3 Little Things That Have Been Really Good For My Marriage

Most marriage advice tends to focus on the big things. Finances. Communication. Intimacy. Respect. Love. All of those things are really, really important, and when they’re missing, a marriage can fray, go cold, or even fracture.

Today, though, I’d like to talk about three relatively small things that have been good for my marriage, and I think these can be good for a lot of marriages. And they often enhance the big things listed above.

1. Inside jokes.

My wife and I laugh a lot, and at a lot of things. (We try to laugh with each other, not at each other, although sometimes that happens, too.) One of the really cool things we try to do is to keep a staple of inside jokes: those things that one of us could say to the other that gets at least a good chuckle. I won’t disclose exactly what those are, because then they wouldn’t be inside jokes anymore, but they are a nice way add humor to our days.

It’s good to cultivate a good sense of humor in marriage, and inside jokes not only help accomplish that but also form a sort of secret language, if you will, between you and your spouse. It’s a shared code that only we know. Some inside jokes reflect my interests, some hers, and some both … and that’s important, too, because it also sends the message that we know of and appreciate the other’s interests, even if they’re different than ours.

2. Short walks.

Because of my work schedule, my wife and I sometimes walk together to pick our daughters up from elementary school, which is just five minutes on foot from our home. Those five simple minutes often involve conversation. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s deep, sometimes it’s just about the weather … and occasionally there’s nothing said at all. But the act of walking together is a little bonding experience, a way to talk and just connect as a couple. The best moments are when we’re alone, but even when our daughters are around, it can be an opportunity to build family time.

3. Mealtime chats

My family eats a lot of meals together, including just about every dinner. Our meals take place around the table, with, for the most part, no TV and no phones. The four of us usually talk about a range of things, from the mundane “how was your day” stuff to deeper questions about life and everything in it. On some rare occasions we might have the news on, but even then it usually serves as a launch pad to discussion around the table. It’s yet another way my wife and I can connect both with each other and with our kids, and it has the fringe benefit of making our girls more knowledgeable and well-rounded.

How about you? What little things do you do that help your marriage?

One Comment

  1. Two things that help our marriage are expressions of gratitude and routines.

    For expressions of gratitude, we make sure to say “thank you” whenever one of us does something for the household or each other, even if it’s something we were supposed to do. For example, we negotiate over who does the dishes and who cooks the meals, so that theoretically, neither of us should have to be “thanked” just for doing our share of the work. But we try as often as possible to thank the other.

    By routines, I mean things like a regular weekly date night. (We don’t have children, so it’s something we have time to do.)

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