Step-Up Your Game: 7 Ways to be an Even Better Spouse in 2017

BY: - 2 Jan '17 | Marriage

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As we begin a new year, we are all, hopefully, looking for ways to improve our lives and ourselves in the coming year. For me, being a better spouse in the new year is a goal I would definitely like to achieve. By improving myself, I am able to improve my marriage and my overall quality of life. I am sure I am not the only one trying to be happier in the new year….right?

And listen, being a better spouse or striving for more happiness in your union does not mean your marriage is damaged. Even the best relationships could stand some improvement. None of us are perfect and we can all fall short.

If you are planning to be an even better spouse in 2017, check out these seven tips. Nothing complicated or unrealistic—just simple ways to step things up and give your spouse the best of what you can offer in the new year.

Focus on listening

One of the things most people struggle with when it comes to communication is listening. Most of us just don’t listen very well. But listening is a skill you can develop with some effort. You just have to care enough to try.

Even Better: Let your spouse finish a thought before you start thinking about what your response should be. Remove distractions that may prevent you from truly listening. And these are just two small tips to help you get started. I guarantee that the more you listen well, the more you will understand about your spouse and the better your marriage will get.

Ask for help

I often hear women complain because they don’t get enough help from their spouses. I know that complaint all too well because I have been that woman. But then, I realized I was expecting my husband to read my mind and respond to my needs. Sure, it would be nice if he could just look at how much I have going on and then offer to help, but that doesn’t always happen. In those instances, I have to just open my mouth and ask him for help. And when I ask, he typically comes through.

Even Better:  If we spend less time getting annoyed and more time just stating what we want and need, we would all be better spouses.

Don’t make assumptions

We all know that saying about assumptions, right? I.e – Making an a— out of you and me? Well that saying still holds true. Instead of making assumptions about what your spouse wants or needs or means, just ask. It’s really that simple. Your assumptions may be right sometimes, but problems often arise when your assumptions are way off.

Even Better: Why even go there? Just ask the source for the information you need to know and you well be better equipped to meet your spouse’s needs.

Make self-care a priority

You can’t neglect yourself and then get mad when your spouse doesn’t meet all of your needs. You have to make self-care a priority. From focusing on how you feel to focusing on how you look, be sure that you take care of yourself in the best possible way.

Even Better: When you feel good and look good, it changes how you interact with the people around you. If you make an effort to always be at your best, you become a better spouse in the process.

Do things you love

Your union is of the highest importance, but it should not be the only thing that matters in your life. Spend time with your friends. Try a new activity. Pursue things you are passionate about. Develop a new hobby. The point is that you need to do things that you love.

Even Better: Pursuing activities we love creates joy, and the more joyful you are as a person, the better you are as a spouse.

Focus on intimacy

If your sex life is suffering, don’t ignore it. Talk about what’s going on. Agree on things you can both do to improve the overall level of intimacy in your marriage (not just in the bedroom). And also consider if you need help from a counselor or therapist. Sometimes a decline in intimacy is rooted in deeper issues that haven’t been addressed.

Even Better: Take intentional steps to improve the intimacy in your marriage. Until you both address those issue, things will not get better.

Be more supportive

Having a supportive partner makes you feel like you can take on the world, so why not be that partner to your spouse. And supportive doesn’t mean that you agree with everything your spouse does or says. If means that you recognize they are in a place where they truly need your encouragement and support. If you can’t reply on a spouse for support, who can you really turn to?

Even Better:  Every day, look for ways to support and encourage your spouse.  It’s the little things that you do that will your marriage even better year after year.

BMWK family, what do you plan to do to be an even better spouse in 2017?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 481 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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A Few Suggestions that Will Set Your Marriage Up for a Year of Success

BY: - 3 Jan '17 | Marriage

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It doesn’t matter if you’re newlyweds or if you’ve been married for 20 years or more, you must be intentional about preparing your marriage for success. It really won’t work without you and your spouse’s active participation.

And, success looks different depending on the couple you ask. But one thing that I know for sure is that the majority of us want joy and happiness in our relationships. So in many of our minds, that’s the real definition of success.

Take a look at your marriage to determine what needs to happen now in order for that goal of happiness to be reached. It’s important to take inventory of what’s worked, what hasn’t worked so well and what you need more of. This is a two person job that can’t be done without input from your spouse.

If you’re curious about how to specifically achieve that, here are a few suggestions:

Remind your spouse how important the marriage is to you.  In doing so, use well-thought out words that come from the heart and not just words that sound good. Think about the early start of your relationship and remember why you wanted to marry your spouse in the first place.

Consider your next wedding anniversary and plan how you would like it celebrated in advance. Don’t let it pass by without making it a big deal. It really doesn’t matter which year you’re honoring, because each anniversary means something significant. You can reread your vows, take a mini-vacation or even a staycation. Just do something to make the day special. The celebration demonstrates the excitement for your union.

Spend a year being thoughtful and considerate of one another. Do little things just because you can and you want to, and not because a holiday requires you to do so. Couples can easily make doing for one another a habit. Bringing home little trinkets your spouse has admired or having spontaneous date nights are a couple of great ideas that work.

Set a regular check-in schedule at least once a month to ensure you and your spouse are doing right by each other. You want to make sure you are still meeting the needs of the other. Sometimes checking in will even reveal when needs have changed, which is also necessary information a spouse should know.

Search for ways to be complementary and supportive of your spouse. Words are powerful. The more often we use kind, thoughtful and gentle ones, the better off our marriage will be. Make it a point to uplift your spouse. Remind them why you love them and how amazing they are. Look for things they do that you are truly grateful for and be sure to say thank you.

Be good to yourself so you can be good to your spouse. You can’t prepare for marriage success if you’re not at your best. Look for ways and resources to release your stress. Take time for yourself to unwind, think clearly and make decisions. Be gentle and loving to your body. Eat right, work out and have some fun. Your personal happiness will easily spill into your marriage.

Thinking about the success you desire as a couple is one thing…but preparing for it is something totally different. There are intentional actions required of you both, that if you do properly, will definitely ensure a successful year of marriage.

BMWK, in what other ways can you prepare for a successful year of marriage?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 616 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit www.thelifeandlovecoach.com and www.theboldersister.com.

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