Take Responsibility for what you can control… YOURSELF!!
Most people easily recognize problems and behaviors that need correcting in their spouse, while ignoring or excusing their OWN issues. But Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 to take care of our own issues before we deal with someone else’. That principle applies to marriage because it is more helpful to the health of our relationship and our personal peace to focus on being all God wants us to be instead of giving needless attention to things that are beyond our ability to control and/or change.
More Compliments… Less Criticism
We have learned and challenged our church to begin to use something called the 3-to-1 Rule. This “rule” simply states that for every time we plan to say something critical of our spouse, we would first offer him/her 3 compliments. In saying this, we recognize that there are appropriate times to point out places where our spouse can improve or has errored, however at all cost we MUST avoid red words! What are Red Words you ask? These are words that wound and are spoken without the intention of building up but tearing down. Take it from us, it is best to avoid Red Words at all cost!!
Become fluent in your spouse’s Love Language
All of us give and receive love in different ways. Some are more touchy feely and some need more audible encouragement. However, there are 5 basic ways that we all communicate our loving intentions. It is up to us as individuals to understand how our spouse receives love so that we can give them what they need. For further explanation of number 3 Google Gary Chapman’s Love Language and complete the Love Language’s Assessment (there is one for singles, couples and even children).
Pray for your marriage on a regular basis
This one may seem rather rudimentary, but we have found in our experience that few couples actually practice this VERY important principle. Because marriage was created by God, it requires a spiritual connection in order to achieve in it everything it was intended to be. Through prayer God communicates with us and makes His will known to us so that we are able to love and support each other through the most difficult of days… Your spouse is counting on you to keep them covered so that the two of you can stay connected!
Accept your spouse for who they are…not for who you want them to be
Let’s face it! Somethings about the person that you said “I do to” are NEVER going to change. So a healthy, practical approach is to accept it and lower your expectations of perfection! We ALL miss the mark many times and we need the grace of God to carry us through those times. Now if we accept that as true for ourselves, why would things be any different for the person that we are married to? Besides, the more we receive from God, the less we will need from others, including our spouse.
Hopefully you find our tips helpful.