Our Must-Do Marriage Tips
We have a LOT of marriage tips over here at The Dating Divas. That is what we are passionate about; we love to see marriages strengthened, encouraged, and thriving. We have come up with some fantastic ones over the years, like Look Up, Light Up and You Didn’t Marry a Jerk. We’ve decided to put our heads together to combine our BEST marriage tips – the words we truly live by in our very own marriages – and pass them all on to YOU! And, since you never quite know what life is going to hand you, we’ve organized them into three categories: Keeping the Love Alive, Finances, and Intimacy.
Are you ready for our best marriage tips?! Here we go!
Tips for Keeping the Love Alive
1. You should love your spouse the least on your wedding day. My uncle said this to his daughter on her wedding day during the family dinner, and at first, I was a little taken aback. “What?! What did Uncle Burns just say?!” But, he continued, “Your love for your spouse should grow each and every single day. The wedding day is just the beginning; it’s just the base. Tomorrow, wake up loving them, appreciating them, and admiring them just a little bit more.” Now that I’ve been married a few years, I see just how right he really was. Marriage has shed a whole new light on love, commitment, and respect in my life – and it’s all grown one day at a time. My Uncle Burns wrote a book a few years later and it’s a great one if you find yourself stuck in your life and relationships. (It’s helped my husband and I through a lot of “stuck” moments!)
2. Be responsive. Are they excited about something? Then put a smile on, and get excited too! If they see a bird that catches their attention, and then point it out to you, show some interest. (Even if it doesn’t sound all that interesting to you.) There is fascinating research on this as to why this is a common denominator in happy marriages and relationships, found here. I have to agree; when I think about the happiest couples I know, they are almost always engaged in a conversation – and most of the time about the littlest things!
3. Be intentional. Great marriages don’t just happen on their own. They are built. You have to create your own happily ever after. Love is more than a feeling; it is an action. Love only diminishes as we stop giving it – so never stop! Make your spouse and your marriage a priority. Life gets busy, but you always have time for what you put first. We each have 24 hours in a day; how will you spend it? Put the time in! You have to put some planning and thought into an intentional marriage. Plan date nights and make them happen. Plan a surprise for them. Plan love! It doesn’t have to be big, or expensive, it just has to be from you. I don’t know about you, but when push comes to shove, I just really want to see that my spouse has planned something and put some effort in…it doesn’t even really matter what it is! Knowing that he took the time out of his busy schedule to think of me and pull something together speaks volumes. We have no shortage of ideas around here, so be sure to check out our Monthly Love Calendars, Date Night Ideas tab, or Quick and Easy Romance Ideas tab to get you started.
4. Focus on service. Lead Diva Tara offered up this advice: “You love who you serve. Each day, ask yourself (or them!) ‘How can I serve my spouse today?’ When you are consistently thinking of other people, you think less of yourself. This leads to a selfless and loving marriage.” So. True. If you haven’t read this touching true story from Richard Paul Evans (author of The Christmas Box and If Only) yet, please do, and resolve to serve your spouse just a little bit more.
5. Be absurdly open with each other. I love what Diva Caroline had to say: “Express what you truly want! It may seem a little unromantic to tell your spouse things like this (“Shouldn’t they just know and sweep me off my feet?!”), but I promise it will help you out in the future. Just as romantic moments in movies or books need careful scripting and rehearsal, marriage can benefit from it too!” So, rather than beating around the bush and praying that your spouse will take the hint, just be direct. Seriously, hints don’t work.
If you want more advice – check out our free Webinar, 10 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage.
Dealing with Finances in Marriage
1. Set aside some “fun money” for each of you each week. Even if it’s only $1 (…or as high as $1000!) you each need a bit of freedom when it comes to spending. My husband and I have practiced this our entire marriage and we have yet to argue about money! If we have the “fun money” in our accounts, we can buy whatever it is we want, no questions asked. If you’re short on your cash in your “fun money” account, you have to play the waiting game. This “levels the playing field” in a sense by keeping things equal, and allows you to avoid all of those potential arguments of “wants” vs. “needs.” If you need some extra help with budgeting, Jordan Paige has a truly fantastic Budget Bootcamp, and it will change your life! Enter code DIVAS at checkout for 10% off!
