It takes time together to keep a relationship strong and vibrant. We all "get" that marriage doesn't have cruise control or an autopilot setting. The problem with most marriages isn't that we don't know we should spend time together; the problem is that we're too busy.
Fortunately, the solution is simple. Instead of waiting for long, uninterrupted blocks of time to strengthen your marriage, take advantage of key moments that happen every day. I call this "maximizing everyday relationship moments." Let me describe a couple of these potential moments:
Saying goodbye and hello. On a typical day, one or both of you will leave the house in the morning. How you say goodbye to your spouse can strengthen your marriage. The key is to kiss your spouse before he or she leaves the house. I'm not talking about a pathetic kiss where you lean forward and barely graze your spouse's lips. I'm talking about a real, five-second kiss! You're not adding anything new to your busy plate; you're just taking advantage of a moment that will happen anyway.
How do you greet your spouse when he or she arrives home at the end of the day? The key to maximizing this moment is to use attention, excitement and affection. Walk over, give your spouse a kiss and say, "Welcome home. I'm glad you're back." This sets a positive tone for the rest of your evening together.
Saying good night. There are at least two unique opportunities to strengthen your marriage when you say good night. The first is to express gratitude. Thank your spouse for something specific: "Thanks for being a great provider" or "Thanks for washing the dishes." The other opportunity is to pray together. Imagine how strong your marriage could be if the last thing your spouse heard before falling asleep was you praying for him or her.Erin Smalley serves as the program manager of marriage ministries at Focus on the Family and is the author of several books including The Wholehearted Wife.