Ten (or 100+) Tips for More Meaningful Marriages

David C. Dollahite, PhD, Professor of Marriage, Family, & Human Development, BYU


1†† Stay Together: stay engaged; continue courting; walk together; dance together; reminisce together; keep dating; give flowers & chocolate; do little things; go on second, third honeymoons; stay emotionally engaged (especially in times of conflict or discouragement); renew your vows periodically; team up against your problems (externalize the problem); find new things to unite you; find new reasons to stay together.


2†† Sup Together: make mealtime matter; make mealtime sacred (especially on your Sabbath); cook for each other; have special foods that are eaten on special occasions; make breakfast (lunch, dinner) in bed for each other; make each otherís favorite foods; make snacks for each other; have places to eat that you go to enough that they become your places. Meaningful mealtime makes for happy marriages and families.


3†† Plan Together: make your marriage and family your first priority (not a residual claimant on your time); have and use a family calendar; schedule time for couple/family activities; hold couple/family councils to plan activities; plan so as to attend each otherís (& childrenís) activities; take time from work for family; have a marriage calendar in which you make special plans for strengthening your marriage.


4†† Play Together: play together; smile together; laugh together; giggle together; tickle each other; run, jump, throw, swing; watch fun movies; listen to fun music; toss kids in the air; have family dances; earn your desert with a joke; have pillow fights; camp, hike, bike, ski, boat, fish, tennis, golf; turn off the TV and play; see a great play/movie together; pretend you are having a first date again.


5†† Touch Together: bless each other with touch; touch with affection often; hug; kiss; tickle; tussle hair; give high-fives; play footsies; hold hands; rub noses; wrestle; have thumb wars; snuggle under blankets; never touch in anger or hostility; cut each otherís hair; take your spouses shoes off for them; hold hands at dinner; hold hands in prayer; swing your children together; touch otherís lives together.


6†† Talk Together: commune together; talk about what matters most; express gratitude to each other; share ideas, dreams, fears, goals, stories, jokes; stories of your childhood, youth, courtship; tell each other your dreams, fears, hopes, favorite things, places, foods; express love and respect often; say you are sorry often; ask for forgiveness often; apologize with style!; love means often saying ďIím sorryĒ and ďThatís ok.Ē


7†† Worship Together: pray together; read sacred texts together; sing hymns together; serve others together; pray for each other; go to worship services together; seek to learn & follow Godís will for you; exercise faith; sacrifice for one another; mourn together, comfort one another; institute a sacred practice together; leave a legacy of faith together; write a psalm/hymn together; experience a miracle together.


8†† Work Together: work hard on your marriage; work together on projects, housework, home improvement, gardening; support each other in your work; allow work to unite you; share a common cause; repair something together; work toward the future together; work to resolve a difference; work together to make the world better; work together to nurture the next generation; work to make a joint dream come true.


9†† Celebrate Together: celebrate your marriage and family life together; celebrate everything; celebrate birthdays; holidays; celebrate achievements & milestones; celebrate the Sabbath; celebrate seasons; celebrate sacred events; celebrate baptisms & weddings; include extended family in celebrations and traditions; find something new to celebrate this year; celebrate the life of a deceased family member.


10 Create Together: make stuff together; make gifts for each other; write poetry to each other; make a couple/family coat of arms; decorate the home together; create a couple/family motto or songs; make up stories together; read together; learn a new skill, hobby, sport, or art together; explore together; build something lasting together; change the world together; donít just grow old togetherĖgrow together!