You have continued to enjoy being married to each other. One of the blessings that you have experienced during the years is being able to learn from the couples.
We would like to pass on a few of these lessons in the hopes that you will be challenged to put them into practice in your marriages as well. And hopefully, you can grow in joy in your marriages also.
Early on in our marriage we agreed to do whatever it took to keep our marriage strong. For the most part we have kept this promise to each other and we have benefitted greatly from it. This commitment to each other is especially important when life gets very hard and the pressure is high. Never quit, never give up, it can and will get better.
Physically and mentally we are constantly changing. For some reason, this simple fact seems to surprise many people. Don’t fear change, work together to guide those changes in your lives to help your marriage be better. Also, encourage your partner in changes that will make them stronger and more capable. As a team, the better each of you are, the better you will be in handling the problems life throws at you.
Always build each other up
You married each other because you wanted to spend your lives together. Remind yourself and your partner what a wonderful person they are. Find something to praise them for each day. We live up to or down to the expectations of those around us. So, keep the wonderful things your partner does and is in front of both of you. They will be delighted and so will you.
We are going to fail each other, and typically when we do fights occur. We are hurt the most by those closest to us. Therefore, commit to fighting fairly. Deal with the issue that caused the hurt, don’t bring up past hurts and events. Don’t say YOU in an accusatory way and especially avoid absolutes like always and never. They aren’t true and they just make things worse. It is OK to call a time out to let tempers cool, but agree to a specific time when you will get back together to finish discussing the issue. (Holding hands during these “discussions” can help keep the temperature of the discussion at a manageable level.)
We all fail, we all forget, we all do something stupid now and then, we all need forgiveness. Be generous and forgive each other. Refusing to forgive causes you to become bitter and it is the same as you swallowing the poison and expecting the other person to die. It doesn’t happen and you just hurt yourself.
Share feelings with each other.
We all have emotions and feelings. Some of us feel them more strongly or are better able to express them. By sharing how we are feeling, we can let our spouse (and sometimes ourselves) know what is happening within ourselves. Also, never say that your feelings are caused by your partner. (i.e. You make me…) Instead practice saying “I am feeling … when you do … or when this happens. This alone will stop many fights from ever occurring.
When you are hurting, let yourself be loved and supported. Don’t shut your partner out and don’t expect them to “just know” how you are feeling. Tell them.
Do something good together
Work together for something you both believe in. Having a common goal or long-term project keeps you involved with each other and gives you opportunities to grow even closer.
Enjoy yourselves by sharing laughter, appreciating beauty and doing those things that make you smile and want to be together. Try to have a “Date Night” at least every month. You don’t have to do anything expensive, just spend time together enjoying each other.
To get the most benefit from the above items, go back over them and rate yourself on how well you are doing on a scale of 1 – 5 (poor to great). Then when you have both done this, share your ratings with each other and discuss how you can help each other improve.
Remember, it takes at least a month of daily effort to create a new habit/pattern of behavior, so don’t expect immediate results. You are in this for the long term and change isn’t easy.
Thank you for reading.
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