My recipe for a perfect marriage has two ingredients. The first is choosing wisely. When people don't choose wisely, start grinding out kids, and then call my show, there's not a lot I can do to help them. The second ingredient is treating kindly. Treating kindly means behaving in a loving way whether you feel like it or not. The fact is, when you act in a loving way, you actually feel more loving.
So, what can you do to keep your spouse happy and feeling loved? You may think saying, "I love you," every now and then means you're racking up points, but unless you back it up with actions, your words are empty and hollow. There's a big difference between words and actions.
Here are some suggestions (remember, these are only suggestions - use your imagination):
- Write a poem. I don't care whether you know how to rhyme or not, write your spouse a love poem. It doesn't have to be a work of art, just something short and sweet. It shows that you put in some thought and effort, and that he or she was on your mind. After you write the poem, leave it by their pillow or coffee.
- Surprise them. While your spouse is still at work or out with the kids, put out some candles and cook their favorite meal.
- Do the little things. Do the laundry or the dishes without making a big deal about it or having it seem like it was some heroic effort. Just do it!
- Remember the special times. Guys, listen up: remember her birthday and your anniversaries (your wedding, the first time you kissed, when you first met, etc.). She'll love that you remembered.
- When you first get together after a long day, take time to just chat. Sit down in your living room or on the porch, have a glass of wine, and say, "Let's talk about the cool things that happened today." The first thing a lot of people do when they get home is just bitch about all the crap that happened that day. Who wants to hear that?! You've been away from each other for a long time and you've both had to deal with difficult things. Don't sit there dueling about whose day was more difficult. Just clink glasses, rub your toes together, and talk about some good things that happened. Wouldn't that make for a much more pleasant atmosphere?
- Leave them little notes. Texts are OK, but not a tenth as good as hand-written notes. A hand-written note requires getting out a pen and paper, writing the note, and putting it somewhere. For example, place one in the refrigerator so that when your wife goes for the baby's bottle, she sees, "You are the best mommy and I love you."
- Arrange a date night. Find a babysitter: your mom, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandparent, etc. For all you men reading this, here's an idea: When you come home from work, pick up your wife and carry her to the car. Whatever way she's dressed will tell you what kind of restaurant to go to.
- Take a bath together. Hop in the tub and sit there talking, giggling, and giving each other back and foot rubs.
It doesn't require a lot of time or brilliant creativity to show your spouse that you love them, but it does take effort. And if you behave in a loving way, it will magnify your own feelings of love because loving actions make us feel loving.