Do you want to improve your marriage relationship?
Would you be willing to do a little work to make them better, sweeter, more fun, and more enjoyable?
Sometimes it takes a slight change in our focus.
Here are three keys to a successful marriage.
What are the KEYS to a Successful Marriage?
I just finished reading 6 Hearts of Intimacy, a new Christian book on the sexual relationship inside marriage. They had many good ideas on how to improve the sexual relationship. I want to focus more on the romantic side (which of course may lead to something else).
Though a hopeless romantic, it’s hard for me to come up with original ideas, to try something new. I like the simple things, having my husband look deep into my eyes, tell me why he loves me, and just showing he enjoys spending time with me.
But that’s me.
What your spouse wants may be different. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to get to know your spouse and ask what they like. Then make every effort to do it.The biggest piece of advice I can give is to get to know your spouse and ask what they like. Then make every effort to do it. Click To Tweet
To be more satisfied and fulfilled in your marriage takes putting your spouse first. As hard as it is, we have to be selfless. Hopefully, they will eventually see and appreciate your generosity and reciprocate. But we can’t go into marriage with a quid pro quo attitude: “I’ll give you want you to need, only if you give me what I need back.”
So how do we make our marriages sweeter and more enjoyable? What are some keys to a more successful marriage relationship?
First Key… Focus on the Positive.
Maintain a Positive Sentiment toward Your Spouse.
My church’s resident Marriage & Family Therapist uses the term “positive sentiment” to describe focusing on the positive. If you’re upset at or disappointed in your husband, you won’t appreciate even the good things he does. But if you’re thankful for him and feel like your relationship is pretty good, even when he messes up a little, it won’t be a big deal.
I’ve found it helpful to turn this cause and effect sequence into a formula. Here’s the math:
Negative sentiment + neutral or positive action = negative or at best neutral perspective of a spouse. A negative action will be the last straw.
Neutral sentiment + negative or positive action = negative or positive perspective of spouse. (reactive instead of responsive)
Positive sentiment + negative action = neutral perspective. Positive sentiment + neutral or positive action = positive perspective.
One of the hardest things for me to do is not allow my mind to focus on the bad, to focus on what still needs to be improved, but to train my focus to the good.
I have to be deliberate and consciously decide to choose gratitude.Find one thing you can thank God for about your spouse every day, whether a character quality or a specific task. After you pray and thank God, then thank your spouse. Click To Tweet
- Find one thing you can thank God for about your spouse every day, whether a character quality or a specific task. After you pray and thank God, then thank your spouse.
- When they do that thing that just annoys you, and they know it annoys you but they do it anyway, take a deep breath and find something better to talk about. When my husband leaves his clothes right outside his hamper, I count to three and then think, “Well, at least he’s a wonderful father. What’s the big deal if it takes me three more seconds to gather up the clothes?”
- Never complain about your husband in public! Be careful even of venting to a friend, especially if that friend isn’t great at keeping secrets. Take it to the Lord first! Then if your attitude doesn’t improve, take it to a trusted spiritual counselor or a Christian therapist.
Second Key… Focus on Getting to Know Him.
Get to Know What Your Husband Likes.
This is not about being a doormat, only catering to your husband’s every whim. This is about putting the other person in the relationship above yourself. It’s about “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, ESV). “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3, ESV).
In any relationship, we can’t be taking all the time and never giving, talking only about ourselves and never asking about them, or thinking only of our wants and needs and never about theirs. Love “does not demand its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:5a, NLT).
So this is about finding out what will make your husband feel loved the most. Study him and see what he responds to. For example:
- If he wants companionship, sit with him and talk to him while he works on his car.
- If he wants affection, kiss him goodbye every morning and/or every night before bed.
- And, if he responds to being served, offer to make him coffee every morning or pack his lunches. Offer to wash his car or whatever he needs help with.
- If he loves to be admired, leave him secret notes in his underwear drawer or his lunch bag. Make him certificates for anything you can think of and hang them around the house (or at least beside his bed). 😉
- If he loves to give and receive gifts, buy him a small gift just for being your husband (make him happy to get some perks just for choosing you). 😉 And then surprise him with a bigger gift, depending on your budget. Hint: If you don’t know what he’d like, lingerie for yourself is almost always a win-win for you both. (*wink, wink*)
Third Key… Focus on Enjoying What You Have Right Now.
Learn to let go of the past and stop looking for future happiness.Learn to let go of the past and stop looking for future happiness. Click To Tweet
This is something I had a hard time learning.
We must let go of the past. Forgiveness is so incredibly important! We can’t hold onto past hurts or keep score of who has had more needs met. Love “keeps no record of being wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:5b, NLT).
We must stop anticipating future happiness at the expense of the present. When we look forward to “someday I’ll be happier, someday he’ll be a better husband, someday we’ll have a more fulfilling marriage,” then we hang onto dissatisfaction without feeling a need to do anything about it yet. We can’t hang our hats on “someday.” We need to figure out at least one thing we can improve, one way to connect better with our spouses right now.
We also need to focus on enjoying and be grateful for what we have right now, not wishing for what we might have more in the future. This ties back into focusing on the positive. My marriage is not perfect; your marriage is not perfect. But guess what? It never will be. So we need to overlook some of the minor annoyances and stop worrying about things we can’t control. Let’s focus on the gifts our spouse has, and the gift of our spouse that God has given us.
- Take the time to enjoy looking into your husband’s eyes. Show him he still has your attention.
- Try to take the time to enjoy a quick hug or a pat on the shoulder. Show him you like touching him.
- Take the time to laugh and joke and tease and be playful with each other. My church’s resident marriage therapist just mentioned that playing together is a sure sign that the relationship is thriving. I’m not a playful person, so this one is hard for me. But I love to laugh at my husband’s great sense of humor. Tickles and winks help a lot, too.
Conclusion: If we want to improve our marriage relationships, we need to be willing to work to make them sweeter, more fun, and more enjoyable. If we slightly change our focus to thinking about the positive, to getting to know our husbands better and to enjoy what we have right now, this mindset change can help our marriages.
What is one thing you can do today to improve your marriage?What is one thing you can do today to improve your marriage? Click To Tweet
About the Author:
Lila is an author of Christian Romance novels, blogger, and homeschool mom.
She loves sushi and Mexican food, Hallmark movies, anything dark chocolate, the color purple, and reading in her pajamas. Lila, outnumbered by a houseful of males, lives with her supportive husband Chris, two energetic boys, and a hyper dog in NC.
She loves to help readers create romance in their marriages and in their spiritual walks with Jesus. You can find her at liladiller.com.
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