Have you ever been around a couple who seems to love each other AND actually like each other too? They seem to be connected physically, emotionally and even spiritually. It’s what we all long for in a marriage, and yet, some days it might seem as elusive as trying to catch a unicorn! I’ve got some GOOD NEWS for us all…we can all have a happy marriage, and it’s probably easier than you’re thinking. Seriously. Here’s how…
As my wife Ashley and I have spent time studying the Biblical principles of marriage and observed how the happiest and healthiest couples interact with each other, we’ve learned that the path to deep connection and intimacy in marriage isn’t just one “secret.” Rather, it’s a mindset that’s lived out through a variety of relatively simple behaviors implemented consistently. If you want a happier marriage, start doing these things and you will see some instant improvements!
In no particular order…
HAPPY COUPLES continue to pursue each other. They invest time to keep the romance AND the friendship alive in their marriages. They make time together a daily priority.
HAPPY COUPLES never approach a disagreement as a “fight.” They’ve wisely learned that they’re on the same team, so even in disagreements, they’ll either win together or lose together. They work together with mutual respect to find solutions.
HAPPY COUPLES don’t get stuck in the comparison trap. They recognize that God’s plan for their lives is masterfully unique so they don’t get depressed scrolling through Facebook and Pinterest and comparing their homes, lives or marriages to somebody else’s. They learn from other people, but have the confidence of knowing they don’t have to compare themselves.
HAPPY COUPLES are generous. They’ve learned that selfishness is the kiss of death for a marriage, so they’re selfless towards each other. They serve each other. They’re thoughtful towards one another, and the less they focus on their own needs and desires, the more their own needs and desires are fulfilled in the mutual selflessness of their marriage.
HAPPY COUPLES dream together. They build on the past and fondly remember aspects of the past, but they never feel that their best days are behind them. They’re always looking forward to a new adventure together.
HAPPY COUPLES are quick to forgive and to seek forgiveness from each other. When they’ve blown it, they take responsibility and apologize. They work to rebuild broken trust. When the other spouse has wronged them, they’re quick to extend grace.
HAPPY COUPLES don’t put their marriages on hold while they’re raising kids. They want to give their kids the security that comes from seeing their mom and dad in a loving, thriving marriages. They don’t want to end up with an “empty nest” and an empty marriage at the same time.
HAPPY COUPLES serve together. They find an area of shared interest where they can be invest their time and talents to make a positive impact in their community and/or the world. They’re focused on creating a shared legacy that will outlive them both.
HAPPY COUPLES prioritize what happens in the bedroom. They’ve learned that it takes much more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it. They place the other’s needs ahead of their own inside and outside of the bedroom.
HAPPY COUPLES choose to see the best in each other. They don’t keep score of each other’s faults. They’re each other’s biggest encouragers; and not the biggest critics. They don’t nag, belittle or insult each other. They build each other up and never tear each other down.
HAPPY COUPLES refuse to give up on each other. They don’t fantasize about a life with someone other than their spouse. They don’t threaten divorce. They’re determined to remove exit strategies and share the security that comes from their unshakable commitment to each other.
HAPPY COUPLES aren’t happy all the time. On sad days, they’re able to cry together. On uncertain days, they’re able to pray together. On all days, they’re determined to face both the joys and struggles of life hand-in-hand and side-by-side.
Don't give up on your marriage. It is worth the effort and investment. If you feel like your marriage is struggling, or even failing, there is hope. There is healing.