Proven Steps for Improving Your Marriage

Proven Steps for Improving Your Marriage

Is your marriage as happy as it could be? Do you fear your marriage is heading for divorce? Is your husband distant? Does he seem cold and uncaring? Does it feel like your marriage lost its spark?  Read on for some possible insight as to what might be going wrong as well as some proven steps for improving a marriage.

Are you living a typical, modern American marriage where everything is split 50/50? The bills? The chores? Childcare? Do you have separate checking accounts? Do you have and plan separate retirement accounts, if you have one at all?

On a typical night, is it unknown who will prepare dinner? Are you thinking right now that it won’t matter because it’ll probably be take out?

If we are in agreement so far, it’s likely that the kids don’t care who is home because they are on their electronic devices, and it doesn’t matter anyway because they don’t seem to respect mom or dad. Mom and dad are both exhausted and they fight a lot. The house is a mess. The laundry is piling up. The lawn needs to be mowed and there’s no time to do it. Grandma is wasting away in a nursing home and you only get out there once a week, if you’re lucky. Life is a mess.

Is that you? Or something similar?

If so, I’ll bet there is an underlying sense of distrust. Disgust. Anger. Jealousy. And Suspicion. Living separate but equal lives –which is what you’ve been doing until now– breeds those kinds of attitudes. Why? Because you have only “become one” on paper. You’ve left a wall of distrust between the two of you in every other area. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

For thousands of years there was a system for marriages that worked, and it worked because men have certain tendencies and needs and women typically have some very different tendencies and needs than men, and it just so happens that the two –when honored–fit together like a lock and key. The new modern system of living doesn’t honor any of our natural tendencies or needs. That’s why you are miserable. That’s why your husband is unhappy. If your marriage is suffering, you might benefit greatly by giving the old system a try.  Improving your marriage is not difficult once you begin with a few simple steps.

Improving Your Marriage

The system works beautifully.  Improvement is not difficult.

Think of how many elderly couples have beautiful marriages that have lasted a lifetime. How did they do that? Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share the answer to that question and more with you. If you want to improve your marriage, you can. It’s not too late. But it will require that you clear your mind and open your heart to the possibility. Are you ready? Here we go. Step one.

Now I know that your opinion of your husband might not be terribly high right now. Hard feelings will deflate anyone’s passion and understanding for another, but I’m going to talk about the single most important step in repairing your marriage right now.

That step is to accept your husband for the man that he is. <GASP!> Yes. I know. How can I say that? And how can you do it? He’s a mess. He doesn’t put out as much effort to your home or to your marriage that you do. He spends money on stupid things. He doesn’t spend as much time with the kids as you’d like. Or any one of thousands of other complaints. Yes. I know.

But the first step to fixing all of the things that ail your marriage is accepting him and his ways of doing things. It means accepting his hopes and dreams. Accept his weaknesses and faults. Accept that he insists on wearing gym socks with sandals or the way he eats one row at at time off of the corn on the cob. Accept his quirks. You do not need to agree with everything he thinks and does. You just need to accept and respect his right to think and do them.

“There are many ways to be committed, but the “I’m willing to sacrifice for us” way is the one that’s going to give your marriage a better chance at succeeding, the researchers say.”

— Vicki Larson

I’m also not asking you to ignore his weaknesses or tolerate them.

Acknowledge that he is human. Acknowledge that he has faults, but then turn away from them. Find his positive traits and focus on those instead. You will find that with some practice your own attitude will turn to one of happy acceptance. You will no longer feel the need to change him. Instead you can focus on building a life together with him.  Your marriage will already be turning for the better.

Photo credit: superstock Getty Images

More than likely if you haven’t completely accepted him in the past, you’ve tried to change him. And it’s likely that you are reading this and thinking to yourself that you don’t try to change him. I used to think the same so I’m going to respectfully argue that you do, but perhaps in ways that you are not even aware you are doing it.

Maybe you see yourself in this list of ways that women try to change men:

  • Attempting to change his eating habits and/or table manners
  • Nagging him about his driving–speed, directions, or choice of vehicle.
  • Complaining about his cleaning habits or lack thereof.
  • Advising him regarding swearing, drinking, smoking, belching, or talking too loudly in public.
  • Telling him where and how he should spend his money.
  • Nagging about his playing video games or watching t.v.
  • Nagging about his neglecting household duties or repairs, yard work, and household bills.
  • Complaining to him about his lack of social graces or courtesies.
  • Pushing him to spend more time with the kids.
  • Complaining that he doesn’t attend church or spends too much time on church activities.
  • Leading him to be more manly or to be more strict with the children.
  • Pushing him to have more ambition or maybe even less lofty dreams.

