Beginning with the end in mind has been a theme in my last two posts (Read them here and here.)
Today we’re going to see how to begin with the end in mind in marriage.
Have you thought about how you want your marriage to be?
It’s important to have an idea of what you want your marriage to be like in 25 years’ time and work towards those goals now.
Because what you do today is what you will have tomorrow.
And what you do every day eventually becomes a habit – something you do without having to think about it.
Developing good habits early in marriage will forge a relationship that is emotionally safe. It will have spark, energy, connection, friendship.
Here are 10 ways to begin with the end in mind in marriage
2. Learn to communicate well. Good communication is a skill that can be learned. Read a book, or get advice from couples who communicate well. Practice communicating. Talk about dreams, feelings, thoughts, ideas, and fears. Agree to have no secrets between you. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Be a safe place for your spouse to open their heart.
Seek to hear and understand what your spouse is saying. Never assume you know what the other person is thinking or why they are acting the way they are. Asking, “Why did you say that?” or “Is there a reason why…?” could save a heap of trouble before it starts.
3. Cultivate a great sex life. Read books on technique if you need to (contact me for suggestions). Talk about issues you may have (all couples have sex issues, the difference is some talk about them and some don’t). Work through any past experiences that may be affecting your intimacy. Teach your spouse how to please you. Be intimate regularly – it will increase your affection, warmth, and emotional connection. Enjoy the gift God gave you as a couple.
4. Focus on the positive. Marriage is the closest human relationship and it’s inevitable that you will see your spouse’s faults. If you focus on them the positive things will fade. Never talk negatively about your spouse to friends or in public. Focus on the positive in your spouse and express appreciation regularly. Make a list of things you value about your spouse.
5. Deal with little resentments early. Don’t allow hurts and misunderstandings to build up in your heart until they turn into resentment and bitterness. If you don’t deal with them they will eat away at your relationship from the inside.
6. Keep love alive. Say ‘I love you’ every day. Kiss every day (no, not the boring kind!). Hug (full body hug, please; none of this ‘A-frame’ stuff). Flirt. Talk. Laugh. Listen. Reminisce. Do the little things that make your spouse feel loved.
7. Cultivate respect. Consult each other before making decisions about large purchases, social events, or family gatherings. It doesn’t take much to say, “Let me talk to my wife (husband) and I’ll get back to you.” Always treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated. Build each other up in front of your kids, extended family, and friends.
8. Apologize and forgive. A genuine apology doesn’t cost much besides a little humility, but it has a huge impact on your relationship. Be willing to eat humble pie and acknowledge your mistakes without being defensive. When your spouse apologizes, forgive them freely. Then let it go. Don’t hold grudges.
9. Appreciate and accept your spouse for who they are. Don’t try to change them. Allow them to be who God created them to be, not your version of themselves. Attempting to force
10. Learn to deny self. Self has a way of sneaking into everything, including marriage. Learning to let it go saves a lot of heartache and discord. When self is subdued we don’t take offense at things, we give the other person slack, we look for the best, and we give our spouse the benefit of the doubt.
For those of you who are newlyweds or have been married a short time, you have the edge on the rest of us who have been married for years and established some unhealthy marriage habits.
But, it’s not too late. Old habits do die hard but it’s not impossible to create new ones.
It takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit – that’s not much when you think of how long you will be married. It’s a small investment that will pay large dividends for many years.
Make your marriage a priority.
Get some good habits going today.
What habits do you already have in your relationship? Which ones do you need to begin? Which ones need to change?
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