The health of your marriage is dependent on you. You shouldn’t get married and then think, well, this is it. I no longer have to go on dates, or get to know my spouse. Your mindset should be quite the opposite. What defines a healthy marriage is that you are always striving to get to know one another on a deeper level every single day. If you think this is hard work, you’re right. But in the end, you will be happier, knowing that you did everything you could to make your marriage succeed and last.
How to Maintain a Healthy Marriage by Setting Goals
36 Habits of Emotionally Healthy Couples
Relationships, whether it’s with a friend or a family member, is something you have to work at in order for it to grow—there is a give and take that needs to take place.
God instilled in us a desire for companionship; community. But because humans are so fragile—and the world, and what it was intended to be was changed—relationships have distorted from us wanting to fulfil one another’s needs to wanting our own needs fulfilled.
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Since the dawn of sin, relationships as God intended them have taken a turn for the worse. Loneliness will be the next epidemic of our current culture, as social media continues to eliminate our need for healthy human interaction. But even though we may not realize it, we still NEED one another.
We desire to have that, because it was instilled in us, and is apart of us. To recognize this need for one another is the first step in knowing what it takes to have a healthy marriage.
But needing one another can also turn into an unhealthy habit.
While God created us to need one another, it should never replace our need for God. You are complete without your spouse because of God.
You should never look to your spouse to make you always and forever happy.
So while there are healthy needs we have in marriage, we have to balance it with our dependance on God, and for Him to first and foremost be our everything. If both people in a relationship are doing this, then meeting one another’s needs will come naturally as God shows you how to best love your spouse.
For couples to succeed in this day and age, they need to make a conscious effort to continue to get to know one another, grow together, and most importantly—grow personally.
Here are some ideas to keep your marriage strong, so that you and your spouse can continue to grow and change with one another.
Habits of a Healthy Marriage
One of the first things our pre-marital counselor told us was to pray together. Powerful things happen when you do this. Not only will it remind you of who is in control of your circumstances, but it gets you both on the same page as to who guides you, directs you, and fights for you.
God is on your side. He didn’t create the most beautiful union so that you could be left to figure it out for yourselves. He wants you to come to Him with your struggles, victories, and everything in between.
When you invite God into your marriage, you can begin to fight your battles on the same team, with a God who loves you, by your side.
Go to bed together
I know this is hard for some of you. While one person is wanting to go to bed early, the other comes alive at night. I’m not saying you should NEVER go to bed separately, but don’t make it a habit.
Eat meals together
I don’t know what it is about food, but it brings people together in a profound way.
Family meals are said to be the best asset in maintaining a healthy marriage and family life. One part of making a healthy environment for eating meals with one another, is to set the scene. I used to be one of those ‘“get it over with” type of people, until I started enjoying even the everyday things of life and really making an effort to make each day special and unique in and of itself.
I started setting the table—use nice dinnerware, put on a seasonal tablecloth, display flowers and a candle in the center to create some intimacy. I started taking a little more time with my meals to make them delicious.
Also, when it comes to meals, cooking them together is another amazing habit of a healthy relationship.
When you really take time to enjoy the little things in life, it will benefit your health, as well as your marriage.
Don’t take everything so seriously
After being married for ten years, I have finally come to a place where I don’t take things too seriously—I hope this comes earlier for you. I don’t know why, but I finally realized that I can’t control most outcomes, so why even try.
I don’t mean in a cynical way, but recognizing that God’s in control type of way.
I can trust that my and my husband’s future are in good hands.
When you can finally let go in your marriage, prepare for your relationship to go to a whole new level. Make sure you are creating ways to laugh together and have fun. This is a great list of things you can do together for date nights to once again ignite the passion in your marriage.
Choose your battles
This is another aspect that took awhile for us to implement into our marriage. Fight like hell for the battles that will win the war, but let go of the one’s that will destroy everything.
It’s a talent to know what those things are, so pay very close attention—it makes all the difference.
Forgive and move forward
Forgiveness is, in my opinion, the most important goal you should have for you marriage. Check out my blog post…
Trust one another
Another one of those must have goals for a healthy marriage. When you don’t trust one another, then it makes it hard to grow with one another as those strongholds will get in the way of true intimacy.
Trust isn’t something that comes easily in a marriage, so check out my blog about how you can trust one another, especially if something devastating has happened in your marriage.
My husband and I go through season of this. I LOVE it when we open a bottle of wine, find a good recipe, and cook together in the kitchen—we work together to create something beautiful and delicious. There is something about food and relationships.
It’s a therapeutic practice that should be implemented into every relationship.
