As we sat on the couch looking at our phones we were in our own little worlds and not together at all. I was looking at my blog stats and my husband was playing chess on his computer.
We were together but apart.
In this world it can be very hard to maintain a good relationship and marriage. We have so many distractions.
On top of that, there are many other stresses like demanding work schedules, money problems, and differences of opinion. We all deal with different mental health issues and we have different backgrounds too.
So if you are wondering how to strengthen your relationship you are not alone. It is something we should all give special attention to.
Why Do You Need to Know How to Strengthen Your Relationship?
I think you can easily see the problems that face many relationships today. It’s easy to see why you need to fight against these problems to strengthen your relationship. But let’s take a minute to think about the value of your relationship with your spouse.
Having a spouse is like having a best friend, a teammate, a protector, and a confident all in one. Your spouse is special to you because, at least in the beginning, you had a lot in common and found each other very exciting and appealing. You enjoyed their conversation and just being with them.
Have you forgotten these things? It can happen over time. Stop and think about the things you used to love about your spouse.
When I married my husband I deeply appreciated his happy generous personality and his spirituality. I also appreciated that he believed in me in areas where I didn’t feel confident and made me feel like I could do anything.
What about your spouse? Why is your relationship precious to you? Think about it and then you will be motivated to learn how to strengthen your relationship and follow through!
What I Know About Relationship Strengthening
Before I share all these tips on how to strengthen your relationship with your spouse I want to be clear on one thing. I am not a therapist or an expert.
I’m just applying timeless council from the Bible, happily married people I know, and other sources that has been proven to work over and over again. It has helped my husband and I enjoy the first 12 years of our marriage and I hope it helps you too.
Strengthen Your Relationship with Commitment
If you are wondering how to strengthen your relationship one of the first steps is something you have probably already taken. You must be commited to the relationship even though you know there will be bad times as well as good.
That commitment is a strong bond that will build trust and feelings of safety into your relationship. You will be focused on solutions rather than escape when problems come.
But what are some ways to build this commitment on a daily basis? If you want to know how to strengthen your relationship with commitment follow these tips.
1: Be married at heart.
When you are married you have promised your life to a person. You have promised to be loyal and be there for them and you expect the same in return.
It would be very hurtful to you if they did something without considering you or started looking at someone else with romantic feelings. Likewise it would be very hurtful to them if you did those things.
If you are married at heart you will think about your partner and their feelings whenever you make decisions. You will also avoid flirting or thinking about others because you know you wouldn’t want your spouse to do that either.
In short, you will no longer think, behave, or make decisions like a single person. Being married at heart will strengthen your relationship and build trust.
2: Think as a TEAM
We live in a culture that is very independent in it’s thinking and we all want some autonomy and freedom. That is natural.
But as a married person you need to stop thinking about “I” and start thinking about “WE”. Instead of thinking about your goals talk about your mate and ask “What are our goals?” “Where do we want to be in 5 years?”
Sure, it can feel like a 3 legged race at times. Your goals might not always perfectly align. But if you start thinking like a team you will be able to figure out ways to reach your individual goals in ways that are supportive to one another.
Instead of growing apart to reach your goals you will grow together as you build eachother up. That will strengthen your relationship and make you the true definition of a “power couple”.
Thinking as a team will also help you through arguments. Remember, your not in a competition with your spouse. You are on the same side.
When you and your spouse are on the same team it helps the whole family have an atmosphere of family teamwork and helping one another.
3: Act Unselfishly
Part of thinking as a team is being a good teammate. You don’t want to carry the entire load and do all the work and neither does your spouse. That means you should always be looking for ways to help each other.
If you want to know how to strengthen your relationship with unselfish acts you can’t look in a textbook. You are going to have to stop and think about what your spouse needs and how you can support them. They should do the same.
This may mean that you take out the trash instead of waiting for your spouse to come home and do it, even if he normally does it. It may mean picking up dinner when you know it’s been a long day or it might mean turning down an invitation when your spouse needs rest.
On the other hand, when you strengthen your relationship by acting unselfishly it might mean doing something you don’t love to do because you spouse enjoys it. It might even involve big decisions like turning down a career opportunity when it wouldn’t serve your family best.
When you are a team you are always thinking of one another first and foremost! You are ready to work hard, compromise, and communicate to support each other no matter what.
