Getting married is not just a couple in love bound together in holy matrimony. It is a union of two different people with opinions, ideas, habits and traditions that are not always going to match up.
Because of differences, it is necessary to find ways to keep love strong. Use these tips to start a marriage right.
1. Establish goals and write them down
Eating healthy, exercise, furthering education and avoiding debt are some ideas that are important now and into the future. Setting goals gives a marriage direction. Discuss together what is important and decide what each partner desires for the marriage.
2. Commit to never speak negatively about each other to anyone
Venting frustrations, complaining or even negatively joking about a spouse can damage a marriage. It will likely make the problem worse rather than better, especially as the focus is on everything wrong with the other person. Not only that, but others can increase negative feelings or escalate the situation. Friends or family may validate feelings, but it will be one-sided. Instead, talk together about it and mend the relationship.
3. Notice the good and give compliments
Avoid the aforementioned negativity by seeking to see the great things about each other. Everyone has faults, but magnifying the positive traits diminishes the negative ones - assuming they are not serious concerns. Complimenting and praising each other strengthens the bond and love for each other, while inspiring individuals to be better.
4. Communicate effectively
This is imperative for a healthy, happy marriage. Speak kindly, listen, clear up misunderstandings and disagree with respect. "Never go to bed angry" may not be the best advice. When angry, it might be better to "sleep on it" to avoid defensiveness and shouting things in retaliation. Sleep can ease tensions, give pause and make things become clearer. Words spoken cannot be unsaid. Take time to cool off to avoid hurting each other with sharp tongues. Talk it out until an understanding of each viewpoint is reached, and then work together to make a decision. Some couples may choose to have a marriage counselor to start on the right foot and to help throughout the marriage.
5. Continue courting each other
Once married, dating is over, right? WRONG! It's probably more important to date once married. Being and staying in love takes work - but it's fun! Continue to romance each other, go to dinner, buy flowers, write love notes, etc. My husband and I established weekly date nights. We leave the kids with a sitter and spend time reconnecting as a couple. With work, kids and other obligations we each have, it's easy to push our relationship off to the side. Planning to spend one-on-one time together helps keep love growing and improving.
6. Pray together
Praying is a way of unifying a marriage in a higher way. It helps couples to realign the focus, know each other's concerns, call on God for help with the marriage and makes a relationship closer. Praying is a source of strength and brings a deeper meaning to marriage and relationships.
7. Support each other and work together
Marriage is a partnership. It is a two-person team working toward the same goal. Husband and wife should be able to lean on each other for support, strength and help when needed. Though the roles may be different, each partner can still help. If one partner has a hard day, find a way to give him a break. Help with the housework or yard work. Help get kids bathed and in bed. Remember when receiving help, don't be mad it wasn't done "just right" or "your way," just be grateful for the help! Just like in sports, team members often have to assist each other to reach the goal.
8. Make decisions together - especially financial ones
Money is one of the biggest causes of divorce. Plan a budget, discuss finances often and plan for larger expenditures together. Be frugal. A fancy pair of shoes or an expensive suit is not worth ruining a marriage over. Sacrifice is often required to make sure all the bills get paid and some money is put into savings. Use joint bank accounts to keep financial transparency and accountability.
9. Stay 100 percent faithful
Having an affair can happen in many degrees, not just intercourse. Pornography, flirting, lusting and texting are just some ways to compromise marriage. Emotional affairs can also occur. Avoid this pitfall by not ever being alone with the opposite sex. This can be difficult in the workplace, but find ways to accomplish work tasks out in the open, with doors and blinds open or invite someone else to join in when possible. Don't get in a compromising or tempting situation. Keep a picture of each other and family in a visible place to help keep thoughts appropriately focused. Do not allow improper thoughts of infidelity to stay and do not even look at pornography. If this is a struggle, counseling or other help may be necessary.
10. Show love in many ways
Often, couples may just resort to saying "I love you," but it may not be the most effective way to demonstrate love. Use various ways to show love. Snuggling on the couch, giving a massage, giving a gift, doing service, going on a date, being thoughtful and just being a good listener are different ways to show love. If one spouse feels unloved, discuss what it is that helps her feel love. Make necessary adjustments to help each other know they are loved.
When the thrill and excitement of a new relationship wears off, the foundation set early in marriage will make it last. Solid relationships start with two people in love who are willing to work hard together. It won't be easy, but the efforts will be worth it.