I have a bit of a “get ‘er done” personality. I am all about the goal. So when my wife, Susan, and I go out on a date and get out of the car, if I am not careful, I can find myself walking ahead of her towards the restaurant, or wherever we are going, leaving her trying to catch up.
I have to check myself to wait and hold her hand like we did when we were first dating. This tendency of mine is a simple thing most couples do when they are dating that can gradually fall by the wayside in their married life. But if they do, they can be a sign that you could be in danger of taking each other for granted and slipping into careless familiarity. Little courtesies are one of the 5 Reasons a Little Effort in Marriage Goes a Long Way.
So please join me in refreshing your commitment to these 8 little things that are a big deal in your marriage life.
1. Kiss them goodnight/good morning.
It only takes a moment, but this private seal between the two of you should start and end your day. It’s a sign of affection and a promise of intimacy, reminding you both that you share a unique bond; no one else in the world occupies quite the same place in your life.
2. Say hello/goodbye.
Can you imagine going into your office and not acknowledging the other people there? Unlikely. Yet I know some couples who arrive home or leave without saying anything or offering no more than a grunt. Don’t depart/enter your home without making a point of finally/first saying something to them. It only takes a moment. Don’t rush out the door and reach straight for the mail when you come back.
3. Say “I love you.”
When you part, when you reunite, at the end of a phone conversation, at the bottom of a short note left on the kitchen counter—I don’t think you can tell your spouse too often. It’s great when these words are spoken in candlelight; it’s great too when they are said in broad daylight for no particular reason. I have made a point of saying “I love you” to Susan every night of our marriage.
4. Say please and thank you.
Common courtesies can get dropped when spouses start to take each other for granted. Expressing appreciation is a way of recognizing and affirming them. It’s a helpful reminder that you are not the center of the universe, deserving to be catered to.
5. Ask, “How can I help you today?”
True love seeks the best for your spouse. Offer to do whatever you can to assist and support them. Make a point of asking if they want anything when you go into the kitchen or open the fridge, or when you stop in at the store on the way home. It says they matter to you.
6. Wait for them.
I’ve already fessed up to this one myself, but I am sometimes surprised to see other couples out walking, with one of them—usually the guy—walking way ahead while the other struggles to keep or catch up. It’s really a sign of impatience and indifference. Like me, work on slowing down and holding their hand. And, guys, here are some more thoughts on How Being a Chivalrous Man Can Strengthen Your Marriage.
7. Smile at them.
Our words are important, but it’s possible to say nothing and say a lot—our body language can speak for us even when our lips are sealed. Does your face light up when you see your spouse? Are there other ways you show you are pleased to see and be with them—a hug, a hand on their knee, leaning close when you talk? Your posture and demeanor matter.
8. Let them speak.
After some time together, it’s easy to start believing we know what the other person thinks about things, or to get impatient when they take too long telling us. Interrupting your spouse is a sign of disrespect—one that a close friend called me out on one time.
Remember, these small courtesies aren’t just important for your marriage. If you have children, they are learning from you about how to treat others. Consider these 5 Manners You Must Model for Your Kids.
What little thing have you most overlooked in your marriage, and what have you done about it? Share your experiences here.