5 Reasons a Little Effort in Marriage Goes a Long Way

Please forgive me for what I’m about to say if your wedding or engagement photo looks like one described in this article. I admit they are beautiful. The bride looks lovely. The filter is dreamy. The couple looks blissful. But what strikes me the most about these types of photos, and so many others I see, is that the bride is front and center while her groom is merely a prop for her to pose against. It doesn’t seem like this marriage will be about “we” but about “me,” which can make a big difference for the health of a marriage.

Now, again, I’m sure lots of couples do photos that highlight both the bride and the groom, but it does seem that starting with the wedding, a lot of marriages get off on the wrong foot — it’s “her big day.” She does most of the planning (and most of the paying too, if we’re being honest), and gets to make most of the choices. There’s nothing wrong with that, as most guys don’t really care which greenery is used in the flower arrangements. But whether a couple is just starting out, or they’ve been together for a while, it’s important to be a we. And when you’re trying to make the most of your oneness, here are 5 ways a little effort can make a big difference.

1. Little Courtesies

Running late? Send him a text to let him know. Making a meal plan for the week? Ask him which favorites he’s in the mood for. Driving by the dry cleaners on your way home from work? Pick up his shirts. None of these require great effort, but say quietly, “I care, and I was thinking about you.”

2. Parenting Partnership

Volumes have been written about the need for couples to work together in their parenting. Keep yourself accountable to run important decisions by your husband rather than acting as a one-woman show. He’ll feel validated, and your children will benefit from the knowledge that mom and dad agree on the rules.

3. Respect

Aretha Franklin told us it was important, but we sometimes forget. For men, the respect thing is big—bigger than you probably know. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to disagree, but the manner and tone in which you disagree can keep your relationship intact when the discussion is over.

4. Money Manners

Couples fight about money more than anything else. So nip that tension in the bud by communicating honestly and responsibly about spending decisions. Resist the urge to strike out on your own with a big purchase with the thought that it’s “easier to get forgiveness than permission.” Because honestly—wouldn’t you rather him show you the same courtesy, too?

5. House Rules

Does your husband have a pet peeve or a specific thing around the house that really matters to him? Then, by all means, try to help him out. If it drives him nuts to open three bottles of ketchup before the first one is empty—empty one bottle at a time. Very little effort for you—a big relief to him.

Tell us! What is one thing you could do for your husband this week that would win his heart?