While mulling over ways to change your life for the better this year, why not consider a resolution to improve your marriage? Virtually nothing else that you resolve to do will be more advantageous to your life and happiness in the long run. Here are ten suggestions for relatively easy resolutions you can make to towards this important goal.
1. Start a couple’s devotion – Spouses who practice and experience their faith at home together through shared devotions enjoy higher levels of success in their marriages. This doesn’t have to be formal, long, or drawn out. Start simple with brief daily or weekly devotionals that include a time of prayer combined with reading and discussing God’s Word. There are also numerous books and resources that provide themes and key Bible verses for focus. Many find these helpful, but they aren’t necessary. Don’t wait until you find the perfect devotional aid – just start with your Bible and prayer! If you have kids include them and make it a family devotion.
2. Schedule a regular date night – For most couples, life can be busy and hectic. It’s easy and common to allow the grind of daily schedules to interfere with time spent alone as husband and wife. Don’t let this happen! If you are waiting for a natural break in your schedule to present itself this will likely never occur. The only way to ensure that you and your mate spend time together is to schedule it and make it a priority. Designate at least one night a month as “date night”, put it on your calendar, and don’t let anything interfere with it. You don’t have to get expensive or elaborate every time, but you should endeavor to make each time special and meaningful.
3. Seek a new pastime you both enjoy – It’s not absolutely essential for a successful marriage to have a shared hobby or pastime. But it certainly doesn’t hurt… only good can come from it. Do some searching together and make a list of new activities to check out – and try them! Even if you never find that one that you both enjoy immensely, it will be fun just to try new things together. Be creative and explore the possibilities. You may just discover something that will bring you years of enjoyment together.
4. Volunteer together – Volunteer work is one of the most valuable things any of us can do with our time. It is certainly a blessing to others who are beneficiaries of the good deeds. But it’s also a very rewarding experience to the one helping others. Volunteering will make you a better person. And, if done jointly together with your spouse it is also a fantastic way to spend time together, increase bondedness, expand the appreciation and admiration you have for one another, and so forth. Explore opportunities through your church or other community organizations. Everyone wins.
5. Get fit together – A common resolution for many people is to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, and so forth. Why not do it together with your mate? Even if one or both of you do not need to lose weight, adopting a healthier lifestyle will still benefit you in many ways. It’s always easier and more fun to have a partner when pursuing a goal like this. Your spouse is the best partner you can have because the time and effort spent together pursuing common goals will enhance your friendship. It will be fun to plan meals, workout, go for walks/runs, track progress, celebrate accomplishments, and enjoy the adventure together.
6. Develop a budget – If you do not have a family budget, you need one. No matter how much or how little money you make, everyone can benefit from eliminating debt and maximizing your financial surplus. A jointly developed and agreed upon spending plan will likely take a lot of stress off of your relationship enabling you to enjoy your life and marriage more. The planning and tracking will ensure you spend more time together – all while securing a better financial future for your family.
7. Read and discuss a marriage book – There are numerous excellent books written for couples on the subject of strengthening your marriage. Get a book recommendation from your Pastor or a friend. Or, explore your favorite online bookstore together, read some reviews, and pick out something that looks enjoyable and beneficial. When you obtain a book, devise a plan for reading and discussing it together. One option is to simply read it aloud to each other alternating days or chapters if you like. Select three or more times per week for at least 10-15 minutes and just start reading. At the end of each chapter share your related thoughts and applications for your relationship.
8. Attend a marriage retreat – While there can be a bit of a financial investment involved, attending a marriage retreat or conference with your spouse can be a great way to enhance your relationship. These events accomplish several things at once. You will receive encouragement and motivation, obtain helpful tips and resources, and also have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful time together getting away overnight or for a weekend.
9. Renew your vows – There are few things more romantic for a couple than renewing their marriage vows. There are many ways to approach this – and not all of them involve great expense or a large gathering. A wedding anniversary is a natural time to do this, but it may be exciting to renew your vows on some other milestone of life. Some may even want to consider planning it on a regular basis (i.e. every five or ten years of marriage).
10. Begin a new tradition – This idea requires some creativity, but it can be a lot of fun. Here are a few suggestions that may inspire other ideas: Document the details of your first date and recreate it at a set time every year. Choose a day to view pictures and/or video of your wedding, special vacations, or other special occasions. Celebrate your half-year wedding anniversary. Pick a random “holiday” that is normally not celebrated and do something fun on that day each year. The possibilities are endless.
Courtesy of MarriageMoment.org – Used with permission.