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Nearly 50 percent of marriages end in a divorce. The reasons may vary, but many problems stem from our own poor choices and a lack of nurturing our marriages from the beginning. This lack of cultivation may damage a healthy relationship and then it might be too late. All relationships require commitment, compromise, communication and admiration. Just like a garden we need to nourish our relationships. If we want it to thrive we need to get rid of the weeds and give it lots of attention. When we don’t, the garden will wither away and so will our marriage. However, we need to be open, honest and understand that we don’t have all the answers. This is OK as none of us actually know what we are doing, not even the experts! In the meantime, here are 5 ways to make your marriage grow.
Maybe you got off the beaten path in your marriage. You can reclaim it by putting into practice a few practical things. This can be making God the center of your relationship, spending more time together, showing more gratitude and fighting fair. If you are prepared to do the labor, you can have a marriage that can grow and exceed expectations.
Put God at the Center
Jesus talked about having a firm foundation in our spiritual lives and in our lives overall. This can be done by being obedient to God’s Word. When you build your marriage on Jesus it can withstand the storms of our human frailty. Storms can include deficiencies, bad habits or other sins that could destroy our structure (marriage). When we are not obedient to God and where there is sin in our lives, there will be consequences like discord or strife. There is a reason Jesus said that “everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” When we are connected to God we become a powerhouse as a couple
Spending Time Together
If you are not spending time together, your relationship will hit a rut and simply stall. Life gets messy and busy, but we need to reconnect with our spouse. Make a point to spend time together without kids or other interruptions. Do an activity where both of you can be engaged. This can be a hobby, playing a sport, going to a play, or taking a cooking class. Do something where you can learn from each other and feel like a team again. Watching television (or hanging out in the same room) together is not quality time, so get a babysitter and get out of the house.
Accept Your Differences
We all have differences and as we spend more time with our partner this might widen! What happens is we become more indifferent and less receptive of our spouse’s habits or quirks. Start to focus on the positive aspects and find an appreciation for those things that you thought were totally cool when you were dating. Take a fresh look at these things, Psych Central suggested. “It’s likely that your differences balance one another out and make you a great team.” We can look to the Bible on getting rid of our own sin before pointing to our spouse’s sin (Mathew 7:5). Accept that both of you are different individuals and watch your marriage get out of neutral.
When was the last time you actually showed gratitude? This one will sting a bit, but if you take your loved one for granted—they will eventually withdrawal. Start improving your relationship by saying “I love you” and “thank you” more. Come up with imaginative ideas to let them know that you are thinking about them during the day. This can be a text, a handwritten note or picking up their favorite meal. Give them a hug and kiss when they get home. Set aside at least a couple of minutes every day to show appreciation. Make a list of how you can practice gratitude and start showing your devotion today.
We all fight, but do we fight fair? It is not likely that we do. When you do get in a heated exchange try to step away to calm down. Remind them that you want a solution and that you love them. You can apologize to them to settle the situation and keep it from escalating. However, do something before it gets to this point and handle issues as they emerge. If something is eating away at you, don’t bury it. Ask yourself “Will this matter next week?” The answer is probably not! Put aside your pride and fight fair.