A few years ago, I told my husband I felt that someday we would be called to work with couples. I presented it as a heads-up, almost as a warning: prepare yourself. Since then, I’ve wondered what that call might look like. Is it the book I compiled, The Heart of Marriage? Is it the essential oils information I’ve shared with couples for intimacy? Will we contribute to a marriage workshop someday? Should I write more about the topic here at (in)courage?
Thanks to Pinterest, social media, and the fact that our private lives are more public than they’ve ever been, many couples focus more on preparing for their wedding than their future. But tending a marriage requires work and intention.
We fell in love almost by accident. I didn’t plan to meet my future husband during the last month of my senior year of high school when I thought my college plans and future were set. But we haven’t been together half of our lives by chance. Recently, we examined our nearly thirty-four years of marriage, what has worked and what hasn’t, and I’d like to share some things we’ve learned along the way.
I pray they help to fireproof your marriage in the good seasons and extinguish the flames when things feel out of control.
- Don’t bad mouth your husband in front of your children or anyone else. Over the years my husband occasionally comes home from work and simply says, “Thank you.” Those are days when he’s listened to co-workers complain about their spouses, and he’s extra grateful for our commitment not to go there.
- Invest in friendships and group activities that support your marriage and avoid those that don’t. If a friend, either married or single, discourages you in the area of your marriage, it’s time to rethink how much time you spend with that friend. I’ve heard of couples who’ve left their church small group because of negative talk and attitudes about marriage from the other couples.
- Thank your husband for what he does to support you and your family; respect and affirm him. We all like to be appreciated and know that what we do doesn’t go unnoticed. I tell my kids to thank my husband too. An attitude of gratitude creates a positive environment.
- Date your husband (get away when you can). Unless there’s a conflict, Sunday evenings are our date nights; we take additional ones whenever we can. Date nights can keep you connected as a couple, which is especially good if you have busy schedules and/or kids. Trips away as a couple are great too, although we only seem to manage them every few years. For budget-friendly possibilities, it’s worth it it to check Airbnb or VRBO.
- Keep a couples’ journal. Write love notes back and forth to each other in a journal. This is especially good if either of you has trouble openly expressing your feelings. DaySpring has nice options here and here.
- Let your kids know your husband comes first and that you are a team. It’s important for your children to see that your relationship with your husband is a priority. You were together before they arrived and you should be together when they’re grown with families of their own. Your kids need your time but your husband does too.
- Set phone reminders. If you have a smartphone or smartwatch, set alarms that remind you to pray for or text your husband when you’re apart.
- Forgive as we are forgiven. When feelings get hurt or offenses occur — and they will — be willing to forgive, whether or not you get a sincere apology. This can be hard, but God modeled it for us when He willingly sacrificed His son and forgave us everything. In this light, how can we justify withholding forgiveness?
And be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:32 (CSB)
What is something you and your husband do to fireproof your marriage?
Tending a marriage requires work and intention. -@DawnMHSH: Click To Tweet