If you’re married, you have a 50-50 change of making it to ‘until death do us part’. It’s true! According to The American Psychology Association, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

The statistic proves that men and women struggle with the realities of life. Everyone wants a happily ever ending but only 50 percent of the population is willing to put in the work. Marriage is exactly that – constant work. But the truth is anything substantial and worthwhile is work.

Take a second and give it some serious thought. Your career didn’t just fall into existence. Odds are you had to go to school, get on-the-job experience, put in the long hours and make a lot of mistakes. Your career is a progression. Or maybe you need a more physical example. Even though technology has improved the construction process, houses are not built in a day. Carpenters, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and many other professions are involved in the construction process. Once the house is built, someone must maintain it – if not, the house will slowly fall apart.

Do you see the similarities?

Marriage is hard work, but at the end of the day it is worth it. Hard times happen to everyone and that is important to truly understand. No one has it easy. No one has a path without obstacles. As spectators, it’s easy to judge the lives of others. However, the reality is you don’t know the grief and struggles everyone faces.

As a couple, the best thing you can do is work on your marriage every day so your marriage will be protected during the hard times. While that may be easier said than done, we have tips on how you can better prepare for the difficult seasons.

Communicate

Communication is the key to every healthy relationship. Healthy couples make time for each other on a daily basis. However, one of the biggest misconceptions is that communicating is just discussing parenting and household maintenance. It is imperative that couples discuss deeper and more personal areas of life with their partner.

Isolating your concerns and feelings can create resentment. Sharing feelings and discussing disagreements, while they are in progress, can alleviate any potential issues in the future. Ultimately, keeping things bottled up will only bring forth an emotional breakdown – which is not good for anyone. By communicating, couples can learn and improve commitment levels, personality traits and conflict resolution skills. You should never assume that you know what your partner is feeling. Investing in communication will ensure less complication during the hard times.

Practice Gratitude

Sounds basic, huh? It is, but the benefits are very fulfilling. Express gratitude for your partner. Need help? We have some suggestions:

  • Send your partner a random text message and share how they make you feel. “Thank you for your help with the housework. I really appreciate you.”
  • Make your partner’s favorite meal or let them pick dessert.
  • Remember to express thanks when your partner does something thoughtful. Sometimes remembering to verbally say thank you will make your partner feel worthy.
  • Leave a note in their briefcase, lunchbox or on the bathroom mirror. “I am thankful for you.” “Thank you for your hard work.” “I am blessed to have you in my life.”

Exercising gratefulness, daily, can payoff when you and your partner are enduring a challenging season. Gratitude is a proactive way you can invest in your marriage. Most people choose to express gratitude when they’ve experienced a tragedy or bump in the road; which is a reactive move. Being proactive will help your marriage stand strong and create a reinforced foundation.

Make Time For Each Other

Between children, jobs and outside commitments, it is challenging to connect with your partner. However, couples must keep things interesting if they want their marriage to last. As parents, we invest so much time and effort into your children. As employees, we work the long hours and answer the pressing emails. Though, in many cases, we take our marriage for granted and treat it is a roommate situation – which makes a marriage stale.

Break out of your routine and implement date night. If you are short on cash, watch a movie or cook a meal together. Heck take a walk together. The reality is couples need a lone time.

My husband and I live away from family. We rely on paid babysitters to get away; however, I’ve found it’s cheaper to take a personal day from work and have a day date. We’ll go hiking and out to eat – sometimes that quiet time is exactly what we need together. If we’re in a busy season, my husband will have lunch with me during my break at work. It’s nice to break up my day and reconnect with him. Last year was rough and we found that our bond was stronger because we made time for each other – and made our marriage a priority.

Get Help

There is a stigma associated with counseling – especially with Christians. Every relationship has its ups and downs. No one has a perfect relationship. If you and your partner are having recurring conflicts, it may be time to seek out counseling. Not only is counseling a proactive move, but it is an investment towards a healthy marriage. A psychologist can help couples improve communication and discover healthy ways to move beyond conflict.

Getting help means you care about your relationship and want your union to work. In addition, marital counseling can help teach skills that associated with listening, problem solving and compromise. Knowing more about these elements can reduce the risk of divorce.

On the other hand, there are times you (as an individual) are going through something. If this is the case, consider talking to a counselor. Depending on the situation, it is helpful to talk to a professional about our feelings. Having a third party speak into these topics can provide an unbiased outlook.
Protecting your marriage during the hard times means you are willing to put forth the effort, when you’re not in a difficult season. It’s important to be proactive with your actions and treat your marriage as a priority.

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