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?