4 Habits for a Happy Marriage

What’s the best habit in your marriage? Mine is that my husband and I make time for sex (as a couple with five children, that’s a bigger accomplishment than you might think!). What’s the worst habit in your marriage? Mine is that I shut down and put a wall up when my husband says something to me that I find unkind. I’m working on breaking that habit, and I’m always on the look out for good habits I can incorporate into my marriage.

In a recent best-selling book about habits, author Gretchin Rubin says that about 40 percent of our daily behavior is habitual, meaning we do the same thing every day without thinking about it. She goes on to offer this powerful advice, If we change our habits, we change our lives. We can apply that same logic to our relationship with our husband—if we change our habits, we can change our marriage for the better. Here are 4 habits for a happy marriage.

1. Use terms of endearment.

A little sprinkling of terms of endearment in your daily conversation can go a long way. {Tweet This} When we speak to our husband endearingly, we’re letting him know that we love him more than others. It’s basic stuff, but our requests should come with a Sweetie or a Honey and kind acts and words he sends our way should be answered with a special pet name. If you need to add this habit to your marriage, make it a goal to say three terms of endearment to your husband today. (And check out my husband’s blog for he wants to hear.)

2. Laugh more.

I am the fun one in my marriage. Not that my husband is a party pooper, it’s just that I’ve always been more playful. Though I have to admit that he’s gotten more fun over the past 25 years of marriage. … being fun also means being light-hearted, sharing laughter, and looking for opportunities to smile together. My husband and I are even learning how to laugh at ourselves when it comes to our marriage. He’s a “get it done right” person, I’m a, not surprisingly, “get it done with fun” person. Instead of letting our opposing tendencies be a point of contention, we’re trying laugh more at our differences.

3. Steal a kiss.

This doesn’t require full octane romance; it’s the little gestures that you can sprinkle throughout your time together. My husband is more affectionate than I am, but I’ve grown to realize that his affection has drawn us closer over the years. He’s quick to hold my hand, pull me onto his lap, or give me a playful squeeze. If you’re not in the habit of showing your husband affection, start small — a kiss when you see him at the end of the day, a hug for no reason, or sit close to him on the couch when you’re watching TV. An added bonus of showing your husband affection? It’s one of the ways to affair proof your marriage.

4. We time.

What does this look like as a habit in marriage? If your husband is talking to you while you’re on your computer, stop and look at him. Plan a regular date night. Even when our children were little, my husband and I went out at least a couple of times a month. To make this type of habit a reality in your marriage, put these couple dates on your calendar and line up your babysitter — whether it’s a neighborhood teen or a family member — and stick with it.

Remember that habits are the automatic behaviors we exhibit every day. To make something a habit, you’ll need to do it consistently. So choose one of the habits above to add to your life. When you’ve mastered that one, add another. And tell me, what are the habits that keep your marriage happy?

(Here’s the link to the habits book I mentioned above.)