Great marriages are a product of hard work, attention to detail and much prayer. With the addition of children, work demands and just life our marriages can become an afterthought. Overtime this afterthought can lead to a dead, lifeless marriage that becomes a chore instead of a source of joy. This year my husband and I are on a journey to reassess and reconnect with one another to continue to build a healthy, sustainable marriage. Check out our simple yet practical tips.
Marriage 101: Be intentional
In life we are intentional about many things: raising our children, meal prepping, exercising, climbing the corporate ladder, fulfilling our dreams and the list goes on and on. Can the same be said about our marriage? We are celebrating 11 years of marital bliss. We are raising three children under the age of six. In the early days of child rearing I remember walking around in a fog or coasting on a wave. Our marriage took a backseat because of everything else on our plates. Stuck in a rut, our marriage was characterized by a kiss in the morning and evening. Our conversations centered around the children and our jobs. We knew something had to give and the first step was to be intentional and strategic in how we do life as husband and wife. These three tips have helped us along the way:
- Commit or recommit your marriage to Christ and allow Him to be the center of your relationship
- Pray with and for your spouse
- Set aside time for just you and your spouse that is non-negotiable
Marriage 101: Unplug
In a world of emails, social media, text and even blogging the very thought of being unplugged can send shivers down your spine. Trust me the shivers are worth every moment that you are able to reclaim with your spouse. Here are four tips to help you unplug:
- Establish an agreement that you will be device free during the duration of your time together.
- Put all electronic devices in a location that is not easily accessible.
- Remove tempting apps from your phone such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – at least for the duration of your time together.
- If you must use your device set a time and time limit in which you can use your devices.
My husband and I went away for a weekend and we made a commitment to being unplugged. The first two hours were hard. Not because we did not want to spend time with one another but because we are creatures of habit. We had to “rewire” our brains and remember why we chose to spend to time together. Once the initial shock wore off we settled into a groove and our focus turned towards each other.
Marriage 101: Be an active listener
Active or purposeful listening requires that we lay aside our agendas, our solutions and self to be fully engaged in what our spouse has to say. My husband is a therapist by trade and so this come easily for him but not so much for me. I like to check off lists and get to the bottom line which is great for my job but not so great for our marriage. I had to learn how to be an active listener by taking the time to understand, empathize and support my husband in what he says. Does this mean I never offer advice or my perspective? No, but my priorities have changed. I chose to understand his perspective before trying to get him to agree to my mine. The three steps below have helped me become a better listener.
- Listen before you speak
- Resist the urge to try and solve a problem
- Sit close, be engaged
These are just a few tools that we are using to make sure that marriage remains happy and healthy, especially during these uncertain times. We would love to hear from you about your tips for a successful marriage.