A friend shared recently that his parents are celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary. They met at church in 1953 and were married two years later. Our immediate reaction was to say the standard stuff like “wow,” and “congratulations,” and “good for them!” But then someone finally asked the million-dollar question: “how did they maintain a strong marriage?”
You would think that because we are divorce attorneys, we are more concerned with helping people get divorced rather than promoting a strong marriage. But that is not true. While not every relationship can or should be saved, we believe that marriage is absolutely worth fighting for. And it is a wonderful feeling when you get to hear stories of love and devotion like we heard from our friend. If we can help by sharing valuable tips from couples who gracefully navigate the ups and downs of their relationship and are still very much in love with each other, then we are all for it.
Here are a few tips his parents shared to maintain a strong marriage, with a few of our own mixed in.
1. Accept your spouse for who they are
Personal growth and improvement are good things. With that said, show your spouse unconditional acceptance and love for who they are, flaws and all. Accepting each other’s physical and emotional weaknesses and releasing your need to “fix” each other reduces tension and creates an unbreakable bond.
2. Get right with God
Marriage is a covenant relationship between you, your spouse, and God. It is important to always understand and value that bond with the Lord. If you do, working out differences with your spouse and maintaining that symbiotic relationship will feel natural and easy. Furthermore, if you focus on improving your relationship with God, your other relationships improve because you are working on your own issues rather than finding fault in others.
If you sense that you owe your spouse an apology, you probably do. Learn to apologize often and be sincere so that your spouse can see your good intentions and heart change. If you repeatedly apologize for the same actions, communicate with each other to figure out what is driving this choice or behavior and what each of you needs to resolve the issue. If necessary, seek help from a marriage counselor or talk to your pastor.
4. Always tell the truth
Marriage should be a place where the truth flourishes. It should be a defining characteristic of your relationship. If it is not, it should be quickly talked about and resolved before the lies grow and create real problems that are more difficult to overcome. One thing we have all learned in life is that one little lie will cause a second and a third, eventually making it easier to lie more regularly as the years go by.
5. Say, “I love you”
When you and your spouse are committed to maintaining a strong marriage, you cannot say “I love you” too much. Hearing those three words every day, and showing that you love each other through your daily actions, creates emotional closeness and strengthens your relationship.
Honor means to regard with great respect. So it stands to reason that a secret to maintaining a strong marriage is to honor your spouse and others in general. If you do, you will find that they will honor you because you are acting honorably.
7. Remember why you got married
When clients tell me what they cannot stand about their spouse, I always ask if they saw these qualities when they first got married. Inevitably, the answer is yes! The moral of the story is to focus on the good in all things and be grateful. Doing so makes it easier to notice the positive — yielding a better marriage and happier life.
Everyone knows how to talk. It is an entirely different skill to simply listen first. Ask your spouse what is worrying them and recognize when they seem bothered. Give them your undivided attention and put your own needs aside.
9. Have fun
One of the best pieces of advice to maintain a strong marriage is to create a fun environment where you are intentional about spending time with each other. Travel, go out on dates, joke around, be silly, make each other laugh, and lighten the mood whenever it feels like the hustle and bustle of marriage life are getting the best of both of you.
10. Be a role model to your kids
We all have heard that kids do not do what you say; they do what you do. As a parent, I have an obligation to show our kids what it means to be Christ-like. Do I ever achieve His perfection? Of course not. But while I am trying to meet His standards, I grow closer to Him and learn to love my wife more. Remember that, whether you have children or not, you have little people looking at you. You need to show them what they should do.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
We believe that the grass is greener where you water it, especially when trying to maintain a strong marriage. Marriage is hard, but rather than surrender to those struggles, focus on watering the grass in your relationship. If you are still headed toward divorce, you need a trusted advisor in your corner every step of the way. We know the law, but more importantly, we are invested in you and your family — before, during, and after divorce.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.