Through my time of ministry and my years of being married, I have noticed things that reoccur over and over, with those who I speak to and within my own marriage. I have come up with a few ways that when you feel your marriage is in need of something, that you can follow through to help.
The number one thing I found to help is to take time! As one may say, stop to smell the roses. No matter what your life holds, you need to stop whatever it is that is taking you away from your spouse and spend some time with them. Because we live in a society that is always running or on the go, busy with this or that, we tend to lose track of why we are married and why we even decided to marry in the first place. Between work, children, errands, conferences, meetings, and just every day whirlwind of responsibility, we lose that focus. A lot of divorces are caused just for this reason, we have lost the focus on the one we love whom we wanted to spend the rest of our life with. So, send the kids to grandma’s or a babysitter for the weekend, cancel all your meetings for a couple of days, and pay attention to the one you fell in love with, see if you can rediscover that love. Show your loved one that you respect him/her, act like you are on a first date, play, laugh, cry if need be, but just fall in love all over again.
Communication is another area that lacks in marriages today. Everything you do is a shared venture which involves much communication. Realizing that this goes with taking the time to communicate. With all the hustle and bustle of the way we live we do tend to forget sometimes, important matters that need to be communicated to our spouse. I have found that writing it down to mention to him later, works very well. When texting came along, this made it even easier to communicate with my spouse when I need something or if something is pressing and important. I along with many are not perfect in this area, but we should try to let our spouse know all that is happening, so they are never caught by surprise.
Along with communication is to make sure you let each other know your goals. Not only within your relationship but all goals with work, finance, children, education, religion, and the list goes on. If your goals don’t always mesh, talk about it. I know when I talk to my husband about our goals, we sometimes have to meet in the middle, in order, not to get upset or angry with one another.
This comes to another connector, listening. When something is important enough for your spouse to mention to you, stop what you are doing and talk about it, don’t ignore, that’s disrespectful. If you can’t show respect than it is hard for you to show love within your marriage. This is another key factor to holding things together and creating a strong household around you. If your not sure, as we sometimes aren’t, what your spouse is trying to say, ask for clarification, making sure that you understand so there’s no room for assumption or argument. It doesn’t matter how stupid it may seem, it is important to the one you love, that should be all that matters. There is no one that should know you better than your spouse, outside of God. If you don’t know your spouse more than anyone else in your life you should definitely take some time to get to know them, whether through counseling or a vacation.
You need to be best friends within your marriage for it to work. This is definitely self explanatory. Granted that there should be an understanding that it isn’t the same when you need to hang out with your friends. You just need that specialness with your spouse to make sure they know that they come first in your life. Your kids should be just as important, but remember they do grow up and move on as we all have, and will eventually strive to have the marriage life that their parents had. If we show our children what is important, then it’s easier for them later to follow in those foot steps, or even, improve on them. By you being best friends in your marriage, it helps with setting your life goals, keeping things interesting, and knowing that whatever you go through he/she is there for you, standing beside you.
The main commitment that you make when you marry is to except the person for who they are. This means to love them unconditionally, which means to love someone no matter what their faults, with no stipulations for change later on. By putting stipulations or expectations in your marriage, it makes for a horrible relationship, that potentially ends in divorce with lots of hurt. Many divorces come about because one or the other has held high expectations from the other, by wanting them to change who they are. When you get married, you know who that person is, at least most of the time, so remember you made the commitment with this person because you love beyond their faults. Instead of trying to change your spouse, embrace the good, ignore the flaws, and fall deeper in love with the person who they are. Love them with no stipulations. Become one with your mate, as God intended us to do. You make that commitment before each other and God, therefore, it should be an unconditional bond of love. Forgive, try to forget, and love the person you married, no matter what you go through, be there.
Lastly, I have a famous saying without going into too much depth of things, “Make room for the bedroom!” This is a sacred haven in your marriage. Not only a place to sleep, but it should be used for time away from the kids, and a time to bond together as one. The only time that the “marriage closet” should be talked or discussed is with each other, God or in counseling, when necessary. No one, including friends, should know how, when, where, or what you do within this sacred time. God made sex to be a sacred bond and this bond should not be broken by stepping outside of your marriage. This means keeping a 3rd party out of that area of your life, at all costs, because once you allow someone into the marriage bed that doesn’t belong, there is no going back and you have broken something very sacred. This is the number one problem that leads to divorce. When you allow, adultery in your marriage, you give up a trust that your spouse has for you, as well as, hurting something that is the most intimate part of your life. It is very hard for your spouse to forgive or forget, and may ruin what you have worked for years to build. No matter how much someone tries to forgive for this, it usually ends the marriage. Because this is such an important factor of marriage, this should be the ultimate commitment that you keep with each other.
In closing, please remember all these things, take time, listen to each other, love unconditionally, be best friends, and keep the bedroom sacred. Remember, the commitment that you made before family, friends, and God, as well as, to each other. Embrace your love like you never have before, watch what you say, always ask for forgiveness and learn to forgive. There are times that we do forget why we fell in love with each other, so when this happens just take some time, no matter what!