That is unselfish attitude is very relationship strengthening.
Strengthen Your Relationship By Spending Time Together
We all know marriage involves spending time together. I’m an introvert and when my extrovert husband wants to go do stuff all the time I often joke that I trapped by best friend in my house for a reason.
But spending time together involves more than just hanging out at home or going on date nights. What are some ways to make your time with your spouse something that will strengthen your relationship? And how can you make it happen?
4: Make Time to Be Together
Spending time together shouldn’t be something that happens by accident once in a while. If you want to know how to strengthen your relationship with your spouse, the answer is, it requires effort. You need to make a specific effort to MAKE time for one another.
One way to do that is to build into your routine things you and your spouse do together instead of apart.
For example, my husband and I always do a little bit of reading together in the morning and we always workout together in the evening. We always have a show we both enjoy that we can watch in the evening and most of our weekend activities are done together.
It is easy to let guys be guys and enjoy a girls night but that doesn’t have to happen all the time. Make time to do something together every single day.
5: Play Together
Sometimes we get so busy with the daily minutia of life it can feel like a long time since we had fun. But having fun together is a vital key if you want to strengthen your relationship.
Having fun as a couple doesn’t just mean big stuff like taking “dream vacations”. It means little things.
You could cook together, play a board game, explore a new place together.
My husband thinks the grocery store is one of the funnest places in the world and watching him find all the surprise goodies I never notice makes me enjoy what is normally mundane to me.
Whenever things feel too serious and strained it might be time to goof off. Have fun together often! Something as simple as that can be very relationship strengthening!
6: Work Together
Life isn’t all fun and games though. You and your spouse will strengthen your relationship by working together too.
Married life presents countless opportunities to work together. You may need to clean the house or do a home improvement project. Make sure you are working on it together.
Raising children takes lots of work. Remember you are a team in that big project.
You may find additional ways to work together including doing actual secular work together, helping friends with projects, or even doing some sort of volunteer work together.
When you work with your spouse it will strengthen your relationship because you will see them from a new angle. You will see their strengths and you will be able to balance out each others’ weaknesses.
Strengthen Your Relationship With Good Communication
You have probably heard it said that communication is the most important of all relationship strengthening activities. And it’s true.
It makes sense. A relationship should be a back and forth between two people.
When you have good communication in your marriage it will help your know how to strengthen your relationship as things change in your life. You will be able to understand each other and stay on the same page. And most of all you will remain best friends for life.
So what are some keys to good communication that will strengthen your relationship? Let’s talk about that now.
7: Be a Good Listener
We have two ears and one mouth. What does that tell you?
We should be listening a lot more than we speak.
But it can be very hard to be a good listener. We are always distracted with work, chores, and cell phones and we tend to want to respond faster than we should.
But if you make a concerted effort to be a good listener you will be a better partner.
Remember to take time to listen. Put everything else aside and focus on your spouse when they are telling you something. Resist the urge to interrupt with your own viewpoint or solutions. Let your spouse express their feelings. We all need to vent sometimes.
Another key to being in a good relationship is being open minded.
Be willing to let your spouse have a different opinion than you. Don’t shut them down as soon as there is a disagreement.
Just take time to listen to the whole thing and observe not only what they are saying but what they really mean. Ask questions to clarify.
8: Communicate Calmly & With Empathy
I think this happens in all marriage. We avoid talking about some things because we don’t want to upset our spouse. But that just leads to big problems that could have been handled when they were much smaller.
Instead, make it a habit to communicate calmly with each other.
When someone makes a mistake or feels bad about something show empathy. Be a safe place to fall.
Even if a big problem arises and big emotions come with it keeping calm can help you work through the problem together. You are a team and your goal is not to compete against each other or win an argument. Your goal is to overcome the obstacle together!
When it is difficult to stay calm maybe you need to take some time to breath. Think about how the other person is feeling and come back together to talk about it more.
9: It’s All About Timing
Another big part of know how to strengthen your relationship with communication is timing. Knowing when to say something can be just as important as how you say it.
True or false. It’s a great time to tell your husband about an unexpected expense the second he gets home from work.
I hope you said false.
If you do tell your husband something stressful when he is already in a exhausted and stressed out frame of mind how do you think he will respond?
What if the tables were turned and he landed you with bad news when you were already on your last nerve?
