Published in Matrimonio by Gabriela Zuñiga on October 2, 2013

Translated and adapted by Anders Peterson from the original article "Un matrimonio fuerte como el diamante" by Gabriela Zuñiga

Nowadays, life is very fast-paced. Too many things demand our time. There is so much to do and learn. Nevertheless, despite all of the activities that demand our energy and attention, strengthening our families is much more important than any job or study. In order to fulfill this goal, we must remember that parents are the key to family success.

Similar to your health, preventing problems is much better than trying to find a remedy. Therefore, it is better to begin strengthening your marriage from the first day and avoid waiting to have problems or feel that your marriage is falling apart in order to begin dedicating time and attention to it. Consider the following things in order to establish a strong marriage:

Make a continuous effort

Does the phrase, "Rome was not built in a day," sound familiar to you? Well, a family should be forever. Therefore, you must make an effort each day in order to build a lasting family relationship.

Develop patience

Nothing valuable is easily achieved. If you don't see any changes when you show kindness in your family, I suggest that you be patient and continue onward with faith. In the long run, your efforts will always be rewarded at the right time.

Act wisely

Respected theologian Dr. Joe J. Christensen once said, "Any intelligent couple will have differences of opinion. Our challenge is to be sure that we know how to resolve them. That is part of the process of making a good marriage better."

In my case, each week we set aside a night to get together as a couple to talk about family topics. It was thanks to that family time that my husband and I were able to discuss this topic. We identified seven things that would help us strengthen our marriage. I would like to share these seven items with you.

1. Always remember the best times

Even things that happened before marriage should be remembered. We must remember the feelings we have had in the past, because it helps to renew our love for each other.

2. Be long-suffering

This means that we should learn how to see things from our spouse's point of view. This is often called empathy. This will help you to understand your spouse's feelings and his or her actions. In turn, you will find it easier to give advice to your spouse, to settle differences or even to solve mutual conflicts. Moreover, your spouse will feel appreciated and respected.

3. Learn from your spouse

We all have virtues. Therefore, you can learn from your spouse. This not only refers to moral, spiritual or character building qualities, but it also applies to every personal aspect. For example, my husband and I study technology. We have had some differences when we discuss topics about systems and technology. As time goes by, I have learned that I must always listen first because I always learn something. I must admit that my husband has been very patient with me in that aspect.

4. It is normal to have differences in a marriage

If you see your friends and relatives happy all the time, it is not because they have perfect marriages, but rather because they have learned to settle their differences. There are good days and bad days. The important thing is to learn how to deal with the bad ones. Do not become discouraged if disagreements are frequent. If both of you make an effort, things will improve as time passes by. Learn to accept that there are disagreements and learn to face them with love.

5. Notice the positive qualities in your spouse

Usually, when we are dating, we show the best of ourselves. Later, when we get married we see that some things are not the way we thought they would be. This happens to everybody. You may have hidden some small defects. Help your spouse to improve, do not lose your patience. Every time that you feel prompted to complain, take a deep breath and think of the reasons why you fell in love. This is advice that my husband gave me. (He probably uses it frequently.)

6. Spend time together often

By using your free time to have fun together, you will be able to have precious moments to be remembered. Your love will grow exponentially if you set aside time for each other. Play together, laugh together and exercise together, because all these activities will strengthen your marriage.

7. Show love

Some things that I say or do daily in order to show love to my husband are: saying "I love you" or writing it on the mirror, leaving a note in his wallet, hiding some sweets or cards in his suitcase, preparing his favorite dessert, singing to him or doing something to make him smile. Sometimes we may think, "My spouse knows I love him." Well, these simple acts let our spouse know how much we love him or her.

Marriage is like a flower. It needs constant nourishment, patience and much love. What have you done to strengthen your marriage? Can you share some ideas with us or apply this advice and let us know how it has helped you and your spouse? Remember that the strong relationship that you have with your spouse helps your family to be successful and to remain united when facing challenges.

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