On a post last summer you wrote about your mom/sisters girls trip and mentioned you shared things you had done for your husbands during the year. I would love to hear more about what was shared.

This question has been asked over and over in a variety of different ways (mostly in conjunction with posts here and here…note that there are a bunch of answers back in this post).

In light of Valentine’s Day next week I figured I’d devote this Q & A to putting husbands first. Something we could all work on no matter how great our relationships are. And I’m hoping people will add their own ideas in the comments so we can all be better prepared to show our love next week (and always).

(That shape we’re making in the shadow is supposed to be a heart in case you were wondering:)

Some of these things Dave and I do great. Others are things we are really working on. Others are things my sisters and Mom mentioned on that trip the “questioner” for this q&a was talking about.

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:)
Don’t you love those nerdy iPhone self-portraits?

Cough all night long with allergies.

Back into your in-law’s 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 take work.

Please add your ideas in honor of Valentine’s Day…I know there are so many great ways to show love out there whether they’re just ideas or things that are tried and true.

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  1. Don't think he can read your mind or just know what to do because "if he loved you he would know"! That was the one thing I went into my marriage knowing NOT to do. I think it has saved us countless times. And it's true about the power of touch. Even if we aren't seeing eye to eye, touch lets each other know we both still love and care.

  2. I love what you said about the little things that dont seem important to you, but are to him.. mhh, he hates the way i cut tomatoes( i know, who cares.. but he does),.. i'm gonna work on that!!

    I think always having each others back, always, no matter if you are mad with them that day or not!

  3. Gee I don't know what to add. You hit everything on the nail. I like so much how you added "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"
    Well we were not doing that 6yrs ago and that almost cost us our marriage.
    We decided when we moved to this new town to work on a few things. That statement was one of them. It has really helped our marriage. Going on 18yrs now.

    I do believe we must also keep away negetive comments about our spouses in front of our children. We must hold our tongue and try to think of good thoughts. We must not quarrel in front of our children.
    Soft words, kind words make the heart grow fonder. I got to work on that one a little more.
    Great post!

  4. I have been thinking about this all month long. My husband and I have to plan very well if we have any hope of spending that quality time together. He is the Bishop of our ward as well as a full time grad student. We just had a baby and he travels quite a bit for work. Life is a bit wild right now BUT, there are 3 things we do every single day that help the craziness subside a bit.
    ~We eat together. Breakfast and dinner. Simple concept but so important for us to do. Those 15-20 minutes at the table are becoming more and more important to me as the days go by.

    ~We pray together as a couple(and hold hands if we're not too tired 😉 This is our discussion time. Sometimes it is short and sweet. Sometimes we are so tired we end up laughing our guts out because nothing we are saying is coherent, but most the time, it is a special time in our day to reconnect.

    ~Love notes. These are in the form of texts, emails, or notes left in places only we will find. Knowing that we are on one another's mind throughout the day reminds us both that we are still each others number one.

    These are such simple things but I'm learning that in my life and marriage, they really do matter.

    Thanks for the great reminder.

  5. I have one that I am constantly working on and failing at but occasionally I do really well: DON'T call and nag about people or situations that he can't fix or change. I try so hard to NOT call when i'm mad and pray instead or read a conference talk or my scriptures or ANYTHING that doesn't involve stressing him out. So hard, but so many benefits to doing it right. Anyway, love your tips! Happy V-day!!

  6. Personally, I really love the new hair. 🙂
    I think the Forgive and FORGET is so important. Don't bring up something that happened weeks, months, or even years ago.

    Elder Holland spoke about the importance of not reopening ancient wounds "the same wounds the Savior died trying to heal. Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve." (Remember Lot's Wife, Jan. 13, 2009)

    I love your list and I can see why you have such a great marriage.

  7. I love the Boggle comment! I grew up on that game, my husband had never played it. We shook up the box for our first game just after we were married. When the timer ended, he proudly pronounced he had found 12 words. I sheepishly admitted to 47.

