Marriage is a road full of really hard choices, ridiculous selflessness, and constant service. But it is a journey full of blessing, healing and hope. Marriage is no walk in the park. It is a road full of really hard choices, ridiculous selflessness, and constant service. But it is a journey full of blessing, healing and hope. It is a hazy glimpse of God’s incredible love found in the eyes of another human being.
There are five things to keep the marriage strong:
Maintain Your Friendship
It’s easier to be friends than lovers. And those who start as friends make the best lovers. Friendship provides deep roots from which a healthy marriage can grow strong.
Each component to your friendship is like a string—and each one ties the two of you together and holds you close. Along with attraction, you share similar interests, hobbies, passions and beliefs that keep you connected.
But you also will have many differences, and you must work to maintain the friendship aspect in your marriage by seeing those differences as opportunities to learn, experience, and get to know one another even more.
My husband and I love spending time together and experiencing things with one another. We consider the other as our best friend. We don’t let our marriage cover over our friendship—it only accentuates it.
Remember to Laugh
When I met my husband, I thought he was the funniest man alive. Now I know better, but the truth of the matter is he keeps me laughing and makes me smile. We have so much fun together, and some of our most intimate memories involve us laughing until there are tears streaming down our faces.
There is a time and place in marriage for tears of frustration, anger and sadness, but there should also be a time for tears of joy. Make that a priority in your marriage.
Confess to Each Other
As hard as it is, my husband and I are getting really good at saying sorry. But we’ve evolved. We don’t just say sorry anymore, because the word “sorry” doesn’t always hold much meaning. We have learned to confess to one another, to take ownership and responsibility of our sins, flaws and weaknesses, and to apologize specifically for how we have hurt each other.
As humbling as this can be, confession can bring an intimacy that is far greater than any prideful “rightness” could ever bring. Learn to confess to one another, and then to forgive one another.
Regularly Express Affection
Affection is usually the norm for at least the first few years of marriage. But a few years (and maybe a few children) later, the “honeymoon” stage wears off and affection can fall by the wayside.
When affection is no longer the “norm,” it’s something you must MAKE a priority. Even when you’re tired and overwhelmed, expressing affection is an action and reaction to one another that involves being deliberate and choosing to make time for intimacy, romance and quality time. It’s a part of marriage that you and your spouse have to learn to integrate into your day to day, rather than just saving it for special date nights.
My husband and I give affection through our words, loving glances across the couch while reading books with the kids, holding hands in public or even across our dining room table. We’ve learned to show affection through our words, our actions and our attitudes with one another. And let me encourage you in saying that a little love goes a long, long way.
Stop to Intentionally Connect
With so many opportunities to “connect” throughout the day via Facebook, emails, text messages and interactions with others, sometimes our need for real-life connections is depleted by the time we get face-to-face with our spouse at the end of the day.