Stronger Marriage

Putting Some Spark Back in Your Marriage

by Glen O. Jenson, Ph.D.
Department of Family and Human Development
Utah State University

One of the best ways I know to overcome daily discouragements is to give yourself a gift that will pay dividends for the future. This gift would enhance a marital relationship, and is inexpensive. Here is a list of my top ten:

1. Make your spouse number ONE in your life. Your love and loyalty to your spouse is necessary for their emotional well-being. Usually spouses who feel they are number one, try to make their spouse feel the same way.

2. Give each other small gifts on ordinary days. We all expect gifts on special occasions of birthdays, Father's/Mother's Day, anniversaries and other such days. Giving gifts when they are least expected mean more.

3. Praise each other daily. Everyone needs to feel appreciated and praised. More behavior is changed for the good by praise than criticism.

4. Identify one of your mate's weak or bad points and then forget it. Too much time is spent rehearsing negative characteristics found in our spouses, hoping they will change. Most of our spouses know the characteristic disliked and if they desire to change, they will. Constant reminding does little, if anything to change behavior.

5. Choose one of the roles your spouse normally does, but does not enjoy, and perform that responsibility for them. When someone does something for you without being asked, it is greatly appreciated, especially if it was a less than desirable role. Cleaning the bathroom or cleaning out the garage might be examples.

6. Arrange some couple-time away from home and the children. A change of scenery will do wonders for the two of you. Problems become smaller when the two of you can get away from the routine of everyday activities. An overnight stay in a motel does wonders to refresh a marriage, physically and emotionally.

7. Tell others how much you love and appreciate your spouse. Invariably, if you tell close friends how much you love and appreciate your spouse, it will eventually get back to your spouse. We all like and appreciate being praised by each other to others.

8. Write your spouse a love letter and send it by registered mail. It is exciting to get mail that is important enough that it has to be signed for in order to get it from the mail carrier. In the letter express your feelings about how important your spouse is to you.

9. Write a letter to your in-laws and thank and praise them for raising such a special person as your spouse. In-laws can be problematic to a marriage relationship and a little preventive maintenance of that relationship will pay big dividends.

10. Buy a special book focusing on the marriage relationship. Read it and identify some things you can do to strengthen your part of the marriage relationship. There are several excellent books on the market that focus on strengthening the marriage relationship. Any bookstore or librarian could make some excellent suggestions.

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