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So many of us will be making New Years resolutions. Some will stick to them and some will start off great but slowly deflate like a balloon. As part of our New Year, New You series we will be talking about different topics on how to strive for a better you. This includes our own-selves but also our home, family and friends. Todays topic is Keeping a Healthy Marriage. I am by all means not a marriage counselor and I am not an expert but I can tell you that I have been married to my better half for over 19 years and I have learned a lot. It wasn’t always easy but we made it work because we love each other. I now have the kind of relationship with my husband that I never dreamed of. He is literally my best friend.

SELFISHNESS – The #1 killer of all marriages. Selfishness is being concerned, sometimes excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others. When you said I DO, you made a promise to God to love, honor and cherish your spouse. I don’t know how you can honor that vow when you are always thinking of yourself. Some couples can get so wrapped up in themselves that they have no clue that they are acting in a manner that is causing chaos in their home. Some questions you may want to think about or ask yourself is………….

  • When you make a decision do you ask yourself , how will this affect my spouse, did I include my spouse in this decision?
  • Do you put your spouse first? Putting your spouse first may actually sometimes be an inconvenience but you do it because you love them. If you found $10 on the ground, what is the first thing you think about? Yea, I am getting some Starbucks today or I think I’ll stop on the way home and get my spouse a (insert whatever it is he/she likes). Matthew 26:41 says the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. It’s not always easy to put our spouse first. For some it may take practice.
  • When you do something nice for your spouse does it always come with a stipulation? For example I will watch the kids for you but I expect to be able to do (insert whatever it is you schemed up). When you do something for your spouse it should be out of love not because you want something in return. That just makes your act of kindness null and void.
  • Do you find it difficult to compromise?

FINANCES – This is another big problem in marriages but usually comes from being selfish as well. I’ve never understood his and her bank accounts. When I stayed at home with my children and my husband worked it wasn’t “his money” and when my husband got sick and couldn’t work and I ended up going back to work while he stayed home it wasn’t “my money”. It was always “our money”. We made the decision a long time ago to include each others thoughts on almost all of our financial purchases. Check out my post on Couples and Finance for more tips.

TIME ALONE – Time alone is very important in a marriage. It’s a time to recharge those batteries and enjoy in each others company. You should have a desire to want to have this time with your spouse. If you don’t desire this time that should raise a red flag and it’s something you need to stop and take a look at.

  • Discussions – You need to set some time away to discuss family matters, things that bother you and honestly pray together. It’s important to tell your spouse when something is bothering you. Your spouse isn’t a magician and they can’t read your mind. Just remember to do it loveingly. One of the most important things when talking to each other is learning to listen to one another without butting in. Don’t spew your frustrations on your spouse and then become defensive when it’s their time to talk. Don’t try and interrupt them in the middle of a sentence because you may be missing important information that your spouse is try to convey to you. Never go into an argument or discussion with an I am always right attitude or you won’t accomplish anything. NEVER EVER fight in front of your kids. This is definitely another act of selfishness. If you can’t hold it together long enough to ask your spouse if you can talk to them in the other room then you need to take a good hard look at your temper. There is no reason for your child to have to worry about adult decisions and you definitely don’t want to create an enviorment for your child to think that, that is how they should treat their spouse when they grow up. They are taking notes believe it or not both mental and psychological notes. Check out Understanding the Five Love Languages from Focus on the Family.
  • Date Night – This is a must and I cannot stress how important it is. My husband and I made a decision in the last couple of years that we do date night every Friday night. Of course we had to be flexible in that, maybe sometimes it was a Saturday if something happened. I hear people say all the time, I wish we had time to do date night, almost making it sound like a snide remark that we have lots of money or that they are jealous or something. Well I can tell you our date nights don’t come without sacrifice. We don’t hang out with friends as often as we’d like because choose to take that time to work on our marriage. Would we like to hang out with our friends more? Of course we would but what is more important? We also save up for our date nights. This means maybe we have to miss a Starbucks or not eating out. We sign up for coupons from our favorite restaurants and movie theaters, whatever it takes for us to keep our date night commitment. Maybe you use the excuse that you don’t have a sitter? This excused is played out all to often. Who says you have to go out to have date night. Put the kids to bed 30 mins early, run a bubble bath, light some candles and lock your doors. How about popping some popcorn, renting a romantic movie and locking your door. No one says you have to spend a lot of money either.

Never Go To Bed Mad –

My husband and I made a pact a long time ago to never go to bed mad. Oh boy this was a tough one to keep and let me tell you it took some work but has been a huge blessing to our marriage. Think of an argument as a splinter even the smallest splinter if left alone can fester and get infected if not treated properly. If you’re feeling angry towards your spouse it’s best not to sleep on it. Take some time to discuss and I promise you that you will see a huge difference in your marriage.

I encourage you to take some time to read Ephesians 5:21-33. I also reccommend getting the book The Love Dare and having you and your spouse both participate in it.

What are some of the ways you and your spouse try to keep a healthy marriage?

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