If you’ve been married for any length of time you already know first hand how the passion, communication and energy to work at your marriage comes and goes. Before long it’s your job, finances or kids that become the hot topics of conversation over dinner.

Marriage requires work. Hard work, but beyond that there are things every marriage needs and they don’t require a single penny. And the best part? You already have a lot of these things at your disposal.

Honesty. A relationship built on lies is destined to fail or at best it won’t be as good as it could be. Being honest with those we love is not always easy, but in the end it makes your relationship stronger and is always the right choice. Lying creates stress, anger and resentment which are all detrimental to your relationship.

Fun and spontaneity. For the most part, most of our jobs are demanding, stressful and serious. A lot of time this spills over into our home life and we quickly lose the fun and spark.

Have some fun and be spontaneous, start a dance party in the living room while you’re preparing dinner, flip through some old photos and reminisce, take a trip down memory lane and tell each other what made you fall in love with them in the first place.

Room to grow and change. Every so often I hear someone say “he/she just isn’t the same person I fell in love with all those years ago.” Really? Over time people change and that’s usually a good thing.

We tend to get married young when we’re not very mature and don’t yet fully understand who we are. Be open to your spouse changing and coming into their own. Encourage and support them on new hobbies, interests and positive lifestyle choices even if they aren’t what you choose to do.

Affection. It’s easy when we get comfortable in a relationship to forget to focus on the physical aspect. We get caught up in our stuff that we can sometimes take our other half for granted. Affection, in fact, is a major of the 10 emotional needs in every realtionship.

Hug, kiss, hold hands, give love taps, whatever you both feel comfortable with. Be sincere, playful and show affection often. It’s something so small but can be sweet, endearing and really strengthen your relationship.

Appreciate. This is an expression of gratitude. When you show appreciation to a loved one, you are saying that they are a special and significant part of your life. A display of appreciation doesn’t have to come in the form of expensive gifts or extravagant holidays a simple and sincere thank you would suffice.

Love. I don’t mean that warm fuzzy feeling that you had when you first met. I mean love the verb, the action requiring your involvement, your active participation.

You cannot sit back and expect the world will serve it to you. You cannot expect that your relationship will continue to provide love while you’re not putting in any effort. Love has to be earned and must be continually fought for.

Time. This is the most valuable resource we have. The easiest way to show someone they matter is to devote time to them – one on one. Take time to chat and catch up each day or at least several times throughout the week. Discuss what’s been going on in your life, in your job, with the kids, talk about what’s made you happy (and what hasn’t), and tell your significant other what you’re most grateful for. A little bit of quality time spent with each other will go a long way.

Spend some time right now and think about how you’re going to make your marriage a priority today. You don’t have to do anything big or spectacular, most times it’s the little things that go a long, long way.

What other things have you discovered your marriage needs that don’t cost a thing?

(photo source)

7 Things Your Marriage Needs That Money Can’t Buy.001


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. A good post. I like the comment about affection – we should greet and part with a kiss or hug. That makes the relationship special. I like it when I get to hold my partner’s hand when we are out together. Affection is important.

    I think you are missing something from this list alas. That is regular sex. The consistent complaint I hear from my friends (men) and myself is the lack of regular sex with our partners. IMHO if a man wants a happy wife give her regular affection. If a wife wants a happy husband give him regular sex. Unfortunately the former appears difficult for many men to do and the later difficult for many women. Sex can be free or there may be a small cost for birth control but certainly very affordable.

    1. Andrew, marriage isn’t so much about what either of you “wants”. It’s about being a gift to each other. The more each of you is a gift to each other, the more your wife will want to have sex with you, and the more you will want to show her affection.

      Also, whether sex is regular or not, it should be quality. I’ve learned this now, as I have a two year old, and my opportunities for sex with my husband have been drastically limited. Even though it seems we have less sex, we seem to enjoy it much more.

    2. As for birth control, I think it can ruin sex. But, responsible parenting is important, and that is where Natural Family Planning, NFP, comes in. Rather than destroying a woman’s cycle and risking her health, or putting a physical barrier between the two of you, you have a system that works with and respects the design of the woman’s body–incidentally, NFP is just as effective as the birth control pill. Check out Dustin’s other posts on it.

