Marriage is hard. Marriage is hard. Marriage is hard! Should I say it again? I think you get the point. Marriage is not for the faint of heart, and when your marriage feels more like a chore than a joy, it can be really difficult to push through! But is there a way to ensure your marriage stays strong for life?
I know I didn’t get married to just throw in the towel when things got rocky, and neither did you!
Sometimes as women, we get so overloaded with all of the day to day responsibilities, worrying about our kids, work, money, dinners, and all the other things that we mull over in our minds, that we forget to worry about our relationship with our husbands!
In talking with a friend recently, the topic of marriage came up. We both were astounded over why, just when we got to a good point in our marriages, that we couldn’t seem to stay there. It seemed that every high point was not followed by more high points, or even just steady ground. Nope. Each high point was almost inevitably followed by a slow downward spiral that brought us eventually to the valley that made us strive for a higher and stronger place in our marriages in the first place!
There has to be a better way!
So on we go, learning, and doing, and making mistakes, but getting better all the time. This is the journey of marriage!
If you have reached many peaks and valleys in your marriage, and are wondering how to just stay steady, well here it is!
6 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong For Life
1. Have a common goal with your spouse!
Now you might think, well what if we don’t have anything in common at all, and I’ve already married him, so now what!? Even if you don’t have much in common in the way of hobbies, talents, or interests, I bet that you have at least one, if not two very important key issues in common. First is your marriage, second is your kids (if you have them). Even if you think you only have your relationship in common, that is Ok!
The point is, find that common goal and build on it from there. Identify that goal with your spouse and agree that this goal is so important, that it is worth struggles and hardships in order to keep this goal alive and well. Whether it is your kids, or your relationship, or the fact that you both love to travel together- agree together that this goal is worth fighting for! This way, when times get rough, you can both remember what your motivation is for pushing through the hard times!
2. Be real with each other every night.
Sometimes the stress of life and motherhood can make us hardened towards our spouse. Life can certainly wear on you and if you’re not careful, resentment, and irritation can creep into your marriage! Let’s be clear, these things are the death of marriage! So take some time each night to be real with each other!
Being real looks like, lowering down your walls that say, I’m fine, and looking your husband in the eye, and telling him that it hurt you when he wouldn’t get off his phone long enough to help you carry groceries in from the car! It looks like telling him that you don’t feel connected to him and letting him know why!
Sometimes being real with each other is ugly because it’s hard, and sometimes the truth hurts. But it shouldn’t involve only complaints about your spouse- being real is admitting that you have a part in the issue as well, and being willing to work on whatever took your marriage off track at that moment.
3. Be willing to say I’m sorry!
This is huge! No one is perfect in marriage, and as much as he is not always loving and considerate, keep in mind that you are probably no cupcake all the time either! Say I’m sorry when you are at fault, or even if there is only a miscommunication. Don’t forget that it generally always takes two people to have an argument! A sincere apology will go miles in making your marriage stronger!
4. See the good and really enjoy each other rather than frequently thinking you would be happy if only…!
The truth is, no matter what the situation, you would find a way to see the grass on the other side of the fence as greener and more lush. But maintaining a strong marriage is not done through constantly comparing and wishing your spouse were better, or different. Strength comes from appreciating the amazing person that you are married to!
5. Don’t assume!
When we are married for a while, we start to become so comfortable with that person that we think we really know exactly what they are thinking all the time. Because of this, we take any little tone or inclination in our spouse’s voice to heart and assume, Oh that’s just him being a jerk again, or, he was just being controlling when he asked when I was going to be home! Or- fill in your own scenario!
When we automatically assume the worst intentions about our spouse’s behavior or tone of voice, we aren’t being fair to them, and we are also blocking off a really great opportunity to dig deeper into the issue and actually understand our spouse’s heart!
Maybe he sounded irritated when you asked him to empty the dishwasher because he has had a headache all day long and had to work through it for his job. Just don’t assume his intentions, ask!
The thing is, each person comes into the marriage carrying baggage and colored glasses that allow them to see things a certain way. The trouble is, your spouse may be wearing blue lenses in his glasses, all while you are wearing yellow lenses in yours- this of course, will create a decent sized discrepancy in the way you see almost everything! So be willing to really listen when your spouse says something, and sometimes even read between the lines! Really seek out their heart instead of just their words, and your relationship will be much stronger for doing so!
6. Give more than you take!
Ultimately, to have a strong marriage, you need to put your wants second, and plan to put your husband’s wants first. In a strong marriage, your spouse will generally feel so supported and loved by this constant gesture, that he will likely defer to what you want! Now while this does seem like a clever way to manipulate him into getting what you want, that’s really not the point. The point is, putting yourself second to the needs of your spouse will almost always heal hurts, and fix minor issues that could easily snowball into bigger issues if left unchecked. Always planning to give more than you take in a marriage will turn your marriage into something that can not be easily broken!
When we choose to get married, we are choosing to take on the good and the bad, the peaks and the valleys. It’s not always easy to be married, even when you started as head over heels in love! But the thing is, it’s so worth it to build a strong marriage, because then, the winds of life won’t tear it down when they inevitably come.