45 ways to BE a better spouse

Early on in marriage, so much of what makes marriage good comes easily.  During the long stretch between I do and ’empty nest’ we can get weary and lose focus…many times even becoming bitter and keeping a long list of wrongs.  Marriage is hard and requires hard work.  That is just a fact.  It never means you chose wrong or should give up.  And, even if you did choose wrong…you still chose.  Just keep choosing.  In my ‘book’, and in black and white in God’s, marriage is forever. It’s easy to forget you’re on the same team.  To forget the early days of your love.  How easily we forget the good stuff in life.  The things that really matter.  I need reminding often.  We need things to help us remember to choose to feed our marriages and not let them wither.  Without proper care and feeding, we will not survive this long road.  I don’t regularly do all the things on this list.  Neither does my husband.  We both mess up everyday.  My pride and hurt feelings get in the way.  And, I can only control my own words, thoughts, actions and decisions.  This is not a list about changing your spouse.

I made this Marriage 101 list for my brother and his wife when they got married.  I hope it is a good reminder for you, too.  Our loving, encouraging words and actions are so powerful.  Just as our un-loving and discouraging words and actions are powerful.  I’d love to hear your additions to the list!  Just as each person is unique, so is each marriage.  Be creative.  Make this list your own.


  1. Spend the first of your day with God. (Without this I can’t do #2-45)
  2. Love her
  3. Respect him
  4. Tell her she’s beautiful
  5. Tell him he’s ‘the man’
  6. Be honest
  7. Spouse before self, in word and deed
  8. Learn their favorite things
  9. Make eye contact
  10. Kiss for 10 seconds (at least!) every day
  11. If you must compete, be the first to say ‘I’m sorry’
  12. Make traditions
  13. Make memories
  14. LAUGH
  15. Learn your Love Languages
  16. Listen.  For real.
  17. Tell each other jokes
  18. LOVE (I Corinthians 13:4-13)
  19. Count to 30–instead of 10
  20. Be kind
  21. Plan surprises
  22. Sweep her off her feet
  23. If you need to keep a record, be it of blessings
  24. Be humble
  25. Don’t let the honeymoon end
  26. Plan dates
  27. PLAY
  28. Ask for help
  29. Accept help
  30. Learn together
  31. Pray together
  32. Forgive
  33. Expect the best
  34. Be his #1 fan
  35. Cheer her on
  36. Care for him
  37. SHARE
  38. Pack his lunch
  39. Empty the dishwasher
  40. Never say, “No.  I have a headache.”
  41. Revisit places you went before you were married
  42. Reminisce about pre-kid days
  43. Look forward to post-kid days
  44. Rub his feet
  45. Compliment each other to your friends

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