It’s the beginning of a new year and of course, January is filled with new years resolutions. Everyone seems to be trying to start the new year off right. The gyms are packed and people are inspired. But, lets be honest, a few days ago people were wanting to write hate mail to 2013 and set it on fire. Loved ones have passed, families are falling apart and marriages are failing.
Failing. From the moment Kevin and I got engaged, I began praying for God to strengthen our marriage, to show us how to be good spouses. I have probably spent weeks in prayer about this, because I see the reality of the world. Marriages are failing. & I refuse to let mine fail.
So, for 2014, refuse to let yours fail. Take steps to strengthen your marriage.
1. Listen To Each Other
I have always considered myself a good listener until recently. I find myself wanting to be heard, or wanting to get my opinion across instead of fully listening to my husband’s words. There is something beautiful about really listening to what your spouse is saying/feeling without having to get a word in or steer the conversation in your direction.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” – James 1:19
2. Forgive One Another
You aren’t going to feel free until you forgive one another completely. Are you holding onto something that happened before your marriage? Are you resentful of things in your marriage? Let them go. Don’t blame one another or hold resentment a day longer. Unforgiveness = living in bondage. Set yourself and your marriage free through grace.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:15
3. Date Like You Are 16
Me and Kevin were actually dating when we were 16, so I can clearly picture us. I mean be playful. Be fun. Be energetic. When you first start dating, all you think about is the other person. You talk on the phone for hours, just to hear the sound of their voice. You get nervous at their touch. You want to look into each others eyes for hours. Nothing else matters. Remember those feelings. Date like that. Look at your spouse, and see that person you fell in love with – the person you couldn’t get off your mind. Sometimes, Kevin still gives me butterflies and I never want that feeling to go away.
Let your fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of your youth. – Proverbs 5:18
4. Laugh Uncontrollably
I will say that this is one of my favorite things about our marriage and I consider it to be one of the things that keeps us thriving. Kevin makes me laugh everyday. We can be in the middle of a disagreement, I can be all mad and upset – then he just makes me laugh. Be fun and goofy with your spouse. Have a water fight in the house. Be happy together. Lay in bed and tell old funny stories about your relationship. Smile. Laugh.
“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” – Proverbs 15:13
5. Be Selfless
Marriage isn’t always going to be equal. Some weeks, you might feel like you are carrying 75% of the burden, and some weeks your husband might feel that way. Love isn’t about keeping track of who did the dishes when, or cleaned the house last. These things can come in-between your marriage so quickly. It is easy to become prideful in who did this and who did that. But remember that Christ loves us unconditionally and that is how we are called to love. Selflessly.
“love is not self-seeking..” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
6. Kill Technology
Seriously, this is the hardest one for me. You can normally find me with my iPhone glued to my hand or the computer on my lap, and sometimes both at the same time. When it comes to spending time with your spouse, put down your phone and focus on one another. If your out to dinner, have a no phone rule at the table. When your at home, watching a movie or tv show, put your phone down and just be together. There are too many things in this world trying to distract you. Don’t let technology distract you from really spending time with your spouse.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. – Ephesians 4:29
7. Text It Up
In the next breath, technology can spice up your marriage. Its 10 or 11am, you are settled in at work, the day is moving and your phone goes off with a text from your spouse. “I love you, I hope your day is going good” or ” I can’t wait to see you tonight”. Let your spouse know that you are thinking about them. Basically, flirt with them. If you want to get real fancy, you can leave notes around for them or send flowers, etc. Basically, let your spouse know they are on your mind, that your heart is with them.
“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” – Song of Solomon 8:7
8. Worship Together
There is something extremely intimate about going to church and worshiping with your husband. For me, I feel like I am pouring out my heart and growing towards Christ. When you share that with your spouse, your relationship deepens, because you let them into an aspect of your heart.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20
9. Show Affection
Yes, you are married, so yes, you should act like it. I’m not saying go all “get a room” style in public affection… but subtle public affection and “get a room” private affection. lol. Lets face it, we were created to be intimate with our spouse. But, I believe that it means more than just showing up at night, its about the spiritual and emotional connection you experience with your spouse. It can’t be just physical, if it is, it will just be temporal and meaningless.
“My lover is mine, and I am his” – Song of Solomon 2:16
10. Pray Together
Prayer is one of the most powerful and meaningful things we can do for our marriage. Not only are we told to pray in scripture–we’re told to pray without ceasing. I want to be a praying wife. I want to cover my husband in prayer, a few weeks ago, I wrote this post about verses to pray over your husaband and it has been such a great guide for me. There is also great value in praying together. I know that if you haven’t done this a lot in your relationship, it can be akward. Lets be honest, you are baring your sole and confessing your sins during prayer. You are talking to a holy God who is all knowing and all powerful. This makes prayer very intimate and vunrable, so of course, it can be a bit of a struggle to do this with someone else at first. But, trust me, it is powerful.
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 My prayer is that your marriage and mine would thrive in 2014. & for all you single ladies, my prayer is that your heart and your future husband’s heart would be filled with a love for Christ and yearning for His Word.