My wife and I even have known one another for greater than 25 years, and we’ve been married for greater than 11 of those. While we all know one another pretty much, our marriage continues to be a piece in progress. Neither of us are marriage experts. I consider myself more of a wedding student, attempting to see where I’m screwing up and what I want to do on my end to make it work higher.
Just like your growth as a Christian, marriage is a process. If we’re doing it right, we’re continuing to be pruned and shaped into the husband or wife we are supposed to be. Just as a plant becomes fuller when pruned, our marriages–and lives–turn into fuller once we strip those things that take away from our relationship and give attention to the things that add to it.
There are a number of things that come to mind which are “must-haves” for any successful marriage. These are things that a lot of us don’t do well. It’s not because we lack the know-how or time, it’s that we simply lack the give attention to being intentional in our marriages. Despite realizing these traits of a successful marriage, I still find myself falling down in a lot of these areas. Just just like the apostle Paul, in my marriage, “I don’t understand my very own actions. For I don’t do what I need, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15). That being said, step one to improving is identifying pitfalls and potential problem areas.
Any successful relationship is built around communication. Unity, just as Paul writes to the Ephesians, involves “speaking the reality in love” (Ephesians 4:15). If something is bothering you in your marriage, don’t share it along with your best friend without talking to your spouse about it directly. It could also be difficult to debate, but trust in true love. After all, “love is patient and sort; love doesn’t envy or boast; it shouldn’t be smug or rude. It doesn’t insist by itself way; it shouldn’t be irritable or resentful; it doesn’t rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the reality. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Don’t forget the importance of listening. You’ve heard it said that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. If your spouse involves you with an issue, be quick to listen and slow to talk. “If one gives a solution before he hears, it’s his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).
2. Speaking Her Language
There’s one other aspect of communicating that is crucial–speaking your spouse’s love language. Maybe you haven’t read Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” or taken the steps to determine the love languages for yourself or your spouse. (If you haven’t, I’d highly recommend you do. It’s eye-opening.) Regardless, we are able to all agree that we’d like to grasp what makes our spouse tick after which act accordingly. We have to make the additional effort to do things in our marriages that make our spouses feel loved.
I fall into the bad habit of trying to point out like to my wife in the way in which that I’m most comfortable. For instance, I feel loved when someone does something–an act of service-for me or spends quality time with me. As a result, I find myself trying to specific love in the identical way. I attempt to do things for my wife to point out her I like her. That’s fantastic and good, but she doesn’t receive love that way. She feels loved most when she is hugged or if I reach out to carry her hand. Speaking your spouse’s language puts you on the trail to a more in-depth relationship.
According to FamilyLife, which has surveyed hundreds of participants at its Weekend to Remember marriage retreats, lower than 8 percent of couples pray together regularly. Even fewer Christian couples (about 5 percent) pray together every day. And these are Jesus-loving individuals who care enough about their marriages to attend a retreat. What would a survey appear like amongst a wider audience? Sadly, it’s likely the identical or worse. Most of us don’t take the time to hope along with our spouses.
My wife and I recently took FamilyLife’s 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge. The concept is easy. Pray along with your husband or wife–out loud–daily for a month. When we were introduced to it, we had sadly only prayed together a few times in our decade-plus of marriage. At the top of the 30 days, prayer became a standard a part of our marriage. I felt closer to my wife, and she or he felt closer to me. They say it takes 21 days for a habit to form, but only a pair days to undo it. You need to stay on top of it. Just like those gym memberships and New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to let the commitment fade. Since taking the challenge, we haven’t at all times prayed every day, but we’ve prayed together more often. And that’s a small step to growing closer to God and to one another.
In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, she shares that 53 percent of “Very Happy Couples” agree with the statement, “God is at the middle of our marriage” (in comparison with 7 percent of Struggling Couples). She writes, “Highly pleased couples are inclined to put God at the middle of their marriage and give attention to Him, moderately than on their marriage or spouse, for achievement and happiness.” There’s no higher way for God to be at the middle of your marriage than to hitch along with your spouse usually in prayer.
I’ve heard this analogy used before: a wedding is sort of a garden or field of dirt. It’s at all times changing and growing something. Even if left untouched, it’s still going to sprout up weeds. But, if tended and tilled, the soil is prepared for planting and growing beautiful or useful flowers or plants. We have a alternative. Leave our marriage untended or work at it. The results of doing the latter will make all of it worthwhile.
A Prayer for Your Marriage:
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