2. Understand their money personality. Did you know that in addition to your overall personality, you have a money personality as well? Yes, it’s true! Your spouse has one, too! It was probably formed long before you even had a relationship, and has very little (if anything) to do with you. They might be a saver, or they might be a spender, and that’s okay. Knowing, accepting, and understanding their “money personality” is vital to happiness in marriage. According to experts, money personalities don’t often change, but they can be acknowledged, so embrace your spouse for all that they are and take the challenge head on. Be sure to check out The Couple’s Guide to Love and Money to get you both on the same page, and working together toward your common goals.
3. Have some flexibility. Rules with finances are good, but avoid taking it overboard and inviting a “bad cop” mentality to your marriage. It will only amplify the problem! Instead, set goals and work toward them together. Checking in often and communicating about money openly will ease the tension.
4. Develop a system. Being in charge of the finances for your family is a big job, and one that could be handled by both of you by splitting up management duties. Some Divas prefer to split up the duties, while others like to manage everything on their own with check-ins from their spouse. If you don’t already have a system that works, figure one out, and keep it consistent. In our marriage, we have a spreadsheet where we keep all of our bills we owe, as well as their amounts month-by-month. After we’ve paid each bill, we put an “X” in the corresponding cell of the spreadsheet. That way, we ensure nothing gets missed. Whether you pay over the phone, online, in person – or even snail mail – develop a system that works for your marriage and family.
5. Give some away. It doesn’t have to be much, but money experts worldwide just about always recommend giving some money away. The reason why is simple: because it always comes back to you in one way or another. Suze Orman said, “small donations can make a big difference. A $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity buys a box of nails that will help to build a home for a needy family. According to UNICEF, $17 can immunize a child against the top six childhood diseases. The American Red Cross reports that $115 will buy a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four.” Choose a worthwhile cause in your marriage, and donate regularly. Doing so will bring you closer together than you might think!
For more great money tips in your marriage, be sure to check out When a Saver Marries a Spender.
The Importance of Intimacy
1. Know when it’s time to spice it up. There seems to be a popular opinion that floats around saying that married couples are “miserable with their sex lives.” This doesn’t have to be true! You always get out what you put in, and that especially rings true in marriage. If your intimate life together has been feeling a bit ho-hum, we have tons of ideas and ways for you to spice it up. We’ve heard over and over from our readers that bedroom games are surprisingly effective and super fun – and we have to agree! You might feel a bit silly at first, but if you both put on a smile and just focus on having fun together, these simple games really will do wonders for your relationship. We have lots of great printable bedroom games under our Intimacy Ideas tab (some of my favorites are Love is Sweet and Bedroom Bowling). Personally, I also can’t recommend The Game of Love enough. We bought it instead of going out for an anniversary dinner last year, and we actually really love it. It is so fun – it is completely different each and every time you play it, and it can be customized to whatever you want it to be. Plus – it’s just so cute! We play it over and over again, and it never gets old! Here are some of our other favorite items to keep things exciting in the bedroom:
- Kama Sutra Board Game from Relationship Enrichment Systems
- JimmyJane Candles and Massage Products
- Kissable Body Paint
- The Ultimate Intimacy Pack
- Sexy Truth or Dare: Pick-A-Stick (**Little disclaimer for you: some of these are really spicy. So, if you decide to buy it, maybe go through them first and take out the ones you don’t agree with.)
- “And They Were Not Ashamed“, by Laura Brotherson. Great read – it will really open your eyes to the importance of quality intimacy in your relationship!
2. Go to bed together. With young kids, crazy schedules, and a never-ending list of to-do’s, we know all too well how truly tempting it is to stay up late night after night to get things done. It can be hard to drop everything you’re doing and hit the hay alongside your spouse, but doing so is fantastic way to increase quality intimacy in your relationship. I’m not just talking about sex, either; I’m talking about really, really connecting at the end of a crazy day. Ending the day with some quality physical contact – and maybe a bit of conversation – can make a huge difference in a marriage.
3. Decide how often you need to be intimate, and stick to that number. It may sound a bit restrictive and “overly scheduled,” but this really is a conversation you need to have. If one person in the marriage isn’t satisfied, you need to work together to find a common number that keeps you both happy. Work together and be creative. There isn’t a “magic number” that applies to everyone, just one that applies to you.
You only get out of marriage what you put in. Resolve today to love your spouse a little bit more – even more than you did on your wedding day!
If you loved this article, be sure to check out some other fantastic marriage tips, like 10 Ways to Keep the Romance Alive After Kids, 16 Ways to Protect Your Marriage, and 14 Ways to Deal With a One-Sided Marriage.