Johnnie and I have been married for 32 years and I feel I can give good advice for those of you that are reading this post. Marriage is hard work! You have to want to be married and you must want to work on your marriage. In today’s society it is so easy just to call it quits when the going gets tough, but hanging in there and facing the giants in your marriage is truly rewarding when you look back and see where you started from and you see what you have come through together.
We have had times that we didn’t know if we could make it through one more storm in our lives together we were tired of fighting at times. That is when the other partner steps in and fights for you when you can’t fight any more. Johnnie has had days he just needed someone to hold on to when the going got tough for him. We were there for each other, sometimes just hugging each other tight and not even saying a word gives you the strength to carry on.
Here are 5 things we try to do to keep our marriage strong and ready to stand against the trials of life.
1. Never stop dating your spouse.
Have times set apart just for you to spend time together. Don’t use that time as a time to talk about the troubles, use the time to get re-acquainted with each. Set up regular date nights. Have at least one date night a month set aside just for the two of you. During the rest of the month try to have times you put the kids to bed early so you can have a couple of hours together. Make sure you keep your focus on you and your spouse, not work or family life. Talk about things you can do together. Take about your sex life and what new things you would like to try, and spend some time trying them. Leave the TV off this is a big distraction that will waste a lot of time you could have used together. Talk about ways you can improve your sex life, be sure to plan some extra time to try out all of the things you talk about.
2. Communicate with your spouse.
This is a big one! Men tend to shut down when us women say we want to talk. I don’t know why that is but that is what happens most of the time. Communication is a key to a healthy marriage. Take time to take a walk, go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee or sit and talk to your spouse. Start out the conversation with something that your spouse would like to talk about. Don’t hit the heavy stuff first or they will for sure shut down on you. Talk about things you both want to do or not do in the future. If you have a problem at hand tackle it together. both of you need to share your view points and you both need to listen to each other and then make a plan of action, and work on it together to see it through. Make sure when you make a plan that you stay true to the plan.
3. Compliment and encourage your spouse.
Everyone loves to be complemented when they are doing things right, and encouraged when they are on the right track. Your spouse is no different. Make it a habit to complement your spouse when he/she looks beautiful or handsome. Our husbands can’t read our minds even though we think they can, make sure that you tell him how much he means to you especially when he comes home from a hard day of work and just pitches in and helps with what ever you are doing at the moment. Don’t let the small things go unnoticed make sure that you say how much it meant to you that he helped you finish your task. Do the same thing for him, when he has had a long day and has things that need to be done try to help him so he can get things done and have more time with you and the kids.
4. Always learn something new about your spouse.
We all change, no one stays the same. Our likes change our favorite things change. Life is about growing up and changes, there are life stages where we will focus one thing and other stages where we focus on totally different things. When we are young we are learning who we are, as we grow we find out who we are and who our spouse is. As we grow older we have confidence in who we are and who our spouse is. Make sure you are open with your spouse and share your likes and dislikes. Don’t hold things back, it only leads to resentment. Share things with your spouse, if you want to try something new, share that with your spouse, and try it you both might just end up having a new thing you both enjoy together.
5. Pray for your spouse.
This is the single most important thing you can do for your spouse. Set a time aside everyday to pray for your spouse. Pray for their safety while they are away from you, pray for them to have a great day. Pray that the Lord guide them in every decision they make during the day. Pray the Lord protect them while they are at work, if they drive a lot pray the Lord protect them while they are driving. Pray that their day be prosperous, pray that the company they work for would find favor with them and that they would be promoted. There is so much you can pray over your spouse. Pray for them mentally, physically, and spiritually. Make sure that you always pray that they draw closer to God. God will order the steps of a righteous man or woman. Praying for you spouse is the best thing you can do for your marriage and your family.