Marriage takes work! It’s not always easy. Learning to work together as you learn more and more about the other person is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight!

Falling in love is the easy part. Keeping the flame burning, is where most of us get caught up. Life is busy. Having children presents challenges. Our expectations don’t always come to fruition but we can build a healthy and lasting marriage. Here are 5 tips for building a healthy marriage.

Always Seek After Growth
Let Go Of Perfection
Practice Forgiveness And Gratitude
Keep Intimacy Alive
Set Aside Time For One Another

Always Seek After Growth

This tip is key in any relationship and quite frankly, in life! If both parties are willing to learn from their mistakes and work together in overcoming whatever challenges they face, their marriage is certain to thrive. Being a lifelong learner means your open to hearing other perspectives. That your willing to listen…and not just listen, but listen with the goal to understand. It’s not to say that your voice doesn’t matter. It simply means your willing to hear what the other person has to say before you share your own thoughts and feelings because you care about what they have to share.

Learning to put the other person ahead of ourselves is huge when it comes to communicating with our partners. It registers with the other person that their thoughts and feelings matter and helps to keep an openness in receiving what is being communicated. When this happens, both people feel free to share what’s on their mind because they’ve established a standard of trust. That what is being spoken will be respected and that it won’t fall on deaf ears. Your spouse wants to know that you desire to understand where they’re coming from. When these communication habits are formed, your sure to grow with one another.

Let Go Of Perfection

Just in case anyone is wondering…perfection doesn’t exist. So why hold onto something that you can’t attain? Let alone, put it one someone else to achieve. Perfection in a marriage often comes down to what we expect out of a marriage. We have certain ideas and visions for what our marriage looks like. Now and in the future. Expectations themselves are okay when they’re communicated and agreed upon. Marriages with high expectations, however, usually come to a head.

If you don’t discuss your expectations with one another there will always be a sense of unfulfillment and often times what comes after that is resentment. Communicating about what you expect in your marriage relationship will help you to avoid disputes and ultimately bring you closer together as you won’t be wallowing in self pity because the other person didn’t fulfill your needs. Lets face it, you can’t expect people to read your mind.

Practice Forgiveness And Words Of Gratitude

Forgiveness goes a long way. Not only does it release the other person. It releases you. It’s often said that the one who is unforgiving experiences the most heartache. It’s true! Most of what we hold onto when it comes to offenses, grudges and just plain unforgiveness; hurts us more than it does the other person. This is because half the time they don’t even realize that they’ve offended or hurt you, so life goes on like any other day. All the while, your stewing in your hurts and offenses and it only builds over time. This can be a weapon in a marriage!

Approaching your marriage with the intent to always forgive will have dramatic effects on the health of your relationship. Communication is key when it comes to working through these hurts and knowing the other person is there to receive what you have to share can make all the difference. There’s solidity within a relationship that is built on honesty, trust and forgiveness. Expressing words of gratitude only adds to this. People thrive on affirmation and your spouse is no different. Let them know why your thankful for them and make it a point to tell them thank you for what they attribute to your day to day lives and your marriage as a whole.

Keep Intimacy Alive

This can be a hard one for many couples. If your at the point where the marriage is already rocky or on the brink of falling apart, the idea of intimacy seems unattainable, but don’t lose hope! It’s not the end. Rekindling the flame is possible. It will take what we talked about earlier; forgiveness and words of gratitude. It’s not easy in the beginning, but if there’s still a desire to make the marriage work, it can happen. And when it does, keep fanning that flame!

Intimacy is built. It requires effort. It’s created when two people come together and share themselves openly and honestly. We all want to be loved. To not just know that we’re loved, but experience the love that others have for us. We desire to be pursued by our spouse and that isn’t just in the beginning when we first met. When you work on building intimacy in your marriage, you work towards building all the aspects of what intimacy has to offer. Not just the physical. Given time, that intimacy that was once unattainable in your mind, is a forethought as you naturally operate out of a place that desires to show your spouse just how much you love them.

Set Aside Time For One Another

Life gets busy. The old saying, ‘there’s not enough time in the day’ seems to hold true. We fill up our schedules with so many to do’s, responsibilities, appointments… and the list goes on. Were quick to pencil in kids activities, time at the gym, a meeting at the coffee shop or time with friends before even thinking about setting aside time with our spouse. We take for granted their presence in our lives because they don’t demand our time like our children or because somewhere we think they will always be there, so we can get around to quality time together when things slow down.

Life doesn’t usually slow down. More often, it speeds up! Then, by the time you do get around to being more intentional about quality time with your spouse, it’s too late. They feel forgotten, unwanted, unloved, under appreciated and plain disconnected. We all have 24 hours within the day. It’s what we do with them that matters, so being intentional about time spent together is key to keeping a marriage healthy and thriving.

For those with children, your children are absolutely important, but even more important is them seeing that you place value and importance in one another. No amount of kids activities will ever amount to the lesson you will teach through this example as parents. Placing each other as a priority is foundational for everyone’s upbringing.

Remember, love is a verb. It requires action from both parties. And it’s not just a once and done kind of deal. Building a healthy marriage takes time and energy. Two things that we don’t always feel like we have, but we can make it a priority to be intentional. To create habits that will become the ebb and flow of a marriage that is lasting. A healthy marriage. A thriving marriage.