5 Sneaky Ways You’re Being a Bad Spouse Without Realizing It

Nobody’s perfect, but when it comes to your relationship, there are a handful of categories in which—brace yourself—there is room to improve. Here, five tiny tweaks you can make right now to reap serious marital rewards.

9 Tiny Things That Will Make Your Relationship So Much Better

two women toasting with white wine

You’re Not Making Your Own Plans Often Enough

It’s one of the best parts of being a couple: You always have built-in plans. But that doesn’t mean you should let every other social aspect of your life fall by the wayside. Going out solo is healthy and the easiest way to give each other space and nurture your own interests, too.

couple fighting in museum

You’re Expecting Him To Read Your Mind

It’s a tough relationship reality check, but as much as you want your spouse to know what you’re thinking at every moment, he doesn’t unless you’re direct. Try it once (say, “hey, I actually do need your help making dinner tonight”) and it’s like a communication block has been lifted. What’s that? Oh, right: The sound of burgers sizzling.

couple relaxing in bed one person on cellphone

You Always Prioritize Your Phone

We get it, Instagram (or email or the group text message chain with your BFFs) is addictive. But only in rare cases should it take priority over the conversation you’re having with your spouse IRL. Put it on silent—or away if you still feel distracted by the hypnotic blue glow. All those photos and messages will still be there when you have some downtime.

man and woman talking over coffee1

You Don’t Recognize When It’s Time To Listen Vs. Time To Give Advice

It can be tricky to know when someone needs a listening ear versus a suggestion of next steps—and for some reason a lot of women tend to be a sounding board for friends and an advice-dispenser for husbands. But if your spouse has a bad day, resist the urge to problem-solve, and instead bust out your best-ever listening skills as he vents. He’ll let you know when he’s ready for a plan of action—but for now he really just wants to complain and know you have his back.

couple giving kiss goodbye

You Never Say “hi” Or “goodbye”

Your day is so busy—there’s kids and homework and work email and as soon as your feet hit the ground, it feels like you’re off and running. But something as simple as saying “hi” and “goodbye” (or “please” and “thank you”) is like a thoughtful acknowledgment of each other’s presence. And FYI, it counts for a lot.

Rachel Bowie Headshot

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...