up to me, we would eat cereal and teddy grahams every night). Each time I venture to the grocery store and buy supplies for him to feed me, he looks directly at me and thanks me for using my time to do that. He appreciates when I give him feedback on his upcoming keynotes and I appreciate when he deals with my crazy mood swings and panic attacks. We are vocal about it and that matters.
4. Keep your marriage conflicts between the two of you
Sure we all get fed up with our spouses and they can do things that irritate every skin cell (if I find one more broken pen cap I may just lose it) and yes it’s great to have friends and family to vent to from time to time, but do this very sparingly. If you’re having a problem and or an issue, keep it between the two of you and seek out professional counseling to address it and work through it. When you start speaking ill or complaining about your partner to others, it can start making their view of your spouse negative. It also tends to have a snowball effect and can make matters worse when the two of you talk about the issue later. It’s perfectly fine to normalize the fact that not everything is peachy keen all the time (because it’s not and if you say it is…you are lying and your pants may catch on fire) but keep it to a minimum and work things out with each other.
5. Be present when you say “I love you”
We-myself absolutely included, can fall into the habit of saying “I love you” because it’s part of the routine. Every time you hang up the phone, when you kiss goodbye and part ways, or when you’re reaching for the last cookie. I don’t think there is necessarily something so bad about this because who doesn’t love to hear that they are loved multiple times throughout the day? What I would encourage you to do is have more intention and be present when you speak those powerful words to your partner because I am assuming you don’t throw those around lightly (and if you do…you may want to reconsider that). Take a moment to bring yourself to the moment, meet their eyes and feel the love that you are expressing to your partner. It’s way more powerful and you both feel a deeper connection.
**BONUS** Ask these 4 questions to one another each night and find yourself falling asleep more in love…stop rolling your eyes and try them.
The New Wifestyle: If we want healthy and happy marriages, both people must agree to make them a priority!
Feel free to leave a comment or answer any/all of the below questions:
1) What other ways do you make your marriage or relationship a priority?
2) One thing you absolutely love about you partner?
3) Plans for maximizing your time together this weekend?
~If you found this article helpful or you know someone who would benefit from it, please share it with them and your network-thank you!