    He has never played again since. (We stick to many other board games.)

  8. Such a great list of marriage tips!! I think women tend to complain, and that was something I learned early he did not like to hear. I like to think I don't complain very much now. And when I have a concern or an issue I need his help with, I don't bring it up as soon as he enters the door from work. I wait for a chance, like pillow talk, to bring it up calmly and do my best to not bring in too much emotion with it. Then we're able to tackle problems/issues calmly and he feels like I'm not just venting!

  9. Loved all your ideas and reminders!!

    One thing I would add that I always try to do is to make sure I stop whatever I'm doing when he walks through the door after work and give him a kiss and tell him I'm glad he's home or ask how his day went.

  10. You guys seem to have the best relationship – I love these tips. One of my favorites was tell your kids what you love about their dad. My boys are only 3 and 2, but I think I'm going to start now so it becomes a habit!

    I have to very respectfully add, though, that I appreciate it when women are cautiously open about their marriage struggles, because it made me feel less alone when I was muddling through mine! 🙂 If no one talks about the hard side of marriage, it can set young women up for a big shock when they find themselves having to really WORK at their relationship once they're married. But I say "cautiously open" because I know there is a huge need for sensitivity and discretion! Sometimes just having one trusted person outside your marriage to brainstorm with can be SO helpful. But that's just me. 🙂

    Thanks for blogging, and happy Vday!

  11. Make time to dream and plan together 🙂 My favorite conversations — and the times I really feel the closest to my hubby — are when we brainstorm and talk about our future. I feel so connected and excited to be with him planning our forever 😀 It has also really blessed our marriage to let the other person teach the things they are learning (usually from reading books). Sometimes it's hard to get excited when he's talking about some in-depth nutritional topic or wordpress theme stuff … BUT he knows that I care enough to listen about what he is excited about and then it becomes something I understand and am included in as well. Great list! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. None of my business but you look smokin' hot in that second photo. Younger too.

    So now that I've already been totally inappropriate, I'd like to add that you have, have, have to make intimacy a priority (and one of the highest ones at that). Make sure your bedroom is a romantic haven, and use it often.

  13. and let's be honest here, a healthy, great physical relationship is super important to making a marriage great! That is another to do for your husband because for most men this is their love language! And honestly it's something I enjoy myself as well 😉

  14. I love your ideas. And I agree with Erica that it's nice to hear that other people have some of the same struggles. I remember my friend once saying something and I was in shock because I thought she had the perfect marriage. It was SO helpful to me to know that I wasn't alone and that you can still have a happy marriage without everything being perfect. But there's a huge difference between that and then bashing your spouse.

  15. Glad you mentioned “Love Language” It is brilliant and WORKS! Here is a link with an overview:

    Say 3 detailed appreciations to your spouse every day. Do it for at least a week. Watch what happens. Keep doing it as long as you want those good feelings to continue.

    Don’t unconsciously sabotage good feelings or energy between you. When you are at a good place…allow those good feelings to absorb into your relationship. This is known as the “Upper Limits” problem. There is a brilliant article about this here from the book called “Conscious Loving”:

  16. Awesome awesome tips. One thing I started doing at the beginning of our marriage was start a "Why I love Jimmi" list. It's pretty big now. I just got a large notepad and add to it every so often. Some things have been written down twice. I guess they're the things I love the most 🙂 A couple of times I've read them out to him. It always makes him gush!

  17. Say "I LOVE you" every night and every morning… even in those times when you aren't feeling the love. 16 years and 7 children later… sometimes I have to stop and pinch myself that such an amazing man can love me so much and that I have the ability to love someone so deeply!

  18. Your blog is so amazing! It really touches my heart! I'm only 21 but have been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years! I always feel like I'm running out of ways to keep things exciting and show how much I love him besides constantly saying "I love you". But this post gave me a lot of great things to think about and do! Thanks!

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