Do you want a ‘good’ marriage or a ‘GREAT’ one? I want a great one and I believe there is power in these 7 words below. They all seem simple enough at first glance, but to really put them into practice, daily, will take some work. Blessings!
We spend billions each year on our appearance. Gym memberships, dieting programs that may or may not work, new clothes and more. Don't get me wrong, we should care how we look.
What do our marriages look like?
Instead of our bodies and physical appearance being top priorities, what if we put that focus on our marriages instead?
The hardest part of parenting, that no one seems to want to warn you about, is the strain children have on your marriage. And, as the years go by, the children naturally become our focus, making it easy to lose sight of each other.
But, this trend can be reversed if you give your marriage a "check-up." I believe there are seven words that, if applied to our marriages, have the power to make this year the best year we have ever experienced as a couple.
1) Initiate: Remember the courtship? Make an effort to woo your spouse all over again. So many marriages fall apart because people just stop trying. Pay compliments and let your spouse know how much you appreciate them.
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." Proverbs 3:27
2) Prioritize: What is your top priority? It's where you devote the majority of your time or energy. Turn off the television and put down your iPhone. Your email and updating your Facebook status can wait.
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
3) Communicate: In a successful marriage, you have to fight the urge to sweep things under the rug. Don't allow things to fester. Instead, keep an open line of communication. When we have "sounding boards" who aren't our spouses, sure, we might feel a little better, but we are doing nothing to actually resolve situations or improve our relationship.
"From a wise mind comes careful and persuasive speech.” Proverbs 16:23
4) Listen: The most important part of communicating doesn't involve speaking; it's listening. Your spouse wants to be heard. How can you know what he or she is feeling if you don't take the time to listen. All too often, many of us are too quick to interject before the person is even finished speaking.
"...let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19
5) Forgive: Don't hold onto things. You only harm yourself. When your spouse does something, refer to #3 and #4. Then, let it go. Forgive them and move on. Do you want to be ‘right’ or happy?
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts ... and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13
6) Love: Without love, there is no marriage. And, that's why we must keep the spark alive. This year, set aside more time to date your spouse. And, when you are out, try your best to make sure the kids or grandkids aren't the primary topic of conversation.
"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:14
7) Pray: It has been said that a successful marriage consists of three people: husband, wife and God. Involve Him more, even in the so-called "little things." Pray for each other AND together.
"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!" 1 Chronicles 16:11
I know a list like this is easier said than done. Especially if there are areas that need some help. But I want to encourage you to just give it a try! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain (a stronger, closer marriage and relationship with God as a couple)!
For another insightful story on how to have a strong relationship, click here! You’re gonna like it!