OK. Here they are…hot off the press–the Dependable Dozen of what works in a marriage. Thanks to the Youth and Family Ministry for their help in putting these together. Use them and watch your marriage grow! They are in no particular order. We came up with these after a great public reading of Ephesians 5:21-33 by Kimberly and Jay.
- Listen to your spouse. That means not talking and not interrupting while your partner is talking. It is amazing how much better conversations and conflicts in your marriage go when you observe this simple rule. It’s not easy, especially when you feel misrepresented and misunderstood.
- Communicate about schedules. Pretty simple, huh? But how often do married couples notcommunicate about the week’s business–who needs to be where, who is going to give rides, who needs to get paid what, etc., etc., etc. Talking through these things on a weekly basis will do amazing things for your relationship.
- Express Your Feelings. Instead of showing anger, share your feelings. Make sure if you do have a positive feeling toward your spouse that you go out of your way to express it. Communicating on a feeling basis will draw you closer and help avoid bitterness.
- Learn your spouse’s Love Language. According to Gary Chapman there are five primary ways that people feel loved. Take the time to figure out which one is your spouse’s and give them love in that language in big doses. When people feel loved they just get along better.
- Pray together. Praying together brings intimacy. Praying together allows you to cast your family burdens on the Lord. It makes the wife feel loved and it’s a great way for a husband to provide leadership. Try a prayer walk. Take your prayer dog along with you! God will change your marriage.
- Have the thought about your partner, “This person is God’s child. How can I help him (or her) get to heaven?” When you start seeing your spouse as God’s child it changes what you will and won’t say and do to them. It gives you a spiritual perspective that will guide your marriage in the right direction.
- Ask, “What’s really bothering you?” Do you ever get in an ongoing bickering war with your spouse? It seems to go away for a little while but then before you know it the picking at each other comes back again. This is usually because something deeper is bothering one or both of you. Have the courage to ask this question and listen to the answer.
- Clarify your role. Sometimes you don’t need your husband to be your husband. You need him to be your friend. Sometimes your wife doesn’t need you to give her advice, she just needs for you to listen and sympathize with her. How do you know when? If you aren’t sure, try asking. This revolutionary idea of asking what your spouse needs from you in the moment will transform your marriage.
- Have “sofa-time” every day. Take at least 15 minutes every day to just sit and visit. Maybe you do it over coffee. Maybe you take a walk after supper. In the hustle and bustle of life it’s easy to forget the friendship that you can have together and connecting as friends for even a few minutes a day can make a huge difference.
- Don’t read into what your spouse is saying. Just because your husband says, “I’m hungry,” doesn’t mean he thinks you are a bad cook for not having dinner ready right then. Just because your wife asks you when you are going to finish trimming the hedges doesn’t mean she thinks you are a lousy and lazy husband. Try to take what is said by your partner at face value.
- Forgive before you go to bed. Don’t be afraid to be the first to say that you are sorry. It’s not a competition! Understanding and practicing forgiveness is an essential part of every happy marriage. Use it to make your relationship stronger.
- Ask yourself, “What does my partner need from me right now?” How many times do we genuinely consider our spouse’s needs? Too often we are so focused on our own needs that we cannot detach from those needs to see what our husband or wife needs. However, many bad patterns in a marriage can be changed by this simple inner thought.
To find our more about our Youth and Family Ministry or our church, check out our Youth and Family Ministry page.