Everyone wants to know how to stay in love with their spouse, right? How to avoid divorce? One of the greatest ways to prevent falling out of love is to prioritize your spouse above everything else in your life.
Everything else? Like even my kids? Yes, even your kids. Your spouse and your relationship with them should come first.
What about my career and their career? Yes, even though you have to go to work to make money, your relationship with your spouse should be the priority.
Little Tips to Prioritize your Spouse
With so much to do and so little time, it can be hard to prioritize your relationship with your spouse. Here are some thoughts about how to do that:
- Make small rituals or daily habits of connection
- Make time regularly for sex
- Date Nights
- Think about them and their well-being on a regular basis
- Serve them
- Have regular problem solving nights so that issues are taken care of on a regular basis and don’t fester and build up.
Make small rituals or daily habits of connection
What do you do every day to connect with your spouse? You could clean up the kitchen together after the kids go to bed. You could watch a movie or tv show and talk about it. You can eat ice cream together. You could give each other back massages while you tell each other about your day. Just think about doing something to connect with each other on a daily basis. If you have a solid friendship with your spouse, it will be much easier to solve problems that come up. And friendships take TIME. Every single day.
Make time regularly for sex
It can be hard to have sex regularly when things get busy and one or both partners are super tired. I have found that I literally have to write down “sex” in my planner otherwise it won’t happen! I have to plan for it; and set that time and energy aside for sex.
Sex is an important way that you connect with each other, especially for men. For most men, having sex says “I love you and think you are wonderful.” In fact, having sex communicates that message LOUDER than saying those words directly to your spouse. If you aren’t satisfied in your sexual relationship, don’t give up! Start reading books and learning more about how to have great sex. There is a ton you can learn!
Going on a date with your partner can be a great way to prioritize your spouse. But there are a few rules for having great date nights.
- Don’t bring up any of your problems while on the date. Save those for problem solving nights. Trying to work through problems on a date isn’t fun.
- Don’t talk about the kids during date nights (unless you really want to). Talk about each other and focus on your relationship with your spouse instead of your relationships with your kids.
- Don’t criticize your spouse while on a date. It can be easy to bring up the things you don’t like about them. But don’t do it! Criticism kills relationships. And it ruins dates.
Think about them and their well-being on a regular basis
How much do you think about your spouse? How much do you ponder about how they are doing and try to think about how you can lighten their load?
If you are like me, then you probably thought A LOT about your partner when you were dating. But you don’t think about them as much now that you have been married several years. But thinking about your partner and their well-being is exactly what makes for a good relationship!! So get back into the habit of thinking about them and what you can do to help them.
Serve your Spouse
When you have kids, it is easy to get in a pattern where you serve your kids. The kids are the priority because they are small and loud and need lots of help. This is especially true if you have a special needs child. Without proper boundaries, that special needs child could easily take up ALL of your time and ALL of your effort and ALL of your energy. Leaving nothing left for serving your spouse.
Remember to prioritize your spouse over your children – no matter how demanding the children are. If you work together as a team with your spouse, problems with the children will be much easier to solve. The only way to really be united and work as a team though is to have a very close, good relationship with your spouse. You can’t expect them to work with you if you are not their friend. You can’t expect them to work with you if you are not trying to serve them and do nice things for them. So prioritize your spouse, and everything else will flow pretty nicely after that.
Have regular Problem Solving Night
Every relationship has issues. Two different people are bound to have lots of disagreements. You need time to work on these issues. And it usually isn’t a good time to work on your issues when they come up during the day and you are upset about it. Or when you are on dates!
So what do you do? Therapists from the University of Denver (creators of the PREP program) recommend that you have a weekly or monthly “problem solving night” where you just work on your problems and issues for a half hour. If you regularly set aside time to work on your problems, then they won’t get too big and overwhelming.
If you are new to problem solving nights, try to talk about one of your smaller problems first. Decide on one issue to talk about and stick to that one issue. It is easy during discussion to start bringing up EVERYTHING that annoys you or start talking about all your problems, but that just leads to problem solving overwhelm and burnout. So focus on one issue. Listen to each other first. Listen well enough that you can paraphrase what they say. Really try to understand them. Then brainstorm all the possible solutions! Pick one solution to try for a week. Then come back after a week and see how it went.
Prioritizing your spouse above everything else is the key to a good relationship. It is the key to never falling out of love with them. And it is one of the keys to avoiding divorce.