Turn Newlywed Bliss into a Lasting Marriage
- Thursday, June 09, 2005
Maintain your connection. Whenever you become disconnected from your spouse (such as when one of you is on a business trip, or is too busy or ill to spend quality time as a couple), reconnect as soon as possible. Clear your schedule of activities with other people so you can spend time together. Do activities that you both find fun. Genuinely and carefully listen to your spouse. Have sex. Protect one-on-one time with your spouse so you can cultivate your marriage.
Communicate well. Make your communication free, open, and frequent. Create an atmosphere where both you and your spouse can honestly share whatever you're thinking, feeling, and desiring.
Try to talk about things before they become emotionally charged. Avoid making accusatory statements toward your spouse. Avoid making things personal if they could be perceived as hurtful. Give your spouse enough time to finish a story, make a point, or complete a thought. Use relaxed body language. Pray before responding. Focus on sharing how an issue or event makes you feel. Repeat back to your spouse what you think he or she said. Always make eye contact. Make sure the tone of your voice isn't too harsh and negative.
Be aware that conflict is most likely to arise whenever you or your spouse is sick, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, so avoid discussing controversial issues then. Before diving into a discussion, ask your spouse whether or not it's a good time to do so. Identify unhealthy patterns in the way you communicate, and work to change them.
Handle your money wisely. Consider whether you and your spouse are natural savers, natural spenders, or one of each. Figure out what money means to both of you, and what it buys for you emotionally. Remember that all of your money is a gift from God. Trust Him to provide everything you need.
Streamline your finances by merging your individual bank accounts, credit cards, retirement plans, etc. as much as possible to joint ventures so they'll be easy and quick to track. Check a current credit report on yourself, and also your spouse. Develop a monthly budget.
Talk with your spouse about your expectations for spending and set limits together. Decide who will be responsible for duties such as paying bills and balancing the checkbook. Notify your health, life, and auto insurance companies that your marital status has changed. Set up a filing system for financial paperwork. Get out of debt as soon as you can. Give generously to God's work on Earth, through your local church, charities, and elsewhere.
Get rid of excess stuff. Give away, sell, or throw out things you don't need or haven't used recently. If you buy something new, get rid of something old. Keep a few well-organized boxes of sentimental items such as childhood treasures.
Stay physically fit. Don't let yourself go now that you're married. Encourage each other - but don't nag or criticize - to exercise regularly. Work out together when you can. Be willing to spend more to buy healthy food. Eat at home on a regular basis and save unhealthy restaurant meals for special occasions. Take walks together.
Keep the spark in your sex life. Don't let life's demands get in the way of sex with your spouse. Proactively schedule times for sex, as frequently as possible. Talk candidly with each other about how to improve your sexual experiences together. Pray about your sex life and constantly work to make it exciting.
Be the best husband you can be. Study your wife to learn as much as you can about her. Discover activities you can enjoy doing together. Serve God together in a joint ministry of some kind. Commit to telling your wife the whole truth all the time. As the spiritual leader of the family, take time to study Scripture and pray for your wife often. Be on your guard against sexual temptation, and strive to protect your wife's heart.
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