Do you see yourself in these?

I’ll bet you do, but you have good reasons for doing those things, right? Yes. Women try to change men for lots of reasons. But whether it be to improve life for yourself or your children or for his own good, you still need to stop doing it. Why? Because it is causing problems in your marriage and nothing else is going to get better until you stop doing this first.

When you nag and push and complain and try to change him, you are destroying the love between you. You are creating tension and resentment. You are hurting his ego–a huge no no, and one that we will discuss at length tomorrow. When that happens, the love between you can actually be completely destroyed. Trust me. He is aware of his weaknesses but he expects you to look at his good points just as you expect him to look at yours. How would you feel if he suddenly decided to compare you to other women?

Improving Your Marriage

Trying to change him doesn’t work. He will simply dig in and rebel. You will only find yourself in a worse position than when you began. You will find yourself in a place where he can’t bear the sight of you. He will start staying out later and later. Your marriage will crumble.

So how can you help him to improve himself? You can’t. You have to be ready to accept that he is going to stay exactly how he is today. But here’s the thing. He can change himself, and when a man feels that a woman completely accepts him as he is, he is often inspired to become even more. When he believes that you are proud of the man he is, he will want to become a better man.

So where and how do you begin the process of making improvements?

Start by giving him his freedom. Let him do everything exactly as he wants to do it. Don’t coach him on how to dress, what to pack for a trip, what to eat, where to go, how to do anything. Don’t counsel him on religion or politics. Don’t lecture him on health. Let him solve problems for himself. Let him learn as he goes. Let him know his choices and allow him to use his own free will to make those choices. Let his spirit be free.

It’s the only way he can develop as a human being. Why is it that we as women have such difficulty with this? Why do we struggle with allowing men to be the kind of men they want to be without interference? Why do we try to control them?

Tweet: “One of the hardest lessons I had to accept was surrounding my own self-righteousness.  But it was true.  When I pointed out my husband’s faults, I was putting myself in a position to judge.  But did I have that right?  Was I better than he was in any way? . . . No.  I just didn’t believe I shared that particular fault, so I felt qualified to judge him.”   –Holly Connors

One of the hardest lessons I had to accept was surrounding my own self-righteousness. But it was true. When I pointed out my husband’s faults, I was putting myself in a position to judge. But did I have that right? Was I better than he was in any way? Am I a better person? No. I just didn’t believe I shared that particular fault, so i felt qualified to judge him. But I certainly had my faults.

I may be better with cooking than he is, but he’s better with budgeting than I am. I might be better with deciphering legal contracts, but he is a better negotiator than I. He stays naturally lean and fit while I struggle with my weight. And the thing is that he has never once tried to point out his superiority over me with any of those things. Never. He accepts me just as I am. Yes. My greatest lesson was learning that it was I who needed changing. Not him.

I needed to stop demanding, giving ultimatums, criticizing, nagging, pushing, pulling, pressuring, suggesting, hinting, or comparing him to others. I needed to accept him. I needed to look beyond the faults and see the positives. When he was not paying as much attention to the children as I thought he should, and I looked past that, I saw a man who was working 60 hours a week then coming home and trying to fit in household repairs and other domestic chores. That was admirable. To then nag him for not spending time with his daughters was ludicrous. He was already stretched beyond his means as it was. He was doing the best he could.

Likewise when I was tempted to scold him for being difficult at work, I had to look past my worry about him possibly losing his job as a result of his defiance. I had to look into his world where i was shocked to discover that he walked into a literal battle ground every day. In his world there is a constant battle of one man over the other to try to stay on top or risk their jobs and everything else in their lives. He had to fight at work just to maintain his position so that he could care for us–so that he could keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. That was also incredibly admirable (and humbling.) My husband was not careless or inept. He was a warrior. And I’d failed to see it.

And when I did and he saw that I respected him and trusted him to do things on his own, his attitude began to shift to one of a more confident and happy man. From that point on, everything began to improve.

