Few people anticipate that their walk down the aisle will ultimately end in separation or divorce. Most couples know there’ll be some rough spots but just assume that things will work out. Lois and I have unfortunately seen couples on both ends of the spectrum.
Why? Because no matter how right the man and woman are for each other, every marriage confronts internal and external threats. The image above lists just a few.
The simple truth is that your marriage needs to be protected. Every day. All day.
Here are five simple ways to protect your marriage.
- Change your mindset:
If you had a priceless diamond, you wouldn’t let it haphazardly set it out on the countertop. You’d protect it behind bulletproof glass. Put it in specialized storage. Hire a security guard! Whatever it takes to keep that diamond safe.
Your marriage is infinitely more valuable and the threats multiply every day. So don’t just take your marriage for granted. Change your mindset so you see it for the treasure it is and then commit to protecting it.
- Stay connected:
Dedicate at least an hour to your spouse every day. Sometimes we encounter couples who are more like strangers with each other than they are husband and wife. There’s nothing wrong with the people. But they don’t get enough time together to really keep that bond.
Challenge your schedule. Maybe spend 30 minutes on lunch break together on the phone if not in person. Then get another 30 minutes in at the end of the work day.
If you have kids, make them give you “alone time.” This article, How to make time for your spouse, gives more tips.
- Keep no secrets or unvoiced fantasies.
Maintain a “naked” marriage where everything you think is exposed to your spouse. This comes from creating an ongoing climate of trust, which takes time. Encourage your spouse to share his/her deepest secrets or darkest desires. Listen instead of criticize and work together to resolve issues–even if it hurts to do so. Remember, things swept under the rug create bumps that ultimately trip us up.
- Pray together aloud. The couple that prays together stays together. Remember that your spouse hears your prayers as well as God does. So make them supportive. Give thanks for the qualities you see in your spouse. Praise him/her through your prayer and then ask for strength and grace to resolve the challenges.
- Never threaten divorce. Words spoken can never be unspoken. We often speak in anger and don’t mean what we say. But threatening divorce is a terrible blow to a marriage–even if you don’t mean it. Get his/her attention in a way that will bring you together and not drive you farther apart.
Making these decisions part of your daily married lifestyle will have a positive impact on the overall health of your marriage. They will help you make your own “happily ever after.”
Joseph & Lois
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