3 Simple Ways to Nurture Your Marriage Every Day

It was one of those conversations with kids that comes out of the blue. We were driving along when my daughter said, "You know, you and Dad have a really strong marriage." Okay. I wait. "I mean, I know that not everybody does. But the two of you don't ever say mean things about each other to other people."

"You're right," I told her. "We do have a strong marriage. We work really hard to have a good marriage because one day you all will be gone, and it will be just us again." I winked at her, and she rolled her eyes.

We went on to talk about some things that make a good marriage and what she had noticed in our marriage that made her think it was good or in other marriages to assume that they weren't. It was a good conversation.

Later that night I had the opportunity to tell Jason (my husband) about our conversation. Both of us were very glad that she had noticed that we have a strong marriage. Because it is something we try to be very deliberate about.

Now, lest you think everything is sunshine and roses in the Courtney household all the time, let me assure you that we are real people. We argue. We make sarcastic comments. We hurt each other's feelings from time to time. Our marriage isn't perfect because we are imperfect people.

Early in our marriage, we were encouraged to be deliberate about nurturing our relationship. And so we try to make very deliberate choices to strengthen our relationship day after day. This isn't easy. As parents we can get so caught up in what is going on with the kids that we don't even think about our relationship. Often conversations consist of deciding who is going to take which child to what activity and what time are you coming home because I need you to stop by the store.

I think that homeschooling moms can especially get caught up in this because we're with the kids all day every day, so it's easy to get caught up with what the kids need- a new history curriculum, help with reading, reteaching of that math lesson, encouragement to organize those science lab sheets- and forget about nurturing our relationships with our husbands.

What I told my daughter is true, however. One day (Lord willing!) we may be alone again as just a couple. When the time comes, I know there will be some sadness at changes and children leaving home. But I also want to have such a great marriage that we enjoy our time together. I don't want to be distant because we weren't deliberate about maintaining a good relationship.

But, we think, how can we make time to nurture a marriage when we are just so doggone tired. We've often spent all day caring for kids, teaching kids, caring for a home, teaching kids, nursing babies, teaching kids, cooking dinner, teaching kids...And when our husbands walk in the door all we can think is "Hallelujah! Another adult is here. I can go to the bathroom in peace...maybe." Trying to think of things that might nurture our marriages is just too overwhelming.

If you want to nurture a strong marriage, but you can't imagine adding anything else to your day, here are three simple things that don't take much time but that can go long way toward building a strong marriage.

Nurture your marriage
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Say "I love you" ...in his love language.

If you've never read  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, it's an awesome book; and it can really help you to understand your spouse and strengthen your marriage. The basic idea is that we all have a different love language- a different thing that shows love for us. For some people it's words; for some it's gifts; for some it's touch; for some it's time spent together; and for some it's an act of service, doing something that helps them. If you really want to communicate love to your spouse, do it in his love language.

This can be really simple. Jason loves to drink tea. He appreciates having tea made in the fridge when he comes home. He's never criticized me if we've run out and I haven't made more. But he really likes having tea made. I can show love in his love language when I go out of my way to make sure there is tea in the fridge when he comes home. It's not a big deal. It doesn't take me much time. Sometimes it means I put off another chore or wait to do something else I want to do. But it's a pretty easy thing.

Find out what your spouse's love language is. Watch to see what he really appreciates. Then speak his love language by doing that, quietly, simply, without expecting notice or applause. Just do that little thing that speaks love to him.

Use words that build up...in person and behind his back.

Jason and I both can be sarcastic when we want to be. We can make some cutting acerbic remarks even though we're just joking around. Early in our marriage, one of our parents commented on how mean we could sound to each other. The comment really made us stop and think. And we decided that we don't want to have that kind of talk with each other- even in jest.

Our words can hurt. And they can't be taken back. I have found that when I am making a deliberate effort to say things that build Jason up, I am much less likely to spout off something belittling when I'm angry. If I deliberately am looking for encouraging things to say, then I'm not stewing over all of the things I think he's doing wrong.

It's important to say positive things that build up behind his back as well. If I've spent a whole conversation telling a friend how bad Jason is and naming all the things I feel he's doing wrong, then I'm probably feeling pretty negative about him. And I'm much more likely to say those negative things to him in anger. But if I've been looking for positive things to say about him, I'll be much less likely to react by belittling him.

Make time together...even if it's just a few minutes.

If you're a parent, time is probably a luxury. Having the opportunity to sit with your spouse and have long, intimate conversations is something that probably doesn't happen often. But making some time together every day can nurture your marriage.

When the kids were little, we accomplished this by putting them in bed and making sure we had some time then to talk and just be together. As the kids have gotten older, this has gotten a little more difficult because they don't go to bed early. Often I'm going to sleep before them. But we know finding at least a little time together- alone- is important. Our solution has been to designate times they can come into our room.

The point is not that you have hours to sit and talk (although wouldn't that be great!). The point is that you both care enough about your relationship to want to make time to be together. And when you're deliberate about that, you communicate to your spouse that you love and honor him. That nurtures your marriage.


Strong marriages are important. When our marriages are strong, we feel secure in our relationship, and our children feel secure. Being deliberate and taking time for some of these simple, quick ideas, we can nurture a strong marriage.

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