In fact it’s true for most marriage that women marry then try hard to change their husbands, but men marry hoping that the woman never changes. Unfortunately it is the exactly opposite that happens in both cases.

So here’s your assignment for tonight.

Step One: Accept your spouse in every way.

Step two: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Gather your courage. Punch down your ego. Sit him down and tell him that you’ve messed up. Tell him that you are sorry. You’ve judged him in the past. You’ve not been supportive of him. You had not understood him. Tell him that you are very happy with the kind of man he is and that you are happy he didn’t let you push him around. You are glad he’s held to his convictions. And then ask him to forgive you and let you prove to him that you are ready to accept him exactly as he is.

Step three: Make it a point every day to see his better side. What are the qualities that he has that you can admire. Find them. Focus on only them. If something comes up that makes you cringe, turn away from it. Do not criticize. Focus on the positive.

This is the beginning of a major change for your marriage. The moment you begin to focus on his better side, you will see an evolution beginning to occur. You will see hope.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the next key.

Feel free to comment below with his reaction to Step 2. Some will be shocked and relieved that the years of his agonizing self-doubt are over. Some will be pleased. Some will react with sarcasm because your relationship has been so rocky for so long that they won’t trust what you’re saying. No matter how he reacts, just listen. Don’t criticize. Don’t argue. Just listen. Agree. If he says he doesn’t believe you, agree. Tell him you can see why he might think that because you’ve never respected him in the past but you’re ready to change and you want his permission to try.

Tell him you’re reading about how to change, and you’re going to give it everything you have.

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Click here to continue to the next post in this series.

PS. Please note that problems with alcoholism, drug addiction, and abuse are specifically excluded from any of the above. Those issues should never be blindly accepted and all require professional assistance for all parties involved. Please do not hesitate to seek assistance in any matter that jeopardizes the safety of you or your children.

PPS:  Note that any affiliate  links that may appear in this post are monetized.














  1. I am very very very blessed to have found your website. I’ve been reading your posts for the last two days and they have been complete eye openers!!I but this post in particular really hit home. You see I recently married the love of my life 4months ago yet we have known each other for over 10yrs! I know everything about him and vice versa. We are extremely happy with each other but for some reason I seem to be picking at him more and more lately and I didn’t understand where it was coming from. I seem to nag at him for the smallest things when I know deep down inside are silly and nonsensical and i tell myself stop! relax..but yell anyway because my pride takes over.
    (I think maybe it has to do with watching my mom be in charge of everything in our household when I was younger. Maybe i always see myself as the head of our marriage, instead of US.)
    Anyways lol so for example, despite that he comes home from work exhausted, I always feel the need to complain about how he over drafted on his card again, and that why cant he be more responsible and i go on and on…he gently caresses my face and tells me he doesn’t want to go over it right now but tomorrow morning we will. And he keeps his word and we resolve the dilemma the next day. So by nature he’s always been caring and understanding. I’m the one that has the need to argue with him because i feel if i don’t make a big deal about a problem it doesn’t get solved or he wont take me seriously when every single time he tells to just ask him nicely. Now obviously i don’t hit or insult him, but i do have the habit of bringing up his past mistakes with his finances or whatever. Lately he has told me to just handle all our finances because I seem to know best (and i do) but that’s not what I wanted. I just want him to understand my fears of him making a big mistake that may cost us more later on. I just want him to realize his mistakes and simply not do them again and work TOGETHER not one person handling it all. Anyways, I’ve come to see that I am in the wrong. I need to see the 1,000,000 other amazing qualities that he has compared to this one flaw. I should celebrate them and remind him everyday how blessed I am to have him in my life. I need to learn for him to do it on his own and the rest I’m sure God will lead us in the right path. Thank you so much for this!!! 🙂

  2. i’m so glad i found your blog. these posts on marriage and being a housewife have really helped reaffirm why i do this in the first place. THANK YOU!!! look foward to many more!

  3. Hi Holly, I am from Holland and this back to the 50s housewife attitude is not very common over here (at least not among the people in their 20-30-40’s). But to me it really made sense and I would like to thank you for that! Where did you find this advice? Because I would love to read more about it. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello! Thanks for writing in. Let’s see. I’ve been a fan of different people who’ve lived this way for a long time. My mom says I was an old lady since birth! As I mentioned in some of my early blog posts, the books Fascinating Womanhood, The Surrendered Wife, and a few others have played heavily into my thought processes. I highly recommend Fascinating Womanhood, which is actually a re-write of a 1920’s article by an unknown author. That article was called The Fascinating Woman.

