Yesterday, my parents celebrated 38 years of marriage! Wow! I know it has been a journey for them. They were married young and they weren’t saved yet. However, God had a plan for their lives. They became Christians and I was blessed to be raised in their home. They are wonderful parents and a great example of marriage. So, in honor of their anniversary, I’d like to share with you a few tips I have learned from watching my parents to keep your marriage strong.
This one is obvious. There must be commitment. Love, in the form of our feelings, may come and go. If you expect that ‘butterfly in my stomach’ feeling to get you through the tough times, you may be disappointed. There has to be something more than our feelings keeping us in our marriage. We need to be committed to do whatever it takes to make it work. Committed to our spouse, our children, and of course. God. I can say that in my marriage, there have been times that it has been my commitment to God that has gotten me through hard times.
I don’t know what your marriage sounds like, but the fact is, we’ve got to learn how to communicate with our spouse. Greg, as fabulous as he is, can not read my mind. Even though I know that, I allow myself to get upset and frustrated with him for not doing the things I want him to do. I don’t always express my desires. I just expect him to know. And really, that’s just not fair. It doesn’t really work like that. There have been times when we’ve been at odds, not wanting to talk about the ‘pink elephant in the room,’ and we’ve put the kids to bed, sit on the couch, and just sit. And sit some more. Finally, one of us will speak up and get the conversation going. It may not always be pretty, however, when things obviously need to be dealt with, we need to learn how to deal with them. We don’t yell and scream at each other. We may disagree but we don’t argue. We talk it out. Figure out some answers.
3. Quiet Time
One of the most indispensable parts of marriage is our relationship with Christ. Whether we are married to a Christian or not, our quiet times need to be priority. I know I can be more patient and understanding with Greg when I am immersing myself in the Word and in prayer. It makes me less snappy, less accusatory, more
optimistic. Likewise, so does talking to Greg about what I’m reading in the Word. We need to be talking together about what God is revealing to us individually.
4. Have Fun!
When you are married with children, it seems most of us get all up tight and serious. (Pointing to myself!) It’s hard to just relax and have fun! Let loose. Laugh. Play. Remember the way you use to flirt with your spouse before you were married! Greg and I try to get out on date nights. It gives us time to talk and enjoy one another’s company without being interrupted 30 times. We get to dream about the future. It’s really refreshing to get those nights away, even if they only come once a month or less. It is something we both cherish and try hard to make a priority.
5. Physical Touch
I know what you’re thinking. And although sex is included in this category and it IS an essential part to marriage, I also mean more than that. I mean holding hands, hugging, snuggling on the couch, trading foot/back rubs, and yes, sex. When I first started doing FlyLady, one of the Friday (which is their date night) challenges was to kiss your husband. Really kiss him. No pecks on the cheek or lips. Needless to say, that was one challenge Greg remembers! I don’t grow old of holding Greg’s hand, or him putting his arm around me in church. Studies have shown that when you hold hands your stress level goes down. It’s just one more way of showing our appreciation!
I’d like to hear what else you would add to this list to have a happy, long marriage!
Blessings to you!
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