Husband and Wife, by Shawni Pothier

Marriage is the keystone for everything else in a family to fit together.  If we don’t put our spouse first, it is really difficult to do all the other family stuff in the proclamation.

Here is a list of ideas to strengthen marriage. Some of these things Dave and I do great. Others are things we are really working on.

Here you go:

Go to bed at the same time. (I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it makes a world of difference for us.)

If you go to bed at the same time, you get to have “pillow talk” which leads to belly laughs, which make me happy. (I feel so much more connected to Dave when we make time to really talk about how our day went and what’s coming up the next day.)

Find at least a few of the same things to be interested in together. (We’re always working on that one because we are so different, but I think it’s so important.)

Learn what his “love language” is from this book (I know this may sound cheesy, but seriously, it is a pretty cool concept).

Never underestimate the power of touch. Even just a touch on the shoulder or a on his knee at dinner.

Tell your kids how excited you are to go on a date together with stars in your eyes.

Hug in front of your kids.

Tell your kids what you love about their dad. All the time.

Say you’re sorry before he does.

Continue “dating” regularly forever, even if it’s an “at-home date” after the kids are in bed.

Drop everything you’re trying to juggle some evenings and just snuggle on the couch.

Watch a show you like together while sitting in front of him on the floor…he rubs your back while you rub his feet. (or visa-versa)

Text him love-notes in the middle of the day.

Tuck love-notes in his suitcase when he goes on a business trip.

Make dinner for him.

Dave and I decided right when we got married to keep any complaints or things we were bugged about between us. We promised each other that we would discuss those things and work them out just the two of us, not with our friends or neighbors. We figured it would make us stronger to work through things together and to keep that relationship sacred. And we were right. That’s one of the best things about our marriage as far as I’m concerned.

Show that you value his opinion by giving in more often. (Hmmm…I need to work on that one…)
Let him beat you at Quordy here and there 🙂 (that’s a Boggle game on the iPhone)

Make an effort to give him a sincere compliment before you go to bed each night…something you noticed during the day. Be looking for the good instead of for opportunities to nag.

Talk about your budget often and make sure you’re on the same page with how you spend.

If you’re not on the same page with how you spend, re-evaluate. And give-in a little. Make compromises. Finances are one of the biggest stress-inducing things in marriages.

Forgive. And then Forget. Don’t hold on to grudges.

If something is important to him, make it important to you. No matter how silly it may seem in your view at first. (That’s my favorite one from my Mom and I think about it ALL THE TIME.)

Laugh. A lot. Keep a sense of humor.

Ok, and just to keep it real, here’s what NOT to do to make your husband feel like you really care about him:

Chop your hair off in a moment of mid-life crisis even though you know he loves long hair. But if he’s really nice like Dave is he’ll still love you anyway. 🙂

Cough all night long with allergies.

Back into your in-laws’ car.

Forget to warn him about five different conflicts you have in one night early enough that he can brace himself for it.

Text when you’re on a date.

But hey, I’m working on those, and hair grows, right? 🙂

Strong marriages make strong families, but they take work.

What are some things that you and your spouse do for each other that strengthens your marriage?

Shawni lives with her husband and five children in Arizona.  She takes her job as a Mother very seriously and strives to promote joy in the journey of Motherhood on her blog. Shawni’s youngest daughter (Lucy) was born with a rare genetic syndrome which causes blindness (amidst a myriad of other health problems).  Because of this, Shawni and her mother started the “I Love Lucy Project” and have become heavily involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Aside from being an advocate for her daughter and relishing in motherhood, Shawni enjoys speaking at Time Out for Women and recently published her first book, A Mother’s Book of Secrets.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!

What I learned at a dating etiquette dinner

etitableLast night I was asked to participate in my ward’s dating etiquette dinner for the youth.  I have two theories why:

1.  I dated longer than most people and am, therefore, an expert.  (which only truly means that I loathe dating more than most people.)

2.  My husband was hoping to spice up my current dating life and submitted my name.

Either way, they asked me to speak on dating.  It was actually quite fun.  In the process of preparing, despite my “expert” status, I learned a couple things myself.  Take for instance this advice to young women about how to treat young men:

“Young women, can you see beyond young men’s occasional awkwardness and immaturity and imagine them as future leaders in the Church and in their homes? Are you treating them as they can become? There are many ways you can show respect for the priesthood and manhood.”

And I thought to myself, You know, this doesn’t just apply to young men.  It really applies to husbands too.  And children. The phrase “see beyond” stood out to me.  Oh, how I need to do this more with weaknesses, frustrations, trials, obstacles, whatever . . . .  I need to look past them and see things and people as they really are.

As I discussed with the youth the dating standards that the Lord has established through His living prophets, I acknowledged that I know it is way different from the way their friends approach dating, and that’s okay.  It is different because it’s right.  And I told them that God is not out of touch; He knows exactly what they need to be the best person they can be and to qualify for the most blessings possible.  It’s really about trusting Him.  This leads to the other lesson I learned.  While I was driving there that night and thinking through my conclusion, this concept of trust is what came to mind.  I realized that it is the reason we follow any commandments or standards at all.  So I told the youth last night this newly-clarified lesson that I was reminded of in my car:

If you are struggling with whether or not to trust Him and do what He asks, you simply need to get to know Him better.  Because once you know Him, and understand what He’s like and how much He loves you, it’s easy to trust Him.  You’ll find him worthy of that trust.

And so it is for each of us, and for any commandment—  dating or whichever commandment seems to be the tough one in my post-dating life.  It all comes back to the basics.  Am I reading my scriptures and praying and listening for his voice in my life?  Am I working hard at building a relationship with my Savior?  Because when I am, and when I know Him and feel Him close, it’s easy to trust Him.

Oh, and I also learned that you’re supposed to pass food from the left to the right, and you should take the piece of bread closest to you when they pass a bread basket, and you should never blow your nose in your napkin.  See?  A very educational night.