First, I would like to preface this by acknowledging I only figured out how to make my marriage better by first doing 401,000 other things that made my marriage worse. Finally, after years of trial and error in a blended family marriage, I can confidently say I have stumbled upon a few “quick fixes” that almost instantly made my marriage better (and yes, I still do those other 401,000 things, too). FYI, these work for first-time marriages and remarriages all the same!
COMPLIMENT, COMPLIMENT, COMPLIMENT.
Every day. Every single time your husband does anything you can come up with a compliment for. When you happen to notice how sexy he looks in his workout clothes, TELL HIM. When you witness a sweet daddy/son or daughter moment, let him know how much it melts your heart. Send him a random text while he’s at work and tell him how much you love him and how proud you are to be his wife. BRAG on him – even when he’s not there! Practice the art of complimenting and it will become a habit before you know it!
I first realized just how marriage-transforming this could be after asking my husband what the one thing his heart truly desired the most from me was. His answer: He just wants me to think he hung the moon! And lucky for him, I do! But thinking it isn’t good enough. He needs to hear me say it! See, God made husbands to value respect above all else and your man knowing just how amazing you think he is as a provider, husband, lover, father, and human being gives him the inner confidence he needs to handle anything life throws at him. Not to mention, men tend to live up to the expectations we have of them. Give him some big shoes to fill! No one has the ability to breathe destiny into a man the way his wife can.
LESS FIGHTING. MORE KISSING.
So, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret I discovered back in those early, tumultuous newlywed years — something I still pull out of my back pocket years later. Next time you and your husband are in a heated argument of any kind, stop talking. Walk up to him and plant a big, sexy kiss right on his big yappin’ mouth. Put some serious passion in it, too. Don’t stop until you feel the tension leave his face. IT WORKS. EVERY SINGLE TIME. His heart will instantly soften toward you and you will both immediately refocus on the uh-hum, intimacy between you, not the distance.
I don’t know what it is about that mid-fight intervention kiss, but it somehow cripples every angry bone in your body and turns a heated moment into a H-O-T one. Seriously, it’s almost impossible to be mad at someone you’re making out with. Just make sure you sort things out after you have truly reconnected and don’t just brush any serious issues under the rug.
PUT HIM FIRST.
As stepmoms especially, we can pitch a lot of fits over our husband “not putting us first.” And sadly, many stepmoms think they shouldn’t even expect to be number one (more on that another day). But believe me, both husband and wife are meant to be one another’s top priority, whether the kids were there first or not. Your husband deserves the same respect you expect from him. As stepmothers and mothers, I know it can be easier to pour our heart and soul into our children, but your husband wants to be your number one, even over the kids. He needs to know he will always be the number one love of your life.
Prove it to him by making time to be alone with him. The words popping into my head right now are DATE NIGHT. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money either. Just get away together. Anywhere. Once a week if you can. If you can’t afford a babysitter, send the kids to bed early and watch a movie. Sometimes if we need some alone time on a weekend afternoon, we will just improvise and put a movie on for the kids in the living room and go watch a movie together snuggled up in the bedroom. Make it work. He will appreciate it more than you could ever imagine. You may think he is perfectly fine being with you and “his,” “yours,” or “y’all’s” kids 24/7, but I can assure you there is nothing he loves more than spending alone time with his old lady.
People, let me just start off by saying your sex life inside of marriage should be getting better every day! If that’s not the case, not only are you doing something wrong, (Please don’t hate me, I’m just being honest here!) but you’re missing out on one of the biggest and best perks of married life. There is nothing more physically fulfilling or fun than the freedom of God-ordained sex with the person who knows you and loves you the most. BUT it’s not just for the bedroom. Find ways to get physical with your husband all the time (obviously some situations are inappropriate). Tease him in the kitchen when the kids are in the other room or glued to the TV. Grab his booty when he walks by you in the hallway. Hold his hand in the car or while walking down the sidewalk. Rub his head while you’re watching a movie on the couch.
My husband is literally putty in my hands when I touch him and I love the confidence I see on his face when he is reassured of just how attracted to him I really am. I mean, come on ladies, it really should come as no surprise that most men respond very positively to physical touch. Even though I knew my husband loved when I was physical with him, I was honestly shocked that while doing the Five Love Languages test together, his results said his primary love language was physical touch! Apparently, he notices and soaks in every bit of touch I give him. Not only does it make him feel connected to me, but it also serves as a comfort for him after dealing with the never-ending daily stressors of life. I can almost promise you your husband will be thankful for a more “hands-on” approach.
Men don’t like to play games (most of them at least). Women do (most of them at least). And the truth is, we both somehow end up dancing the dance where you hurt me and instead of saying, “Hey! You hurt me,” I try to hurt you back. And the dance just keeps going around and around. Stop dancing. Just be honest. Trust your husband with your heart enough to admit your biggest fears and insecurities. Let me give you an example. Say I am being a nagging, emotional wife. Husband tells me I am being crazy. Instead of saying, “Oh, I’ll show you crazy,” I choose to be vulnerable with him and instead say, “I know, I really am being crazy. I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on with me today.” And then instead of him going to the gym for the second time that day to get away from his crazy wife, your husband is so moved by your tender heart, he actually starts encouraging you, assuring you you’re not in fact, crazy, and asking if he can run you a hot bath.
This may sound like manipulation, but it’s not. It’s called BEING REAL. News flash ladies, being a defensive, headstrong, loud-mouth witch with a “B” is not sexy. Like, at all. What’s sexy is a woman who is authentic, humble, and self-aware. God made a man’s heart to be drawn to the tenderness of a woman’s heart. Yes, it’s OK to be vulnerable. A truly confident woman is not scared to show weakness or humility. When you are transparent with your husband, you show him your marriage is a safe place for him to be transparent, too. How many fights could be avoided if we were all just dead honest about why we were upset from the get-go? A LOT. Somewhere around 99%.
And last but certainly not least…
SEEK GOD TOGETHER.
Even if it’s just reading a few Bible verses at night before you fall asleep. Find “Marriage Today” on YouTube and watch an episode together. Most importantly, pray out loud together, even if it feels awkward or uncomfortable. I will never forget one night standing in our driveway, how strongly my husband and I experienced the power of prayer in our marriage. For at least a week, he and I had been at MAJOR odds about something and we couldn’t seem to break out of that negative cycle. Things kinda came to a head that night in the driveway as we were packing our son up in the stroller to head to a parade downtown, and if our neighbors hadn’t been in their 90’s, I’m pretty sure they would have been sitting on their back porch enjoying the free entertainment going on next door. The tension was so dang thick you could seriously cut it with a knife. Then, I made a not-so-like-me decision that completely changed the course of our night and even our marriage. I am in no way bragging about myself here, but somehow God miraculously redirected my thoughts and I said, “Let’s pray right now.”
I wrapped my arms around his tense body and I started praying out loud, confessing my sin to God, repenting of all of the things I had been doing wrong to my husband and in our marriage. I named them out loud one by one and literally begged God to change my heart and to heal our marriage. When I was done, he prayed out loud, too. All of the walls we had built between us immediately crumbled. I cannot describe in words how powerfully the Spirit of God surrounded us in that moment. Just minutes before, our marriage had felt broken and fragile, yet after one prayer inviting God in to fix the huge mess we had created, our marriage had never felt so strong. Never underestimate what the Lord can do in your marriage when you invite Him in to be a real, tangible part of it. He IS the one who created it, after all!
WIFE TESTED. HUSBAND APPROVED.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Dunne, the Spiritual Stepmom. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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