For the past year, I've focused my blog content on making marriage a priority throughout every stage of life. It's a topic that I'm extremely passionate about and I've been happy to find that most other couples feel that it's important as well! If you ever read my blog and think, 'Amberly, I don't have time in my current stage of life to put my marriage first!', there are a few things that I think you should know.

Prioritizing your marriage doesn't mean: That you have to put all of your energy into your marriage, every hour of every day. That you can't have a life or spend time with friends outside your marriage. Or that there aren't other things in your life that are a priority or need to come first sometimes.

Prioritizing your marriage does mean: That you find ways to connect with your spouse on a daily basis. That you schedule time on a regular basis to spend time together just the two of you. That you do little things to show your spouse that you're thinking about them (think love languages). That you set goals to make your marriage better, take time to think about your spouse often and consider them when making big decisions.

Four reasons you need to make your marriage a priority

1. It lets them know that they are important to you and that you value your relationship with them.__

You can say "I love you" all day long, but if your actions don't match what you are saying, your words won't have much meaning. When you were dating, how often was your relationship on your mind? If you thought about your significant other as much now as you did then, you would be more aware of the little things that you could do or say throughout the day to let them know that you care about them.

2. Your marriage can't grow unless you continually work on it

If you want to grow and progress in any area of your life, you have to focus and put a lot of time and energy into it. If you want to get better at playing a musical instrument, you have to practice daily and you continue practicing even after you think you've mastered it, because there is always room for improvement and if you stop playing, you'll lose the talent that you have. The same should be true for your marriage. Your relationship doesn't reach perfection the minute you tie the knot. If you want to maintain the close friendship and love that you have with each other, you have to make time for it every day, no matter how busy your schedule is.

3. You are setting an example of what a healthy marriage looks like for your children, grandchildren and those around you.

Parenthood is the most common stage in life when couples don't feel like they are able to put their marriage first. Even though it might be the most challenging stage to do so, I feel like it might be the stage when making time for your spouse is the most important. Not only for the sake of your marriage, but for your children's sake as well. Your kids will notice when you go out on date nights, spend time talking and laughing together, and when you put each other first.

4. If you don't make your marriage a priority, you'll grow apart instead of growing together.

The number of gray divorces is rising. Gray divorce is when a couple divorces after the age of 50. At the top of the list for reasons why a gray divorce may occur are; growing old together can create distance, living together without kids, drifting apart, lack of emotional connection with spouse and loss of respect for each other. I feel strongly that if you make your spouse a priority and work together to keep your relationship strong through every stage of life, the risk of gray divorce in your marriage will drop significantly.

Throughout the almost five years of our marriage, there have been a lot of different times when it has been easy to put other things ahead of my marriage. No matter what stage of life you are in, there will always be something or someone fighting for your attention. Do what you can, and don't let the idea of prioritizing your marriage overwhelm you! If you make an effort every day to focus on your marriage, your relationship will be stronger.

What will you do this week to make sure your spouse knows that they are a priority in your life? What goals can you set this year to make your marriage more of a priority?

Editor's note: This article was originally published on A Prioritized Marriage. It has been republished here with permission.

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