Longevity in marriage is not necessarily a sign of a happy and thriving couple. We’ve all known couples who’ve managed to stay together for 20 or 30 years and it appears that all signs of life have been taken out of the relationship. Then there are the couples that are full of life and when you see them, you just know that they are not just co-existing, but they both are enjoying being together. What’s their secret, you might ask? They’ve learned how to make marriage thrive and not just survive.
Seven tips to help your marriage thrive!
Thriving Marriage Tip: #1– Know your Spouses Needs
Ask your spouse the following question: How can I better meet your needs this year?
Never stop asking your spouse this important question. All of us change in one way or another whether we want to admit it or not. Needs and desires will change over time. When couples assume they know what is best or what is wanted by their spouse, they miss a great opportunity to keep the marriage fresh, innovative, and growing.
When you ask your spouse the question, “How can I better meet your needs?” be prepared to really listen with a humble, servant attitude. Don’t ever fall into the rut of thinking, “what I am doing now is good enough.”
Thriving Marriage Tip: #2– Makeyour Marriage a Priority
Let’s face it; life can be challenging. From early morning feedings, dropping the kids off at school, rush hour traffic, and demanding work environments, to home again for the regular routine of dinner, homework, and giving the kids a bath it’s easy to see how and why marriages are suffering. At the end of the day, most couples are too exhausted for meaningful conversation and time for each other. That’s why intentionally making your marriage a priority is key to a thriving marriage. Priority items get high attention and consideration over less important tasks and activities. We plan for success when things are a priority and when all else fails, we ensure that the priority item is handled with care.
Thriving Marriage Tip: #3– Express Your Needs
Too often couples wait until things are at a boiling point to talk about annoying habits, unmet needs, and offensives. Rarely are issues resolved when couples are angry and yelling at each other. Make it a point to regularly communicate your needs and concerns to your spouse from a heart of love. Don’t assume that your spouse knows how you feel or think about a particular situation. He/she is not a mind reader. The Bible says that we can say any thing to each other in love. This means that when the heart is a heart of love and not intentionally trying to hurt the other, the words spoken will be received.
Thriving Marriage Tip: #4– Validate your Spouse
Make giving and receiving affirmations apart of your expressed love. When was the last time you looked your spouse in the eyes and told her/ him something positive that you admire or appreciate? Too often, couples are quick to say what is wrong or what they want to change. But, what about speaking loud and clear about the things that are going well? Life and death are in the power of the tongue, says the Bible. With every spoken word to your spouse you are choosing to speak life or death. The Bible admonishes us to speak life, and affirmations are one way to do that by validating your spouse and speaking positively into her/his life. Try this today: Tell your spouse one true, positive thing about her/him that you appreciate. Remember to look him/her in the eyes when delivering this praise.
Thriving Marriage Tip: # 5 – Dream Together
One vital component of a thriving marriage is the ability to work on shared goals. Research has shown that couples who work together on shared dreams experience greater vitality and joy in their relationships. How can two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? When couples agree upon the direction and focus of their marriages, they will achieve great success.
Thriving Marriage Tip: # 6 –Embrace Change within
Having a thriving marriage starts with you. What are you willing to change about yourself in order to have a thriving marriage? I often tell women if they want an ideal husband, start by being the ideal wife. The same goes for men as well. Often times when I’ve prayed for change in my husband, God began by making changes within me first. I encourage you to become the change agent that springs forth a dynamic marriage that is uniquely yours! It’s too easy to think of all the things that are wrong, needing to be fixed, or corrected with a spouse, but very difficult to see what elements in one’s own character, heart, and behavior that needs some adjustments. To start the process of embracing change within, spend some quite time with yourself and listen to the quite, still, inner voice inside you.
Thriving Marriage Tip: # 7 – Enjoy each other physically
At times, it appears that the only people having sex are the unmarried couples. Why is that such a reality when the Bible says sex was created for marriage? God designed sex to be the ultimate expression of romantic love and unity between a husband and wife. When sex is withheld out of anger, punishment, fear, or neglect, the marriage suffers.