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.
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?
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.