What an occasion! The wedding dress, the ceremony, and the speeches. But after the big day and the honeymoon, the real work of marriage begins.
I’ve had the privilege of officiating and speaking at several marriages. And with each one I was reminded of the beautiful thing that marriage is – the joining of two people with a desire to share life together.
With Mel and I having just celebrated our 18th year of marriage, I can say that marriage is truly a gift. Being able to share life with a companion is quite special, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
One failed marriage is one too many
Every couple wants their marriage to work. All who say “I do!” on their wedding day want a healthy marriage. But sadly, for different reasons, too often their dreams are short lived.
Life places obstacles in the way of success in marriage. And what can happen is that the honeymoon period ends, the relationship erodes, couples disagree, and the marriage fails or ends in divorce.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
There is a hope. Your marriage can be a success!
When husbands and wives remain humble and commit to thinking of their spouse’s well being more than their own, their marriage has a greater chance of success.
As with every relationship, your marriage won’t be without it’s challenges. But giving thought to these 6 things will give you a good chance of making your marriage work.
#1. Have a vision for success
Be clear on what you want. To have a healthy marriage it helps to first know what you’d like your relationship to look and feel like. Once you’ve worked that out together, develop some goals for your marriage.
Your goals should be as specific and as measurable as possible. For example, ‘we will have a date night at least once a month‘. The aim of each goal is to move you towards the vision you have for your marriage.
#2. Pick your battles well
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always best to express your feelings. And for the success of your marriage, this is an important one to remember.
In marriage though there’ll be many opportunities to go to war, the marriage that lasts will be the one where battles are chosen carefully. The question to always ask is, “How important is this?”
#3. Forgive daily
Remember, you and your spouse are human. You’ll make mistakes, fail to meet each others expectations, and even hurt one another. This is true.
Though the degree of hurt you’ll cause will depend on the wrong done, for your marriage to be successful, you’ll need to learn how to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive. And to do both quickly.
Our commitment to forgive needs to be a daily one, as holding grudges will destroy even the best of relationships. It’s also helpful to recognise that we need to learn to forgive ourselves too.
#4. Communicate openly
The way you communicate is very important to your marriage. Both husband and wife need to develop healthy communication skills, especially in conflict, that will help both to feel listened to, validated, and understood.
For your marriage to work you’ll need to be polite and respectful.
#5. Don’t go it alone
Having a support network is a must. For your marriage to succeed you’ll need to have people around you who’ve bought, worn, and framed the t-shirt. People that’ve weathered some storms.
It’s also important that you’ve some friends who you can simply have fun together with!
#6. Stick with it!
The health of a marriage isn’t measured solely by the number of good times.
No. The success of a marriage can also be determined by how often people work together to get through the setbacks and challenges that life throws at their way.
When people see happy couples, they often fail to understand that behind the smiles and laughter are many unseen tears and scars which, having been shared, served to strengthen their marriage.
How you support and continue to be there for one another is important.
Questions: Which of these are you and your spouse best at? Where might you need to make some changes or put in some work? If you’re not yet married, which of these most resonates with you and what will you do about it? Share your comments!