This article was originally published on Making Life a Bliss Complete. It has been republished here with permission.
If couples cleave to each other amid challenges, they will become united and will only feel complete with the other.
To cleave to each other:
Spend quality time together
Because of other important obligations, you can't spend all of your time together, but when you do, you should make it a special time. Put the distractions of life away, and make it a time to show love to, and focus on each other.
Make your own traditions
Because you come from different backgrounds, you grew up with different traditions. Counsel together as to which traditions to keep, which to leave behind, and which to make new. Make it fun!
Be faithful and true
You must make a firm conviction not to lust after anyone else. Keep yourself far away from pornography. Remember that there is no such thing as harmless flirtation. Nourish your relationship with your spouse so you don't find others' looks, traits and interests more attractive. Avoid spending time alone with and confiding in members of the opposite sex. Always be honest with your spouse. Involve your spouse in as much of your life as possible.
Love your differences
Differences can sometimes be annoying. When you feel an urge to criticize or complain, it would be wise to look within. "Am I perfect? Am I better than my spouse?" The answer will always be the same.
If you instead look at differences in a positive way, you excitedly see that where you lack, the other often excels, and vice versa. You complete each other. You help each other grow. You give each other perspective. These are things to appreciate!
There are some differences that aren't easy to manage, like how you communicate or show affection or handle conflict. That is okay! It is a challenge, but if you talk together about your desires and needs, and go to the Lord for help, you will be blessed.
Handle Conflict Well
When you first get married, you feel blissful, complete and feel your spouse is the best you could ever ask for.
As time goes on, more faults and idiosyncrasies emerge. You expect more and see less. You take things for granted that you used to appreciate. You are less patient and less forgiving.
You may want to complain to your friends and family, so they can tell you how right you are and how wrong your spouse is.
Please do not do this. It can only lead to resentment. Rather, always speak kindly of your spouse to others, even when it is hardest to do so.
This does not mean you ignore your concerns. Absolutely talk about them, but only to the one person who needs to hear them.
Sometimes when couples discuss their issues, discussions can become heated.
This can happen as spouses want to be right, want to win, don't want to admit fault, but rather find fault in the other, and don't want to be the first to apologize.
This is cleaving to yourself. That is the opposite of unity.
Sometimes a spouse does things that are hurtful. You can choose to get offended and fume out every issue you have ever had, or you can breathe, express your feelings in a respectful way, and try to remember your spouse most likely didn't mean to hurt you.
When you start to feel tempted to yell, accuse, curse, and call names, it is time to take a step back. Try to remember you love your spouse, and you are on the same team. It can help in that moment, and help repair your marriage.
When you do something wrong, apologize as soon as you recognize it. Don't justify it, for shattering a soul through your choice of communication is never justified.
Make decisions together
When a decision affects your family's well-being, make those decisions together.
When you have differing opinions, you could argue, and push until you get your way, or you could come up with a partially satisfying compromise.
The most fulfilling way, though, is to seek out God's will for your family, for what seems right to you may not actually be best. Study your scriptures and pray together. When you receive an answer, you will be satisfied even if the answer wasn't what you originally thought.
Live by "What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours."
When the money brought home is OUR money, not MY money, it shows a mutual trust and unity.
Make a plan together on how to budget, what you need and what you can wait on, and what you choose to keep or discard as you consolidate.
This saying of what is yours is mine can apply to anything, even heartaches, accomplishments and joys. Be there for each other in everything. When your spouse is excited, you feel excited. When your spouse is sad, you cry, too. You are then truly one.
Put each other first
Making your spouse happy strengthens your bond. You can learn about and support each other's interests and hobbies. Do nice things for each other. Give what you want to receive. Be sensitive to moods, desires, energy levels and workload. Listen intently to each other's thoughts and feelings and validate them through your support. Help each other with responsibilities.
Love God with all your hearts
If you love God, you want to be like Him. If you are like Him, you will be a kind, compassionate, forgiving, humble, gentle, righteous, giving, understanding, patient and loving spouse.
There are many desirable qualities in a spouse, but the ones that matter most are the ones that mirror the Savior.