It is easy to fall in love, but to stay in love requires more hard work and patience. Saying “I do” takes just a few seconds, but talking about problems and fixing them may take days, months, or even years to solve, if never. Some couples raise their hands up and give up, because it is easier to say “It’s over” rather than take the hard road of learning and acceptance.
Getting married is not like a fairy tale that ends at “happily ever after”. Marriage goes beyond the wedding—there’s the honeymoon stage, the child-rearing stage, the retirement age, and so on. Within these stages will the spouses get to know more about each other and learn things that they never knew even after years and years of being together as a couple. Some partners change during the course of the marriage, and it is but natural to happen. The question is—how did they manage to stay in love and grow together as a married couple?
Every marriage is special and unique, but there are universal ways to keep the relationship strong and happy.
1. Do accept each other’s differences.
A long-lasting, happy marriage does not mean that the couple has everything in common and never argues. There will always be differences between a man and a woman because you are two individuals who have come together in a marriage. Getting married does not change who you are as a person, and it is the same with your partner. Don’t nitpick and start arguments because of your partner’s “annoying” habits. Don’t try to resolve the unresolvable because you will only end up disappointed for doing the impossible. Be able to come to terms with your irreconcilable differences and you’ll both be happy.
2. Don’t leave things unsaid.
We are not born with ESP; thus, your partner cannot read your mind. Don’t expect your spouse to immediately know your problems if you don’t communicate it. Speak up to your partner, first and foremost, before anybody else because it is you two who are involved. Only you two can solve your problems about the marriage.
3. Do speak plainly.
Leave mind games back to high school courtship. Being married involves being honest with your feelings and to your spouse. It may be tempting to hurt somebody who loves you because of that power play, but do not test the other person or your relationship may turn sour. Trust the other person enough to respect your feelings. If you keep your guard up, you are only setting up huge barriers between each other, which does not help the relationship.
4. Do make time for each other.
Couples need to spend time with each other alone, but it doesn’t mean just being physically together. Do activities that will entail engaging and talking with each other. There are happy couples who do spend time apart, but they have already proven how they have worked on their relationship in the past. If you and your spouse are having problems finding time to communicate with each other, make time for it. Remember that a happy marriage takes work.
5. Fulfill each other’s goals and ambitions.
Not all married couples share the same goals and ambitions. Yours may be different from your spouse’s and it is normal to have different point of views. Do not assume that you both have the same ideas about the future. Talk about it, then make time for those goals. Learn to give and take so you can both support each other’s dreams.
6. Have a God-centered marriage.
A wedding ceremony is performed by a man, but it is a divine institution created by God. He is the true author of marriage, and it is through God that your union will succeed. The true key to a happy, fulfilled marriage is to follow God’s words. Through Paul, God instructs husbands to love their wives unfailingly as “Christ loved the Church.” As for the wives, God asks them to submit to their husbands as they would submit to the Lord. Husbands should lovingly lead the marriage and protect his wife, and through this, the woman feels more secure and comfortable in the role of follower.
License: Creative Commons
Joanne Ellison is the author of 19 Bible study guides and the founder of Drawing Near to God Ministry. Read her daily devotions to learn more about the Bible and its teachings on marriage.
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