“Marriage is hard. It takes work.” You hear this over and over to the point that the statement sounds quite cliché. But the sentiment is so true. It takes a lot of effort to have a happy and healthy marriage. A big part of it is always thinking of someone other than yourself, often in circumstances where you can barely manage basic self-care. The concept is so simple but often forgotten. “Be nice to each other.”
Of course, life is incredibly complicated, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t hold boundaries or neglect conflicts that arise, but simple things to show that you still care are crucial. Going to the fridge to get yourself a drink? Ask your spouse if they would like one. On your way home, you are driving by your spouse’s favorite dinner spot. Grab some food to go. You know your spouse is having a hard day. Make an effort to help them feel special or appreciated. These small moments are truly what makes a marriage strong.
This being said, the effort cannot be one-sided. Both people need to make an effort to be nice and caring towards one another. If you find that you are the only person putting in the effort, then it can be time to have a heart-to-heart with your spouse. Don’t be accusatory or aggressive; just reach out with “I would love it if we did x, y, z for each other.” Then spark a discussion about how you can take time to be more kind. If your spouse still doesn’t return the favor, that is an indication that they are checked out, and you will likely need third-party assistance.
Life gets busy. It is easy to neglect the person you lean on the most. You may take them for granted at times. Just don’t forget that they are on your side. You are a team and need to support one another through this crazy ride.
If you would like some assistance walking through tough conversations in your marriage, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center to talk with a marital mediator. We provide a free virtual consultation.