How good your marriage is, is only controlled by you and your husband. No one else can make your marriage work. You two are the only ones who can and need to put the effort in, to reap the rewards. So that being said, here is what I've learned in my short 7 years of marriage....
pray together and often.
Pick a time when you are together to just get on your knees and pour your hearts out to God. Praying together is a very intimate thing. You get to know someone's heart really quick when you pray together. The best time we've found is right before we go to sleep. No distractions, just us and God.
have regular dates.
This is very easy when you are newlyweds because well frankly you don't have kids in the picture to make this a little more difficult. So take advantage of your "free time" and date each other once a week if money allows. Now once kids come into the picture this is just as, if not MUCH more important. Date night might look a little different but make it happen. I know babysitters are expensive.....seriously when did the rate per hour increase to $10+?! I remember getting paid between $2-$5/hour when I was babysitting! As often as you can afford it, pay that babysitter and get out of the house just the two of you! Your marriage will be much obliged. Your kids will survive without you for a night, I promise. And if you can't stand to leave your kids to spend some time with your first love, than we should talk. Your hubby should always come before your kids. Once they are all grown up and out of the house he's all you have left :) Back to the money part there are ways around spending out the wazoo to get a date night with your hubby. Our budget doesn't have much wiggle room for $10/hour babysitters (every once in a while, yes but not weekly or even monthly!) So I talked to my friend Becky and we swap babysitting each others kids twice a month. They'll bring their kiddos over to our house and then head out for date night and we'll do the same another night that month. Neither of us has family closer than 16 hours away (who would gladly babysit if they were close enough) so it's a perfect set up. Another idea is to have a date night at home! Yep it's possible. We do this quite often. Give the kiddos supper a little early and then to bed a littler earlier than usual and then voila! we have the evening to ourselves. We will either order take out or I'll cook a special meal for the two of us. We'll eat in front of the fireplace or in the summer out on the back porch. The point is to just make it a point to have time just the two of you.
have sex....a lot.
yup I said it. so get after it. no excuses. God made sex for a marriage for a reason (and not JUST to procreate). and you know practice makes perfect :) haha ok I'm done now.
never EVER put your spouse down in public.
you might've just had the biggest fight of your life but that fight is between you and him. Not you, him and your mom, girlfriend, coworker, kids, sister, cashier at target etc. just turn it around, do you want him complaining about you to all his friends coworkers, mom? no. So always build him up in public. Encourage him in public. Respect him and his decisions in public. Once you are married, you are a team. Not just two people living their lives parallel to each other but a man and a woman coming together to share their lives together and work through things together and make decisions as a unit.
Build him up.
Tell him the things about him that you really appreciate. Everyone likes a compliment and so many times we as women are so concerned with our husbands complimenting us that we forget that they really need that too. Words of affirmation is a number one love language for many guys. So what better way to love your husband then in a form that he receives best!
show affection in front of your children.
Ok you may not have children yet but if/when you do this is a good one. When Tyler comes home from work, no matter if I'm the first person to greet him at the door or the last he always "greets" me first before the boys. He gives me a kiss and then gives his attention to the boys. I think it's very important not only for us to keep each other as the first priority as much as we can but also for our kids to see us keeping each other as first in line. Kids may act grossed out seeing mom and dad kiss or give affection but deep down it makes them feel safe and secure. They know that mommy and daddy love each other and they can see it first hand.
don't live parallel lives.
Meaning you live in the same house but are doing completely different things and not including each other in on what you are doing, how you are feeling about it, how your day was, what you are working on at work etc. Most couples aren't like Jim and Pam and work side by side all day long. Most are doing completely different jobs throughout the entire day and then together in the evenings. Tell each other about your job and listen intently. Try to understand. At Tyler's first job I had no idea what he ever did and most of it was mathematical lingo that I didn't understand but I really tried to understand. I asked a lot of questions and was interested in his day. That's all we want is for our spouse to take interest in how we spent our day. So talk to each other about your days. Tell MORE than just the bare minimum of your day. Your lives need to be constantly crisscrossing and interacting.
Check out this website, she has lots of great ideas!
100 ways to make your marriage rock
So that's my two cents :)
Have a Happy Valentine's Day with the one(s) you LOVE!