By Karleia Steiner
Special to Inside The Pew
As Christians, we believe that marriage is a lifetime plan, not a convenience that can be disposed of in a lawyer’s office. The love of a husband and a wife is in all reality a hint of the deeper love between a human being and God. Proverbs 5:15-19 states, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the LORD.”
Marriage if of course not always easy, but with hard work and commitment come immeasurable rewards. Below are some simple yet powerful strategies for sustaining a long and successful marriage.
Identify the issues
If you can’t pinpoint specifically why you’re having difficulties in your marriage, you’re probably not thinking hard enough. Sit your spouse down and address the troubles you’ve been experiencing. Be 100 percent honest. Identifying your problems is the first step in getting on the path to fixing them. Perhaps you don’t spend enough time together. Perhaps you disagree about factors related to money. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement regarding your troubles, you can work together as a team to determine whether they can be salvaged.
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, marriage or otherwise. Many relationships fail due to poor communication. When you talk to your spouse, do so with clarity and care. Make sure you always say the things that you truly mean. Never say anything just because you believe you’re taking the “safe” or “easy” route. If you speak from within, your spouse will pick up on the effort and hopefully return the favor.
Spend quality time together
Many relationships and marriages collapse because couples drift apart, plain and simple. Stop that unfortunate fate from occurring by making a point to regularly spend quality time with your spouse. While you both might lead busy and chaotic lives, it’s absolutely essential that you prioritize each other. Setting up official romantic “date nights” each week can go a long way in saving a previously hopeless marriage.
Admit your own faults
When it comes to marriage, pride is the enemy. Never be too proud to acknowledge where you’ve been wrong. If you haven’t exactly been the most attentive spouse, say so. If you’ve been a lousy partner due to work stress, admit that. Realize that it takes two to tango in a marriage. Your spouse isn’t perfect, but you aren’t either. The goal in any healthy marriage is to always focus on improvement — on both sides.
Marriages feel terrific when they’re working, and awful when they’re not, understandably. Having said that, you don’t want to give up on your commitment at the first sign of a rainy day. Put love, care and effort into your deserving marriage. Great marriages call for dedication and lots of patience.
What is an annulment, anyway?
Prior to considering annulment or divorce, focus on strengthening your existing ties with your spouse. Instead of declaring your union invalid through an annulment or legally dissolving it through divorce, concentrate on saving it. Remember what made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place.
Karleia Steiner is a freelance writer. To respond to her column, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will gladly forward your comments to her.