Kevin and I are by no means a perfect example of a perfect marriage – but as we’re in our 19th year of marriage and we have counseled dozens of couples along the way, there are a few things that “I do” (we do) that have helped us over the years.
Spend time together – Yes, I know you’re busy. We are too. Thankfully we have some flexibility in our schedule that we can meet for lunch dates from time to time (lunch dates are also cheaper than dinner dates). With work, ministry, kids’ activities etc – sometimes you have to find “pockets of time” together – but DO IT. You NEED it!
Communicate – If I’m not happy about something, I tell Kevin. It may sound something like, “Kevin, that really pissed me off when you ________…” Sorry if you were looking for some uber-spiritual Christianese phrase that I gently say when my peace has been disrupted… but let’s get real here, that is what I say. Granted, I may not (mostly) say it in a LOUD voice, but I don’t dance around my point. After 18 years, we’ve realized there’s no point in expecting the other to read between the lines. Communicate. Clearly and often. (As kindly as possible :)). Other examples are, “Kevin, I feel like you haven’t been affectionate to me in a few days.” or “Honey, we haven’t spent much time together lately – let’s do something.” I’m sure Kevin could add a few things that he communicates to me (honey, feel free to pipe in here).
Praise – Publicly and privately praise your spouse. Do both. Just praising publicly can be glorified BS if not also done privately… but words are so important – so use them to encourage your spouse. Affection falls under this as well. Show affection publicly (within reason people… don’t make someone tell you to “get a room”, he he) and privately. So, so important.
Look out for number ONE – If you’re married, you are “one”, so look out for your spouse. When you notice that he/she is stressed, say something to encourage him/her. If the other is super busy, do something that will lighten the load. Kevin is WAY better at this than I am. Consider his/her feelings. Look out for his/her interests. Know each other’s “love languages” and love on him/her in that way.
Love/Respect – Ephesians 5 challenges husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. (Some versions use submit, but some people flip out when they hear the word submit. So, for today’s purposes, the word respect works just fine.) That doesn’t mean wives aren’t supposed to love their husbands or husbands aren’t suppose to show respect to their wives. We are both to do both… but God knows our needs. Women need to feel loved. Men need to feel respected. Since, He’s pretty much the expert, I say we take His advice :).
Pray – Pray for your spouse. Obvious? Cliche? Maybe… but do it. Here’s another one… Pray for God to help you love your spouse. I shared a couple of years ago about a season(s) that I didn’t love Kevin. Raw, but true. Click on that and read it for the full story, but if you’re “not feeling it” anymore – ask God for it. That is TOTALLY praying within His will and I PROMISE you, He will answer.
Commit – Commit to the commitment. Marriage is not just a piece of paper – it’s a commitment – a covenant – before God and is worth working for. Be intentional to make it work. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN ON ITS OWN.
Confide – Have someone that you can confide in when things are rocky. Enlist some prayer warriors. I guarantee Kevin and I are where we are today because of a) the GRACE of God and b) the prayers from people we have confided in.
What are some of your “secrets” to making Marriage marvelous? Please share 🙂
PS – A resource for marriage that is uh-maaazing is RefineUs… Check it out. Also, if you would like prayer for your marriage, message me privately and it would be our honor to pray for you.