We have several close friends whose marriages are falling apart. It’s killing me. I write this post with a lump in my throat and with hope that these three ideas might prove helpful to you.
Sherri and I just celebrated our 12th year of marriage! During those 12 years we have had four (soon to be five) children; we have moved six times; I have earned 1 bachelors degree and 2 graduate degrees; we have pastored churches ranging in size from 30 to 800+; we have argued and loved, laughed and cried, created and destroyed, and through it all our love has matured and our commitment has been strengthened.
The transitions that we have been through have not always been easy, but consistent adherence to these three ideas has kept our love strong and our future bright!
#1 – Date your spouse regularly
The number one relationship in any family (after God) is the relationship between husband and wife. You and your spouse were doing life together BEFORE kids and if you do it right you’ll be doing life together AFTER kids!
How do you “do it right?” DATE! Regularly get away together. Money is not an issue! Two years ago Sherri and I had a $4 weekly date budget. We did it and had some of our most memorable dates! It’s amazing what you can do for free or cheap!
Prioritize time with your spouse. It will pay off in the short term AND in the long term!
#2 – Respect your spouse
Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. If he/she “criticizes” you, assume that he/she is not totally evil or ignorant (unless otherwise proved). Listen to what he/she is saying. Stop being defensive and start listening! You’ll be surprised what you learn and how your relationship improves when you respect your spouse enough to hear his/her critique and give it a reasonable response.
#3 – Run to problems
Do NOT allow problems to linger! Don’t let problems exist for more than a day! Go to bed with a clean relational slate every night! Listen, affairs, financial breakdowns, emotional disconnections, etc. don’t “just happen”. They start with something small… a problem that was neglected. Run to those problems. Address them with love and be quick to forgive! Do this and see what happens in your home!
So there they are guys, three things that have proved to be helpful for our marriage! Use them and enjoy your marriage!