There are some things that you need to put into action if you want to have a better marriage. You can have the best ideas and greatest intentions in the world, but you won’t achieve anything unless you start to put them into practice.
You can’t just have a good pair of running shoes and call yourself a runner: you have to lace up those shoes and head out the door. Similarly, you need to turn those wishes for a richer, stronger marriage into practical actions.
- Understand the Mission Of Your Marriage
Always keep at the forefront of your marriage that your mission is much greater than the two of you being happy! It is bigger than you. Your marriage is a holy union that God has called to look different. When your kids, friends, family, co-workers and community see you and your spouse, they will recognize something different about you. You talk differently; you guard your spouse with your words and actions; you treat your spouse like they are the most important person in your world.Also, you and your spouse have come to an agreement about how you are going to live. You know what is allowed and what is not. Before you have a disagreement, you have already determined words and actions that you won’t say or do because it is outside of the mission God has for your marriage.
Honor in marriage can come in so many different forms: making big decisions together, respecting their story and point of view, letting them finish talking before you speak, never ever disrespecting them to your children, waiting for them, never making them feel less than you, and never comparing them or your marriage to other people or marriages. Honor is to be lived out over a lifetime. It is not a drudgery but rather privilege to honor your spouse.
- Regular Communication
Cheryl and I have tried many ways to keep our communication open through the years. Sometimes it depended on the age of our children or our work schedules. We would have monthly meetings to talk through the business of our lives. When our kids got older we would all look at calendars and talk through the coming week. There were those events, however, in which we would stop everything to communicate about. No matter what was on our schedule, we would “stop everything” to talk about it. It is important to create an environment in your marriage that fosters security and openness.
- Gratitude and Contentment
Many times gratitude and contentment go hand in hand. In a culture that is based on convincing us that there’s always something else we need—a new gadget or another vacation, if not a more exciting relationship—it’s not easy to be happy with what you have, but that inner peace needs to be the foundation of our lives. As the saying goes, “The happiest people don’t always have the best of things but make the best of the things they have.”One way to develop contentment is to focus on what you do have, rather than what you don’t. Forget what may irritate you about your spouse. Instead, make a list of the things that you appreciate about them. Start by recalling what first attracted you to them, and go on from there. If they do something nice for you, thank them. When you pray, always thank God for the incredible gift of your spouse.
By now, you may be ready to acknowledge that much of the ho-hum in your marriage may be because of you. But of course, there are ways in which your spouse may be failing too. This is where you get to extend the grace you’d like to experience yourself. As you let go of resentment and blame, you will find your heart softening. Finally, be sure to be the first to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Here are the 4 steps to a appropriate apology:
- Say “I am sorry”
- Say “I am wrong” and then specifically verbalize the offense
- Ask “will you forgive me?” – Then do not speak.
- Change your action! Guard yourself from doing it again.
Which two or three of these could you adopt today to begin to turn your marriage around? Remember there is always hope for better!