Couples who have been married for years would agree that marriage is not always a walk in the park. After the honeymoon attraction fades, it becomes more of a challenge for spouses to stay loving and true to their wedding vows. On top of this, we are called as Christians to remain faithful to the Lord -- as individuals and as a family unit.
But as time passes, it becomes easier to forget our commitment to God and to our beloved. The flame may fade in our everyday routines, our familiarity in our relationship, or in the many distractions that pervade modern life. Here are some simple things we might forget -- and want to be reminded of -- in our Christian marriage.
It's been established over and over again that communication is one of the most important elements in a relationship. Yet this is something that many take for granted.
Remember that real communication isn't just deciding what's for dinner or texting each other about errands. Take time every day: sit down with each other, ask questions to explore each other's thoughts and feelings, and actually listen to their answers. (More tips on effective communication can be found here.)
Sometimes, our partner's hobbies or preferences gradually lose our interest or even annoy us. The truth is, we don't always have to love what our partner loves -- we just have to be patient and supportive. You don't have to join your spouse in their hobby group or take up their sport, but you can listen when they talk about it and provide help when needed. If you must provide criticism, do so gently and constructively.
As you do these, you have a chance to see specific aspects that you might like, too, or simply appreciate the passion that your partner has.
This is another important thing that we tend to take for granted in our relationships. Appreciating each other's attractive qualities (physical or otherwise) is so simple but so powerful in keeping the spark alive.
Practice this whenever you can: find one or two good things about your spouse, and specifically tell them about it. Praise their delicious cooking, point out what a good driver they are, call them at work just to say you appreciate their diligence. It's an amazing instant boost for both of you -- and it's a boost you can cultivate every day.
It feels wonderful when our partner is clearly proud of us, doesn't it? Give your spouse this sense of validation by praising them in front of others. While public displays of affection are not everyone's cup of tea, you can display your romantic side in more subtle doses: use lovely adjectives when introducing your spouse to others; hold your partner's hand in public; show off their work, whether it's a blooming garden in your yard or a sales increase at their office. The occasional "couple shirt" doesn't hurt either!
Spending time with your beloved is indeed essential, but it's also vital for you to be able to spend time alone every now and then. This is not only a 'breather' for yourself but also a reinvigorating element in a God-centered relationship. Use your alone-time for quiet reflection, for recollecting the things you are thankful for in your relationship, and for praying for your spouse.
The tediousness of marital responsibilities can easily strip away our affection towards our spouse. But pause for a moment, and remember that sharing duties is part of your commitment as husband and wife.
Whether it's a small chore like doing the dishes or something as significant as teaching life lessons to your children, look for areas in your marriage where your partner could use some help, and provide that help.
Good-natured humor does wonders in a relationship. Next time one of you does something silly or funny, don't brush it off -- join in! Laugh at your small mistakes, engage in some harmless teasing, share jokes. Just remember to keep it pleasant and not hurtful.
Pleasant surprises came naturally when you were still getting to know each other, but what about now? It may take a bit of thoughtfulness to surprise your spouse after some years, but even the simplest things can bring an unexpected smile. It can be a short love note among their work things, a quick but sweet phone call, a simple candle-lit dinner at home, or a random gift. You don't have to spend a lot of money or time on it -- just think of the little things that can make your spouse happy.
Reading the Bible is something each Christian should regularly do, and doing this with your spouse is a great way to deepen your faith in God and your marital bond at the same time. You can explore verses using a Bible guide, or you can pick verses that have a significant meaning to you and discuss it with your partner. We found some more Bible-reading tips here.
Which of these reminders resonate in your relationship? And what's your own marriage tip for other Christian couples? Tell us in the comments!
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