If you aren’t an avid cook, then maybe this is more stressful for you than anything. But I am a little biased—I believe that anyone can cook, and learn how to love it.
Be open and honest about everything
It’s not easy to always be honest. We might hurt someone with honesty. But trust me, it’s better to be honest than to hide. Once you let little lies and deceit enter your marriage, the little ones become big ones.
From there, your marriage will be fighting an uphill battle that almost never succeeds.
Check out Why do Men Lie?
Be on the same team
With your parenting, your relationships, your housework. Being on the same team is one of the most important goals you should have as a couple. When you begin to stop fighting one another, and realize you’re on the same team, your relationship will go to a whole new level.
Show physical affection in public
Showing affection to one another in public doesn’t seem like a huge deal. But why should you act differently to the world than you do at home?
Sometimes, we worry about what people think, or we just aren’t comfortable. But it’s all the more reason to stop worrying about others, and focus on the health of your relationship. Who cares what the world thinks—and by the way, I bet the only thing they are thinking is, I wish I had that.
Let one another have alone and unwind time
Along with being together, you should also have a healthy balance in that. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to have alone time. In fact, it’s necessary for a strong marriage.
But communicate with one another as to what that looks like so expectations aren’t being misunderstood.
Go on frequent dates
Whether it’s a coffee, a drink, a dinner—make times to get out and about. For some reason when my husband and I go out, it forces us to talk a little more in-depth about our lives. I think part of that is because we are removed from our common space, and can’t get distracted with things that need to be done around the house.
If you have kids, this becomes even more vital.
Check out this incredible list of unique and adventurous date night ideas and get a free printable!
Go out with your friends, together, and alone
Encourage one another in your friendships. People need friends, community, and someone to talk to other than your significant other.
Encourage one another in your talents and desires
I find it a shame when couples can’t support one another in what they’re good at. This can be damaging to your marriage, and in extremes—end it. If you want your spouse to succeed in life, it’s important that you nurture, encourage, and support them in what they love to do for an occupation or hobby.
But again, communication here is key. Most often in marriage, we will have to sacrifice something we love if it’s damaging to our marriage.
Have sex at least once a week—better yet twice
A healthy sex life is VITAL in a marriage—for many reasons. I don’t think I need to explain exactly why, but let’s just say, it can make or break a relationship. Many people say that only the man needs sex, but I think that’s absolutely false.
It should be a mutual bond, where both partners are equally satisfied. If it’s not, then something is off and don’t be afraid to go get counsel about it. Your marriage will thank you.
Have at least 30 min daily of sharing your heart and mind
Sharing your deepest thoughts and desires are sometimes seen as something you only share with your gal pal. It shouldn’t be this way. The more you open and up and share with your partner, the better. Just make sure you check out how to communicate effectively, first.
My husband and I have started journaling individually what we learned throughout the day, then we connect in the evening and share with one another our thoughts. It’s a great way to connect on a deeper level and grow closer to one another.
Apologize if you did something wrong
No one likes to apologize, but you know as well as I that admitting you’re wrong usually does amazing things in your marriage. It takes a lot of selflessness to admit you’re wrong. Your partner will see this as an act of love, and a fight that is headed in disaster can take a quick turn for the better if you can learn to apologize in your marriage.
plan a vacation together
Going on vacation does things to people. Do it. Now. Unless you don’t have the money—save up for it.
Parent your kids on the same page
This goes hand in hand with having team work. Parenting can be a hard thing for couples to see eye to eye on. But working at having the same mind when it comes to parenting will also be a good thing for your children. When you aren’t on the same team, your kids will get confused, they will use it against you—it becomes a big mess.
Just remember that it’s not only important for your children, but also for you.
Don’t go to bed angry
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. This is good advice, people—straight out of the Bible. This doesn’t mean that you need to work out your fight before bed — sometimes our worst fights were late at night when we were exhausted — but at least resolve it in your own mind. Forgive your spouse, and don’t let the sun go down on your anger. But if things need to simmer down for a night, that’s okay, too!
Here are the rest that kind of explain themselves.
consider one another more important than yourself
compliment one another for your qualities
talk about the hard things—don’t let them fester
have grace for one another
show kindness and understanding when they don’t do things the same as you
hold one another to a higher standard, but don’t criticize
learn how to communicate better
don’t tally up one another’s wrongs
do adventurous, outside of your comfort zone things together
make a special meal and have a date night in
spend quality time together
Marriage should be something that you enjoy, just as it was created to do. If you feel alone in your marriage, it can be the most daunting and horrific feeling—worse than being alone and not married.