If you’re like most married couples, life can sometimes get in the way of your relationship. Work. Kids. Various other obligations. Before you know it, your time to interact and connect as a couple is taking a backseat to all the other things on your respective plates. You start to feel like you are merely occupying the same space and that you’ve lost the giddy-new love couple you were back in the earliest days of your relationship. The idea of devoting the time and energy to strengthening your marriage may even seem overwhelming.

Wait. The truth is the secret to a strong marriage actually lies in the little things.

1. Be in touch: Something as simple as touching your partner’s arm when you are speaking has a way of connecting not just on a physical level but an emotional one as well.

2Pray for one another: During your daily prayers, make sure your spouse is among the topics you bring before God. Pray for your relationship. Thank God for the partner He has chosen for you. Pray for the things that trouble or challenge your spouse.

3. Pray together: Marriage is a three-party relationship: you, your spouse, and God. When we pray together we recognize His role in our relationship and we invite him to join in.

4. Flatter Me: Do you ever feel like the only time you and your spouse talk it’s to argue or to discuss family business? Compliment your partner. In fact, go ahead and flirt a little.

5. Date Me: Don’t get caught up the logistics of babysitters and the rare calendar alignments. Date night can be a matter of renting a good movie and opening your favorite bottle of wine after the kids go to bed. The point is to carve out some couple time and focus on each other.

6. Surprise! All it takes is a small scrap of paper to make a big impact. Write your spouse a few encouraging lines or a simple “I love you.” Slip the paper in a lunch box, wallet, the medicine cabinet, or any other space you know your partner will stumble across it later. It’s a reminder that you are thinking of each other even while running full speed in different directions.

7. Remember when: There’s just something about memory lane that reignites the relationship. Remember why you fell in love in the first place. Enjoy those memories you’ve already made and then make plans to make new ones.

9. Listen up: When your spouse is unloading the stress of the work day, worrying over something that sounds rather like Greek to you, or just pontificating on the condition of a favorite sports team, listen. You may not care about the topic, but you do care about the person speaking. Show it by being present in the conversation.

Challenge: Come up with your little things that make a big impact. What small thing will you incorporate this week?

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