    3. Interesting, I’m reading a paper now on NFP and Contraception, and a section seems to address what we were talking about, Andrew:

      “…practicing NFP requires mutual self-sacrifice. Both husband and wife are required to abstain from sexual intercourse approximately one week each month. This can be subjectively experienced as difficult…However, if the couple is used to having intercourse on a regular basis, taking a time out can be fruitful by encouraging them to become more romantic in their affections: to express their love in alternate, non-genital ways. This can result in better quality foreplay when subsequently they do return to intercourse.”

      1. Here’s the rest:
        Most notably, as discussed earlier, practice at sexual restraint helps spouses cultivate the virtue of chastity, so their future sexual encounters are more likely to be intentional and deeply personal expressions of love rather than simple opportunities for sexual release with a willing partner.

        1. The software thinks I’m spamming, so I had to separate the quote.

          Here’s the source:

          (Quote from page 16)
          Barrett, M. 2010. Co-Creating With the Creator: A Virtue-Based Approach. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, publication forthcoming.

  2. I would have to agree with Batrice on her comments about sex and marriage. the title of the article is 7 things your marriage NEEDS… Sex is not something the marriage NEEDS in order to have a close, intimate relationship with your spouse. Don’t get me wrong here. I have been married for over 20 years, and we have enjoyed the sexual aspect of our relationship very much, but it is a result of living the 7 tenets that Sherri outlines that makes that aspect of our relationship great. @Andrew, specifically, if you are hearing from men that you hang out with and believe the comments that you wrote, then you all are missing the point of a marital relationship, and sounds like you have a somewhat selfish attitude about what it means to be married. I would challenge you to refrain from using any kind of birth control, try practicing NFP, and learn how to communicate with your spouse on deeper levels. See where your marriage takes off from there. – Good luck, I will pray for you.
    Speaking of prayer. The one thing that I think Sherri is truly missing in her post, is for couples to take time to pray together as a couple. I am not an overly spiritual kind of person, but this has been a recent discovery that has brought us even closer than the physical and emotional intimacy that marriage brings. Thanks Sherri & Dustin for the post.

  3. Thanks for the advice on NFP. We do not need that now as one of us is ‘fixed’. My 27 year old Daughter is the result of the failure of NFP. I think God had a different plan for starting a family than we did. She is wonderful.

    1. NFP is really much more effective now than it has been in the past. A true method failure is very rare, as the methods are up to about 99.6 % effective.

      There are some interesting stories from couples who have had sterilizations here:

  4. To bring the discussion back to the topic, I’d like to make an observation that many people feel (and give) affection through sex, which I took to be Andrew’s point. People feel close, loved, and cherished in a marriage with frequent, healthy sexual intimacy. Its not that sex “should” be on the list, rather that it already is, under the Affection heading, and Andrew was pointing out that sex is a big part in many marriages of building, strengthening, and nurturing those feelings of affection we all require.

  5. so well said …. easy to get caught up in the busy day to day things – we should all read this daily to remind ourselves of what is important.

  6. A sense of humor is up there for me…I see this as different than having fun, because you can have a sense of humor in day-to-day stuff – even trials. Also, romance is a huge deal to me. No matter how long the relationship has lasted, I need romance.

  7. yours is a good site,nice posting,you got me arrested on your site for hours,your posting on sex and romance are awesome.the two books am reading ,secrets of an irresistible wife and hot and sizzling marriageby bisi adewale, which i bought on www.amazon.com together with your site are bringing back hot romance into my dull marriage, thaaaaanks toooooo much.i recommend you read those two books,author blog wwwbisiadewale.com

  8. That is true julie, i have read one of the books you mentioned,i read SECRETS OF AN IRRESISTIBLE WIFE,it turned my sex life around and turned my husband to a lover boy as it totally changed my orientation and my bedroom performance as a wife,my husband was surprise and very happy,the book is hot, practical and sexy,i also got it on amazon.com,but i have not visited the author’s blog,i think every wife should get the book.

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