  4. This has been a complete eye opener. I didn’t realize that I was trying to change my husband until I read this. We’ve been married for 5 years and idk, we’ve just become more and more distant over time. I thought he needed to change. I’m beginning to see that I am in much more need of changing than he is. I am excited to give this a try! Thank you!

  5. My father dropped dead of a heart attack when he was 54 because of his lousy eating habits and never going to the doctor to have his blood pressure and cholesterol checked. He wasn’t even considered “overweight” by today’s standards. He was 5’10” and around 185 lbs. He ate tons of white bread with artery clogging margarine spread on it daily. My mother should have “nagged” him to eat better and get an annual checkup (he had health insurance through his job), He died in August 1982. My mother was the typical 1950’s housewife, she stayed home, cooked dinner every night, bought my dad his beer and Tiperillo cigars, etc., etc. He died young and left her with inadequate life insurance, a 14 year old son who promptly went into a severe depression while she had to go and get a job in order to obtain health benefits for herself and my brother. Thankfully I was in my early 20s when he passed away. My mother was in a state of shock when dad died. Luckily she got a job working in a school cafeteria in NYC and got good health benefits along with that job….she also got remarried, unfortunately husband number 2 was a full blown alcoholic. My mother has not had it easy. She is almost 80 years old now. Women need to tell their husbands to take good care of their bodies imo, I make sure to tell my husband often to eat right and lay off the junk food. After watching my father kill himself I would not want to see my husband have a heart attack, his own father had 2 major heart attacks in his early 50s. My father in law had to completely change his diet after his heart attacks at age 52 but his health was never the same afterwards. He had a lot of damage to his heart muscle.
    P.S. other than his food choices I don’t nag at my husband to do chores around the house, he has OCD and does chores on his own, I tell him to take a break on the weekends but he doesn’t listen!

  6. I feel so utterly confused and lost. My husband works 30-40 hrs a week, I work 30- 40 hrs as well. When he comes home he plays video games for hours and then goes to bed, I am expected to clean his gaming room and the rest of the house and do the yard work etc. Are you trying to tell me that I should just accept this? And that by turning a blind eye to it it will go away or get better? Seriously?

    The crazy part is I wouldn’t mind doing the chores if I hadn’t just worked a 7-10 hr shift. But he is completely against me working less. He wants me to work more, do all the chores and still be up for sex whenever he is in the mood. And im just suppose to accept this?

    No, the answer can’t and is not that simple. So here’s my compromise (based on your suggestions) I will not nag him to help me around the house, but I will cut my hours at work. I won’t nag him about ignoring me and playing games every spare minute he gets, instead I will ignore this behaviour and spend more time doing things I enjoy.

    A marriage is suppose to be a partnership and while husband and wife may have different roles both parties need to equally contribute. We both need to change things and we both need to work on giving the other what they need. And I do look forward to reading your next post, just because it doesn’t perfectly fit my situation doesn’t mean there isn’t good suggestions there.

  7. I need help with this one! “Attempting to change his eating habits and/or table manners”
    My husband smacks his mouth – loudly – when he eats. It makes me want to jump out of my skin. Typically, if I’m sitting across the table from him, I can’t hear it and I don’t mind. When we are watching movies together, eating popcorn, etc., wow… I can’t STAND IT. PLEASE HELP ME!! I’m not trying to change him, only me and my reaction to it.

    • Oh. I c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y understand. That is my biggest pet peeve in the world. I’m not sure I’m the one to ask, however… my husband would tell you that I have now passed on that pet peeve to everyone in my family. I have been known to leave events we paid to be at just because someone was chewing gum loudly near me. I don’t think I could have even gotten to the married stage. So at least you already beat me there!

      Seriously though. My stomach is in a lurch for you. That’s how much I understand this problem. And I have no advice except to talk calmly and rationally with him and explain that it’s a huge problem for you. Ask him what you do that is a huge problem for him and agree to work together to each eliminate the issues.

  8. I can’t complain about my husband (not that bad :)) but thnaks for the advices! I am really blessed, God gave me an amazing man, he loves and respects me, helps me around the house. But…what do I do about his PRIDE? His huge sometimes annoiyng pride 🙁 Thanks!

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