I recently finished helping facilitate The Marriage Course (by Nicky & Sila Lee) at Kingwood Christian Church. The 7 week course was jammed packed with practical solutions, strength building tips and common sense strategies for nurturing your marriage so that it can be the best it can be. The course was SO GOOD that I’d like to share the following 8 tips from the course with you in hopes that you too will find it helpful…
1) Make time for each other- no relationship can thrive without spending quality time together. I recommend spending at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time together each day (have a cup of tea together at the end of a long day, take a shower together in the morning or at night, go for a walk, sit in front of the fire and talk about exciting future plans, enjoy a mutual hobby…) Marriages need constant refueling to keep the romance alive and well.
2) Nurture one another- Make an effort to intimately know your spouse’s emotional needs and attempt to meet them. These types of efforts draw couples together because it makes us feel loved, which makes us feel like loving.
3) Be an effective communicator (and a great listener)- Building intimacy in marriage involves hearing each other’s experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires. Listening to your spouse is one of the most important habits to develop for a strong marriage. Likewise, developing a habit of talking about your feelings with your spouse on a regular basis is paramount. Many marriages suffer because one or both spouses attempt to bury their emotions or inappropriately communicate them (pouting, giving the “silent treatment,” yelling or other inappropriate displays of anger and frustration).
4) Show appreciation for one another- “Make your husband or wife feel like the most important person in the world to you.” One way to do this is to make spending time with your spouse among your top priorities… above work, chores, friends and other family (even our children). Make sure that you communicate each day to your spouse how much you appreciate who they are, their contributions to the household, their value system, positive traits, etc.
5) Acknowledge and accept your differences- You and your spouse are always going to be different. You have different personalities, temperaments, habits, strengths and weaknesses. Accept those differences and never try to change each other. It is helpful to think of your marriage as “a combination of your strengths working together to support each other’s weaknesses.”
6) Pray together- Praying together helps us connect with each other in a meaningful way. Be very deliberate and plan it into your schedule (perhaps make it a habit to pray at the start of each day before leaving to work or starting the day). Make a habit of asking your spouse, “What can I pray for you today?” If you are not comfortable praying, find other meaningful ways to connect and support each other on a daily basis.
7) Resolve hurt feelings- Unresolved hurt can block healthy relationships from growing closer together, in much the same way that a clogged drain prevents water from flowing. Take the initiative to resolve anger and heal hurt feelings. Allowing hurt to be ignored or buried deep down often leads to resentment… which is a one way express ticket to emotional distance and lost intimacy between you and your husband or wife. Instead of allowing the drain to back up, practice taking responsibility for times when you’ve hurt your spouse and develop a habit of forgiving your spouse for times when they’ve hurt you or let you down.
8) Make sex a priority- “Good sex in a marriage is not the icing on the cake, it’s the cake itself.” Did you know that a chemical called oxytocin is released when we are physically intimate with our spouse? Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the bonding hormone,” gets some of the credit for increasing bonding between us… which of course is essential to a great marriage! Sexual intimacy affects every other aspect of marriage and vice versa.
So now that you’ve read the tips, which one resonates with you? What can you do to begin to establish one of these habits today?
For more information about The Marriage Course by Nicky & Sila Lee, please visit their website at www.themarriagecourseusa.org
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Kingwood Psychotherapy &