20 ways to be a better spouse
Resist the temptation to Instagram those adorable petit fours. Cute as they may be, it’s important to focus on your partner 100 percent -- especially on date night. This goes for checking texts from friends and work emails, even if you’re just lounging around watching Scandal. Admit it: It’s not the end of the world if you go incognito for a few hours. In fact, staying glued to your phone might hurt a relationship. According to a recent Journal of Social and Personal Relationships study, just having the phone out can negatively impact your personal connection.
Hang out with friends
Remember how much fun you had with your girlfriends before the ring? Having a hubby shouldn’t change that. So go ahead and make it to happy hour or book a spa day to catch up on the latest gossip, seek advice or dish on new purchases—chances are, your guy just doesn’t care about that awesome J.Crew sale. And when he’s out with his buds, let him be. No need to text him every five minutes.
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Next time your partner starts to vent about his arrogant boss, don’t say, “I know what you mean,” and automatically go on a rampage about all the petty requests from your own manager. Instead, give him your undivided attention. Don’t rattle off a list of solutions either. Sometimes a sincere “uh huh” is all he needs to hear.
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Respect the in-laws
You might want to harp on your in-laws’ annoying habits, but that’s not going to make your life any easier. When you got married, you pretty much agreed to seeing your spouse’s family on a fairly regular basis. So, if your mother-in-law constantly offers cooking tips, don’t look at it as a snarky insult, but as an opportunity to improve your casserole. Keep in mind: These are the people who made your husband into the man you chose to marry—they do some things right, after all. Treat your in-laws as you’d like to be treated.
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Take care of your health
Yes, you did promise to take care of each other “in sickness and in health,” but isn’t it so much better to enjoy the golden years, instead of paying off hospital bills? Heart disease, diabetes and arthritis are some of the most common (and preventable!) health problems in the US. Perhaps it’s time to sub your Netflix habit with some 5K training.
Whether you’ve been married for a year or 10, your spouse wants to be appreciated. Make sure to always say “please” and “thank you,” especially for those mundane tasks like getting the mail or picking up takeout. A compliment, no matter how small, is always sweet.
Talk about money
Spend a little, spend a lot—just don’t keep mum about your expenses. Even if you have separate bank accounts, you still live under one roof, so it’s crucial to talk about your financial goals, whether it’s a kitchen renovation or dinner out. If you’re not on the same page, you’re adding unnecessary tension to your relationship.
Embrace your partner’s interests
For him, shopping may be just as excruciating as watching college basketball for you. While you don’t have to do everything together, participating in your partner’s hobbies shows that you care.
Postponing errands only causes nagging that leads to being annoyed and having a short fuse, which then turns into an argument that shouldn’t have started in the first place. Just do it and everyone is happy.
Fights and fits are going to happen—know when to admit that you’re wrong. No one is right all the time, so owning up to your mistakes implies respect for your partner. It’s a sure way to move on, instead of returning to the same argument over and over again. Bonus: The makeup sex is bound to be great.