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Improve Your Marriage in 3 Minutes a Day


The average couple can be summed up in one word: Busy

Work, kids, volunteer activities, household chores, soccer practice, dance class and family obligations can leave a family running ragged. In this time of constantly moving and continually planning for the next ‘must do’ item, it’s easy to let the little things go. The acts of kindness and the moments of connection that used to come without thought can suddenly slip away from our days. The sad part of this is that you and your spouse can be left feeling like ships passing in the night. One is running here, the other there and your time together slowly disappears. Now to the good part…there are things you can do today, with only a few minutes of time, that will help to improve your connection and your relationship.

Greet your spouse.
Sounds simple enough but with getting kids off to school in the morning or rushing to make dinner at night, it can be easy to forget. Oxytocin is a hormone that is often referred to as the bonding or feel-good hormone. This is the hormone that is present during sex and even during childbirth. It is also released when we hug our spouse. Research has shown that when we hug for at least 20 seconds this hormone is released and it can help us to feel closer to our spouse. That’s all it takes to lift you and your spouse’s mood: 20 seconds of your time. Throw in a decent kiss for good measure and you can created two positive moments in your day by spending time in the morning saying good-bye and in the evening saying hello.
Amount of time: 1 minute

Reach out during the day with a call, email or text.
We all want to know that we are thought of and that we matter to someone. Taking a moment to send your spouse a quick “thinking of you” message is one way to let them know that despite your busy day, they are on your mind and that they are a priority to you.
Amount of time: 30 seconds

Go to bed at the same time.
Going to be at the same time as your spouse opens the opportunity for additional connection. It offers moments of talking about your day, discussing thoughts and can result in more physical affection. Studies have shown that couples that go to bed at the same time report a stronger sense of connection and higher levels of intimacy. While it may be an adjustment to move your schedules, if you have the ability to change your routine, it costs you nothing in terms of time and offers much in return.
Amount of time: Nothing

Turn off your phone.
When you are together, be together. Splitting your attention between your spouse and Facebook while having a discussion shows two things: first, that you aren’t truly listening, and second, that the conversation isn’t important to you. Even if you don’t really care too much about her latest scrapbook or his fantasy football league, you care about them as a person. Show it by making time for conversation and connection without the interference of technology.
Amount of time: 5 seconds

Say thank you.
Your spouse did something today for you or your family. It could be getting the kids breakfast while you were showering or picking up dinner so you didn’t have to cook. Whatever it is, take the time to sincerely thank them. Showing your appreciation for even the small things helps your spouse to feel loved and it helps you to notice all you truly have to be thankful for.
Amount of time: 30 seconds

Ask them how their day was.
Asking them about their day at the office or at home with the kids shows that you care and that their daily tasks and priorities matter. Making eye contact and taking a minute to ask about them helps to reconnect you after your day apart.
Amount of time: 1 minute

Small changes in your habits and day can help to reignite something that is very powerful in a marriage: intention. Living with intention means that you are choosing your priorities and making time for your spouse without always getting swept away in the craziness that life sometimes brings. It grounds us and offers opportunity for creating deeper connections, intimacy and fosters a friendship in our marriages that is deeply important.


Improve Your Marriage in 3 Minutes a Day

Amy Bellows, PhD

Amy Bellows holds a PhD in Psychology and has had the opportunity to work in various settings including leading adolescent group therapy sessions, working with victims of sexual assault, helping woman inmates adjust to post-prison life, conducting parenting education classes and assisting with drug and alcohol dependency treatment plans. The unique challenges and opportunities that come along with being a part of a step-family is a special interest of hers. Amy is currently working in the corporate environment with a interest in group dynamics and change management. You can find her on her website, or on Twitter @AmyBellowsPhD.

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APA Reference
Bellows, A. (2015). Improve Your Marriage in 3 Minutes a Day. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Nov 2015
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