All of us want a happy marriage. Though life can often seem like a roller coaster, there are certain decisions we can make in our marriage that will increase the chances of enduring those ups and downs. Here are five resolutions that you and your spouse can make to help improve the quality of your relationship.
1. Never speak ill of each other
Decide now to never say anything bad about your spouse - to anyone. Being on the same team will help build trust and confidence in each other. The moment you begin finding fault or criticizing your spouse, especially when he or she is not around, is the moment that your marriage is in danger. If you are going to talk to others about your companion, ensure that you only share positive things. Make the commitment now to never say anything bad about your spouse.
2. Always be faithful to each other
In the article "4 ways to guard yourself against adultery" we learn that one of the number one ways to avoid adultery is to never be alone with a member of the opposite sex. Trust is vital to the success of a happy marriage. If you resolve now to never be alone with a member of the opposite sex, you will never have to worry about finding yourself in a tempting situation with another person.
3. Choose to be honest with each other
Honesty really is the best policy. If there is something in your life that you feel you need to hide from your spouse, you may be heading down a dangerous road. A happy marriage is more likely achieved when you are fully open with your spouse. We all have things that we struggle with and need to work on. By being honest with your companion, you will grow closer together and experience a deeper level of happiness. Decide now to always be honest with each other.
4. Learn each other's love language
In his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Gary Chapman teaches that each of us speak and understand a specific language in relation to how we feel and express love. The love languages include: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. As you learn to speak your spouse's love language, you will find greater happiness in your marriage. When in doubt, express your love to your spouse as often and in as many languages as possible.
5. Develop your communication skills
Misunderstandings are often the result of poor communication. I have found that the best way to understand the thoughts and intent of your spouse is to listen and ask clarifying questions. Never assume or guess what your spouse is thinking. It is much easier to simply ask. Decide now on a communication strategy to use if things ever get heated. My wife and I use the speaker listener technique as taught in "Fighting for Your Marriage"_ by Howard Markman.
Happiness in marriage takes work, effort and experience. Resolve now to never speak ill of your spouse, always be faithful and honest with each other, learn each other's love language and develop better communication skills. As you make these commitments with each other, the ups and downs on the roller coaster of life will be much more enjoyable.