It’s summer! My husband is taking a few weeks off for some much-needed time away from work. I’m excited that it’s during our kids’ summer vacation so that we can spend quality time together as a family.

We’ve also decided to tackle some home improvement projects we’ve been wanting to do for a while now. We’re ripping out old tile and carpet and installing new tile. Ourselves. We also have painters and countertop installers coming in too. Our house has been turned into a construction site for the next few weeks.

We’re also squeezing in kids’ golf camp, swim practices and meets, church activities and a trip to the Grand Canyon. These weeks are going to fly by! I don’t know how much rest and relaxation my husband is actually going to get. He will probably be ready to go back to work after all is said and done.

The other day we discussed our home renovations and spent some time coming up with a detailed schedule and list of tasks. As we began the conversation, my husband said, “I’ve already decided to go into this with a goal: to extend grace and overcommunicate.”

I loved those words. He and I have learned over the years that grace and communication consistently improve our marriage. Here are some thoughts I have about them both:

Extend Grace

What is grace? An unmerited gift of love from the giver. Grace is a gift that says, “I love you and forgive you even though I want to be angry or pay you back.”

Grace gives us the freedom to be human, to make mistakes and to be loved in the process. Grace is the mercy we need from one another every day, just like we need air to breathe and water to drink. I’m not perfect at this and won’t ever be, but when I extend grace and mercy to my husband, I’m reminded of God’s grace to me and how much I need it.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

So this summer, we’re especially trying to extend each other grace with so much going on in our house and in our schedule.

Overcommunicate

I’ve shared this quote in a previous post about communication and think it bears repeating:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

In marriage, there’s so much to communicate about that we often think we’ve told our spouse something when we actually haven’t. When conflict about that thing comes up, it’s easy to make assumptions, jump to conclusions or get frustrated with our spouse.

So in an effort to improve communication, try overcommunicating. Make it a habit each day to sit down and talk about the day and what’s going on the rest of the week or over the weekend.

Try using a few of these phrases with your spouse:

“I may have already told you this, but in case I haven’t . . . ”

“Just a reminder that we have an appointment Wednesday at 10 AM.”

“We’ve discussed this before, but I want to make sure we’re on the same page about ___________.”

Then use calendars, reminders, alerts on your phones or sticky notes to help you both remember the plan you’ve decided on together.

I hope you try to “extend grace and overcommunicate” with your spouse this summer. Let me know how it goes! I’ll let you know how it works through our busy summer and our home renovation projects.