This is true of any relationship really.
If you start to be lazy, cutting corners, and coasting along at work are you going to promote or get a raise? No, and you will probably get let go if it continues like this for a long time.
If you never call or hang out with a friend, are you going to remain close friends? I know several people who eventually got tired of being the only friend who called to get together and so they stopped putting in the effort to be friends with that person at all.
My pastor once said that your relationship with Jesus is like being on a treadmill. If you're not walking forward, you're going backwards. Even if you are just standing still, you are still moving backwards. I think you can really think of your marriage in this way as well. When you're on the marriage treadmill, the way to move forward is through time and energy spent on and with your spouse.
It doesn't even take a big thing to foster your relationship. Ten minutes of "grown up" conversation between just you two about something personal can go a long way (I know you were getting frustrated with this situation, how did it turn out?) Can you go for a walk together? Often, even if we have the kids with us, this can be a fun bonding time. Can you do the dishes together? (I wash, you dry?) If you're watching tv together, hold hands. The little things can really build up!
Take a second to tell them about something they did that you appreciated. I think, in general, women like to know that they're being appreciated and loved. We would love to get flowers "just because I love you" and would swoon over a love note tucked away somewhere. Even the little things, like taking off their work shoes (that have who knows what on the bottom of them!) before they come in the house is a sign that they care about us. As much as we love to be shown appreciation, I would just like to encourage you today to not forget to show your husband appreciation too. Sometimes we just get so wrapped up in work, school, kids, keeping the house clean, etc. that we forget to make that extra effort to lift up our husbands. This could be a word of encouragement, an intimate moment, or just setting something down that you were working on to pay attention to him.
"When a woman tells a man she thinks he's wonderful, that inspires him to achieve more. He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level. That inspiration helps him prepare for the responsibilities of life. Admiration not only motivates, it also rewards the husband's existing achievements. When she tells him that she appreciates him for what he has done, it hives him more satisfaction than he receives from his paycheck. A woman need to appreciate her husband for what he already is, not for what he could become, if he lived up to her standards. For some men - those with fragile self-images - admiration also helps them believe in themselves. While criticism causes men to become defensive, admiration energizes and motivates them. A man expects - and needs - his wife to be his most enthusiastic fan. he draws confidence from her support and can usually achieve far more with her encouragement." (His Needs Her Needs, Willard F. Harley, Jr).
Schedule time with your spouse. Make compromises. My mom has a deal with my dad that she gets his cell phone all weekend. Find another couple who will trade watching the kids so you don't have to pay for a sitter. Choose to wait to finish reading that book or working on your hobby until another time. Choose your spouse. Every. Day.
If you have trouble encouraging your spouse because they aren't ever appreciative of anything you do. Ever. Then read my previous post on this subject here.
Until next time,