Just like you have to exercise and eat well to have a healthy body, there are things you must do to keep your marriage healthy. You have to stay focused, work hard, and be held accountable to stay on track. Being married for almost fourteen years, I am constantly working hard to find ways to improve our marriage. It doesn’t come easy and we have hit a few bumps in the road. No one is perfect and we all will make mistakes. Marriage comes with hard work always not just sometimes. I had to acknowledge the fact that our honeymoon phase has been over for quite some time now. With four children and a blended family, we find that working to maintain a healthy marriage takes a lot more effort and can be extremely tough on an already stressful schedule. I am not a marriage counselor in any way, but here are 10 ways we have managed to keep our marriage healthy.
Talk about your goals and set them together
Just like combining your money, you need to combine your goals, or set new goals together. You both have to be in agreement because if you are both working toward separate goals, someone is going to be unhappy in the end. For example, we want to purchase our next house by next Summer. I have to make sure I am working my part to make sure we can accomplish those goals. Since I do the majority of the budget & bill — I have to make sure we are budgeted accordingly, not spend excess money, watch our budget, and save so we can accomplish those goals.
Marriage is where you learn to compromise the most. You need to think about the other person’s happiness and well-being before your own. It doesn’t mean you always do what one person wants to do. You can choose one person’s idea, or the other person’s idea, or come up with a totally different idea together. My husband has always supported me staying home full time. I respect him for allowing me to do that and know that takes a huge compromise, especially on us financially.
When you get married combine your bank accounts and money management
Speaking of finances, it is hard to let go of the autonomy but when you get married you are no longer independent. You are now co-dependent, and the sooner you combine your bank accounts and money managements, the better. You cannot think this is my money and that is my spouse’s money, everything you have now is together. We did this as soon as we got married. We have never had separate accounts.
Don’t go out with friends separately
If you have single friends from before don’t go out with them without your spouse. In many cases, single people have a different mindset and different agendas. It is better to spend time with friends who are married and understand what it is like to be married. That doesn’t mean that the guys can’t play their weekly card games or the girls can’t go to the spa or to get lunch, just be smart about it.
Be open and honest with each other
Honesty is not always easy, especially when you know you did something that is going to hurt the person you love. Being open and honest, even when you made a huge mistake, might be the only thing that saves your marriage. If you lie and are caught, you have lost your spouse’s trust. It is better to commit to always being honest, everyone makes mistakes.
Don’t embarrass your spouse
It is easy to say something that you thought was funny or dumb that your spouse did to other people, but embarrassing and belittling them is sure to backfire. It is disrespectful and you should have the highest amount of respect for your husband or wife.
Never let a night go by in anger
When you are angry, it may be justified, and you may need to step away to cool down before you say things you will regret. After you’ve taken the time to cool down, talk it out. You don’t have to wait for the other person to initiate the conversation, just start a dialog, and be honest about the way you feel. Holding your feelings in, and not speaking to each other will cause a rift in your marriage. There’s no such thing as sweeping it under the rug, you have to face the problems to resolve them. (Ephesians 4:26) “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” NIV
Have weekly date nights
Commit to a weekly date night. It is a chance to reconnect on a romantic intimate level, not just day to day living. It gives you a chance to do something nice for your spouse and show them you love them. Dress up and have fun with it. If weekly date nights are not in the budget, then have a date night at home after the kids go to bed. My husband and I at a bare minimum have date nights once a month.
Don’t make big decisions without talking to the other person
The biggest arguments can follow, if one person makes a big decision without talking to the other person. You have to remember that the decisions you make now affect both of you and not just yourself anymore.
Pray or Meditate together
Praying or meditating together bonds you spiritually. It is a healthy & beautiful way to bring you closer. If this concept is something that is new to you or uncomfortable, start by praying or meditating out loud together before meals. You can even write out your prayers & thoughts and share them with each other by reading them out loud. The more you pray together the more comfortable it will become.
Marriage takes hard work and dedication, but it is one of the most important relationships you will have in life. Spending the time to nurture and care for your marriage will help you have a long, healthy, and fulfilling.
What are some tips that you can share to encourage a healthier marriage?
Brita Long says
I love this advice except for the one on friends. I feel like maybe that advice might have been more applicable when more people got married at the same time. Maybe it makes sense if you’re close in age to all of your friends. But at 28, I have good friends from 23 to 50+, many of them unmarried. While you’re not quite advocating to dump single friends, your advice does sound like married people need to tread very carefully with their single friends. However, assuming two new spouses spent a few years dating and becoming more serious, they probably already gradually changed any habits that could negatively affect a serious relationship, like staying out too late drinking. And that’s something that might just come with age anyway, regardless of relationship status.
I think re-evaluating the quality of your friends, rather than just being careful with your single friends, would be more applicable advice, not just for newlyweds, but for anyone growing up and exploring adulthood.