Brown. Dead. Grass. That’s what we see when we look out our window. It’s dry, brittle and it’s not the least bit enjoyable to walk on barefooted or lie down on. You’ve heard the phrase, “The grass is always greener…” before and well, from the looks of our lawn, it’s true. Our grass is dead. So dead in fact that when we see a lawn that has been well watered and cared for over the dry summer months we become just a little bit jealous.
Marriage can be seen in very much the same way. It’s either dry, stale, stagnant, and dying, or it’s lush, thriving, full of color and teeming with life. It’s either maturing or it’s dying. Some may say that their marriage is “maintaining”, but this can only be translated as dying. Either the marriage relationship is being cared for, or it’s not. There really is no in-between.
But even though some marriages are growing, the question still remains, “How fast is it growing?” Well, here are 10 tips – let’s call them fertilizer’s – that can help make your marriage grow and thrive to it’s fullest.
1. Hold hands with your spouse. For most couples, there is a certain amount of physical touch that is excluded from life except as a prelude to sex. Simply taking time to hold hands as you did in the beginning of your relationship can help you feel connected to the person you married.
2. Go on a date. Along with #1, often times married couples will take for granted the planning of purposeful time together by giving up dating. The newness of “fresh young love” is seemingly replaced with the “been there, done that” mentality. But it’s important to make time to enjoy each other and spend special time together cultivating a better marriage.
3. Find a reason to laugh together. Seriously, don’t underestimate the ability laughter has to lift your mood and lighten your load. And when it comes to marriage, you making your spouse laugh is even better than a movie or joke they hear elsewhere. Find a way to make your spouse laugh, and laugh hard. You’ll both be grateful for the experience.
4. Write a love note or buy a card. This is especially good for those who find themselves married to a “words of affirmation” person. Take time to let your spouse know that you don’t take them for granted and that you see and appreciate all that they do. When a person feels appreciated it can make a big difference in their approach to life.
5. Read a book together. Obviously not everyone will jump on this one but it can certainly help improve your marriage to read and discuss something that is of interest to your spouse or to both of you. Even those who don’t like to read who choose to take this step will appreciate the final result.
6. Whisper sweet nothings. Ever wonder why they call them sweet nothings? We do, too. Sweet nothings are actually sweet everythings. Whispering encouraging or sexy words is a great way to get you physically closer to your spouse and to build them up.
7. Do a chore together. Two hands can certainly help make work go much quicker. Sharing chores also helps animosity from building up by preventing one spouse from feeling like they do everything.
8. Talk for 15 minutes tonight. This is 15 minutes of REAL conversation. It does not include talking about your schedule or your kids. Talk about your dreams, your fears, your desires for your marriage. Whatever it is make sure you are making time for quality communication. (Here are some great questions to get you going.)
9. Initiate sex. Maybe this is a difficult step for you, maybe not. Either way, by initiating you are telling your spouse that you desire them and want to be with them in the most intimate way.
10. Pray. Truthfully, every suggestion on this list may have struck out with you. You may feel that you are in a hopeless, helpless marriage and you already have one step out the door looking for greener grass. It is our belief that this suggestion is a perfect fit for even the toughest situations. Prayer has the power to effect change like nothing else can. Prayer has the power to change first and foremost the person praying as well as the person or circumstances being prayed for.
Just a reminder: We are beginning our first ever “Read With Us” campaign this Friday. We’re encouraging couples everywhere to begin reading Timothy Keller’s, “The Meaning of Marriage” this Friday (Sept. 14) and we’ll begin *discussing* the study material from Chapter 1 next week (Sept. 21). We would love you to join us!
Linking with: Revive Your Marriage