We have all done it the wrong way and brought up stressful things at the wrong time. It never works out as well as if we waited for the mood to settle a bit first.
This doesn’t mean that you never bring up hard things. It just means that you choose your time better. Sometimes it’s a matter of 5 minutes that can make the difference in the mood. When you wait just a little bit you can share bad news in a better way.
10: Communicate With Humility
Sometimes we have strong opinions and our spouse does too. And surprisingly often spouses can be of two minds on the same subject or decision.
When each person is dead set on their own view it can lead to a lot of conflict. And either party can be incredibly stubborn.
But does that get you where you are going? Is that teamwork? Does it make anyone happy to compete?
The answer is no.
It’s fun to be right but if you want to know how to stregthen your relationship and that is the most important thing to you then you are not going to get to be right or get to have it your way all the time.
Instead of trying to win an argument and prove a point try to bring humility to the way you communicate with your spouse. Be open to their ideas and really listen to them.
There is a chance that they have a good idea or that your differing opinions are not that different when you really listen to each other.
A good marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is made up of cooperation, give and take, and compromise. It takes a lot of humility to make those things happen. And that humility starts in the way you speak with each other.
It Takes Heart to Strengthen Your Relationship
As you can see it takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage work and you will need to know how to strengthen your relationship over and over again with good communication, lots of time spent together, and a strong commitment.
But more than that it takes a lot of heart to strengthen your relationship and make it last. It involves how you truly view marriage and the person you are married to.
11: Respect Will Strengthen Your Relationship
In your heart, do you respect your spouse? Do you show that respect by the way that you to talk to and about them? What about how you behave towards them?
If you truly respect your spouse you will not constantly belittle them in front of others. Your comments towards them will be kind and build them up.
Respect is needed for all the things we have already talked about. You will need to have a deep respect for your spouse if you are going to be on their team. Respect is the key to truly wanting to listen to their ideas and make compromises.
Studies show that men especially need to feel that their wives respect them. This helps them make good decisions and feel appreciated.
That’s not to say woman don’t need respect too. I am a woman and I especially appreciate when my husband affords me the respect to listen to my ideas and use them often.
If you are having trouble respecting your spouse that could be tearing them down and causing them not to live up to their full potential as your teammate.
Instead take some time to really think about their good qualities and what you appreciate about them. Commend them often for those things and see them blossom!
12: Love Is The Glue
Last but not least, the thing that will strengthen your relationship the most, is the thing that brought you together in the first place. Love.
It’s all about love. Like respect, love is the key to everything above including good communication and the commitment to stick together through thick and thin.
Deep love isn’t always sizzling and electric. Those feelings that you had when you are dating were exciting and they can be rekindled but that is not the love that is enduring.
Instead a deep love for your spouse will include your appreciation for all the times they’ve been there for you and all the beautiful qualities they have.
When you truly love one another it will be easy spend time together and listen to each other. When you feel like your drifting apart that love will motivate you to do all the hard work to draw close together again.
Love is like a fire. It can grow dim but it’s easy to rekindle with kind words, tender actions, and affectionate attention.
13: Remember the Big Picture
If you want to know how to strengthen your relationship you are starting in a good place. Having read all these tips you have proven that you are serious about improving your relationship.
The final key to having a strong relationship that stands the test of time is remembering the big picture. You love your mate and your love will cover over all sorts of problems. It will help you get through the hard times and make the good times so sweet.
When times are hard remember that all relationships have their ups and downs.
If you keep the big picture in mind and always remember why you love your mate you will build a relationship that stands the test of time.
Fight to Strengthen Your Relationship! It’s Worth It
Back to the example I gave at the beginning. When my husband and I were looking at our phones and basically ignoring each other.
Have you been there? I bet you have!
Was that a sign of a marriage falling apart? Of course not! It was just part of our modern lives. But were we doing relationship strengthening activities? No. We were doing things purely for ourselves. It was not a moment that strengthened our relationship.
Keep your eye out for moments like these and try to keep them from taking over your life! These small moments can add up and make you feel like the love is gone and your drifting apart. But they don’t have to.
Balance them out with the relationship strengthening activities and attitudes above and your will strengthen your relationship with your spouse. That relationship is one of the most valuable things in your life. You do not want to lose it. It’s worth the work and it’s worth the little moments and the little actions that will draw you closer together.
May you enjoy always enjoy a happy simple life together!