There was an old joke that said if you want to drive someone crazy put them in a round room and tell them to sit in the corner… Got it? Yeah, it’s impossible. Anyone who has been married at least 5 years or more should know something else that’s impossible… You can’t change your spouse! Nor should you want to. Proverbs 18:11a says it best “He who finds a wife finds a good thing…” that means God did God’s part and if there’s something wrong with your spouse, “it happened on your watch!” to quote one of our favorite marriage retreat facilitators Rev. Cliff Ashe. The reality is that none of us can change our spouse, but we can change ourselves. We pulled together steps that you can take to take your good
marriage and make it great.
Work to communicate better – there are many factors that contribute to challenges in a marriage. Intimacy, Finances, and Communication are what we call the Big Three. But they are almost always rooted in communication. If you continually work on how you communicate with your spouse, you will see the difference. Maybe it’s the way you respond. Could it possibly be your timing? Or could you do something about your body language? Try identifying one aspect of the way you communicate with your spouse and explore ways to make it better.
Prioritize quality time - Make time for your spouse and the things that he or she likes to do. Do you have a regular date night? Have you taken a trip together lately? If you have children in the home, do you make it a point to give your spouse time even when kids activities keep you busy? Remember, when you were dating you spent lots of time together. Make sure you are doing your part to make that quality time a priority.
Cultivate a positive atmosphere filled with gratitude - Do you approach each day with your spouse focused on possibilities? Do you consistently express gratitude to your spouse for the things that they do every day? When your spouse cooks dinner do you say thank you? When your spouse takes out the trash do you tell them you appreciate them? Do you say good morning with a smile? Positivity breeds positivity. Gratitude breeds even more gratitude. When you spouse speaks, do you “assume good intent” about whatever they say? These are just a few examples of how you can foster positivity and gratitude in your marriage.
Foster personal growth and a healthy mind, body, and spirit - One of the best ways to bring even more joy in your marriage is for you to spend time with your own personal growth. Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit will help you be a better spouse. Do you spend time with God daily? If not, could you start giving God 15 minutes per day? If you already spend time with God daily, that’s great. Do you pray for your spouse daily? Do you pray with your spouse daily. Do you exercise on a consistent basis? These are all areas that will help you and as a result benefit your marriage.
Study your spouse and feed their Love Language – Yes, study your spouse. Do you know theirLove Language? Many of us have taken the assessment and know exactly what language speaks love to our spouse. But even if you haven’t taken the assessment, closely observe your spouse and you can tell if they need Words of Affirmation or like you to do Acts of Service or spend Quality Time or if they crave Physical Touch or if they prefer Gifts. The more you know about your spouse and their Love Language and the more you feed that language, the greater you will make your marriage.
There are several other steps you can take, of course. But examine these 5 steps and consider how you might do your part in taking your marriage from good to great, from great to greater, or from just okay to awesome.
One bonus step you could take is to sign up today for the 2023 Heart of Marriage Retreat: Better Me, Better Us. We’ll show you lots of ways you can help make your marriage the best that it can be.