5 Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Marriage (even in busy times)
*Welcome to week ten of this 12-week series based on the New York Times® bestselling book, Happy Wives Club. Join me each week as I share 12 principles about marriage I’ve learned from some of the happiest couples around the world.*
The world comes crashing in every morning.
Emails sent throughout the night come streaming in at the simple touch of a button.
Kids running around needing to get packed for school, lunches made, rides and activities arranged.
That suit you fit in a month ago is now a little too snug around the waste and hips and so the search begins to find something in the closet that will be more forgiving than the pants that only button on deep inhales.
From the top of the morning, we can quickly begin to feel as though everything around us is spinning and there is no way to slow it down. Suffocated by our own pursuit of success at home, at work, even both.
There is a way for you to hop off that hamster wheel. Today. In this very moment. Why is that so important? Because you don’t want to look at your life in the rear view mirror wondering how you missed so much.
Enjoying life means you have to be present in this moment.
Increasing the happiness in your marriage, and your overall life, doesn’t come from doing monumental things once a month. It happens when you make the choice to do the little things that matter most each and every day.
It occurs only when we make marriage a priority in the midst of a crazy, busy, constantly shifting world.
Marriage is one of the easiest things to allow to coast on cruise control before realizing it’s been headed in the wrong direction. Back up, turn it around, and get intentional about where you’re going and the destination you’d like to arrive.
Your marriage is meant to be your still point in a turning world. Allow it to be that. Make that one of your greatest priorities. This won’t give you all the answers but it is most certainly a place to start.
5 Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Marriage
1. Picture the future. Imagine yourself vibrant and full of life at 65 years old. What do you see? What would you like to be doing? Long after you’ve left your current company or they’ve downsized, what pieces of your life are most important? When your children have moved out and begun a family of their own, what will be left in your home? If your picture of the future, like mine, involves kicking back with a cool glass of lemonade and laughing with your spouse, now is the time to begin creating that future. What you are building today will be the home you live in 20, 30, 60 years from now.
2. Invest time in a like-minded friend. Some call them accountability partners. Others simply call them good company. Whatever you call them, find at least one friend who has the same desire in their life as you do so you can work toward those healthy goals together. When you begin drifting from the plan you set in place to create a happy and loving marriage – that will continue well into your retirement years- your friend will help bring you back to shore. With so much going on around us we can easily lose focus. So keep a friend close by who is positive and sees life as you do and will encourage you to live your life in line with your stated prioritizes.
3. Determine what prioritizing your marriage looks like to your spouse. Say something like this to your spouse: “I want to make you and our marriage a priority every day of my life. What does that look like to you?” Asking that question may yield some interesting results. What you think signifies making your spouse a priority could turn out to be completely different than how they see it. Questions like this can be humbling because oftentimes you discover you know less about what your spouse wants than you thought. But these humbling experiences are also incredibly rewarding. Remember, you and your spouse are constantly changing and evolving so questions like this keep you up to date on how they feel at this time of their life.
4. Make time to create a daily ritual. I know I’ve been talking about this all year but how could I not? After interviewing so many couples happily married for more than a quarter of a century, and learning they all have this in common, I’d be crazy not to mention it as often as possible. There are 1,440 minutes in each day and using 40 minutes of that for a daily ritual will be one of the greatest uses of your time all day.
5. Calendar your dates like a million-dollar meeting. “Sorry, we can’t join you for that as we already have something on our calendar,” is something we find ourselves saying often. And it is 100-percent true. There is something on our calendar: Us time. I learned this last year from a couple I interviewed in Australia. For decades, they’ve had “Date Night” on their calendar every Wednesday. When they get requests to go somewhere or do something else at that time, they immediately respond with, “We can’t. We’re booked.” If you had a million-dollar business idea and had a meeting scheduled with an investor who could make it happen, would you ever think to cancel it? That’s how you should treat this time with your spouse. Once it’s on the calendar, nothing short of an emergency of catastrophic proportions should cause you to cancel it.
YOUR TURN: What other simple things have you found help you prioritize your marriage in the midst of a busy schedule?
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book. I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way. It’s a marriage book like none other. Guaranteed.
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