Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Philip Wagner’s new book The Marriage Makeover: 10 Days to a Stronger, More Intimate Relationship (Authentic Publishers, 2014).

Unresolved issues between you and your spouse can make your marriage messy – and a messy marriage can discourage you to the point where you lose hope that your marriage can ever improve. But no matter how messy your marriage is, it can significantly improve in just 10 days if you dedicate yourself to changing the environment of your relationship during that time. If you change the environment of your marriage – from one that’s hostile, cold, and distant to one that’s trusting, warm, and embracing – you’ll create a safe and promising atmosphere in which you both can successfully work on the issues between you.

Here’s how you can give your marriage a makeover in only 10 days:

Start with the right attitude. Approach your marriage with an unselfish, loving attitude that’s conducive to bringing out the best in each other. Rather than focusing on what your spouse can do for you, focus on how you can serve your spouse in a way that will produce love and respect in your marriage. That will set the stage for positive change to occur in your relationship with each other.

Day 1: Make your marriage a top priority in your life. Honestly consider how much time and energy you spend on your marriage every day, versus other relationships (such as with your children and friends) and activities (such work and watching TV) in your life. Make a conscious choice to avoid neglecting your marriage by giving it your full attention as one of your top priorities every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day so your marriage is at the forefront of your thoughts. Look for opportunities to nurture your relationship with your spouse regularly, such as date nights. Eliminate excess activities from your schedule so you’ll be free to spend time together to grow your marriage. Let your spouse know how important he or she is to you, through both your words and your actions.

Day 2: Honor each other. Pray for the ability to see your spouse from God’s perspective, which will inspire you to honor each other’s true worth. You can honor each other by loving and respecting each other unconditionally – no matter what – as a way of honoring the fact that God has made you both in his image. Take advantage of opportunities to communicate encouraging messages to your spouse and serve your spouse through acts of kindness.

Day 3: Admire your spouse. Move beyond simply tolerating your spouse to truly appreciating him or her, and expressing genuine admiration that will improve your marriage. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see how your differences (in personality, background, strengths, weaknesses, and gender) can complement each other so that you all can accomplish more together than you can apart. Remember why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place, and express your admiration to your spouse in fresh ways.

Day 4: Build greater trust between you. Trust is vital to the health of your marriage, but in order to develop more trust in your relationship, each of you has to work to earn it from each other by being trustworthy. Pray for the wisdom you need to know what to do to earn a deeper level of trust from your spouse. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you when you’re not giving trust to your spouse when he or she deserves it from you. After either one of you breaks the trust between you (such as by lying or cheating), confess, repent, and do whatever it takes to restore trust over time so you all can feel safe with each other again.