Tip #10 – Coping with Change, Stress, and Crises

Part of the adventure of marriage lies in the challenge of facing difficulties together. We’re thinking here particularly of the difficulties posed by external forces and pressures. Like any vessel on a long voyage, the ship of marriage will almost certainly have to weather some storms. Successful couples realize that this is inevitable. They know that the house built on sand and the house built on rock will both endure the buffeting of the wind and the rain. The only difference between the two structures lay in the quality of their foundations.

Because they understand this, these couples don’t flinch at the prospect of trouble. They don’t consider it strange when trials come upon. They don’t blame one another when misfortunes arise. Instead, they take pains to anchor their marriage to the solid rock. They prepare for the difficulties that life in a fallen world is likely to send their way.

This is just another aspect of the teamwork that characterizes a genuinely thriving marriage. Husbands and wives who have a healthy, vibrant relationship face adversity side by side. They proactively anticipate family challenges. They work together to get on the same page when faced with stressful or critical situations. They bear one another’s burdens and take the view that tribulations are, among other things, opportunities for growth and positive change.

The couples we have in mind are not too proud to seek outside help in times of trouble. They are quick to turn to the Lord in prayer in every circumstance and aren’t above admitting their needs to family members and friends when it’s appropriate. They understand that being strong doesn’t necessarily mean going it alone. As a result, they are willing to ask for and accept assistance when faced with difficulties they can’t handle on their own.

Try This! Share with your spouse some of your troubles and seek wisdom and comfort from each other. Going through your concerns with the support from each other will strengthen your relationship!

+ Tip #9 – Mutually Satisfying Physical Intimacy

Thriving couples regularly celebrate their marriage with passionate sexual intimacy. Because they are joined as “one flesh,” healthy husbands and wives place an appropriate emphasis upon the physical component of their union, realizing that it is a vital aspect of the joy, pleasure, and mutual satisfaction that are supposed to lie at the heart of the marital relationship. To say this another way, they don’t regard sex as a “chore” or “obligation.” Instead, they see it as a delightful “dance” in which each spouse puts the other’s needs and interests ahead of his or her own and explores ways of giving sexually to his or her “other half”. Read more...

+ Tip #8 – Shared Responsibility

The question of male and female roles in marriage has been a subject of hot debate over the past several decades. Couples with vibrant and successful relationships tend to be those who have found mutually satisfactory ways of resolving this issue between themselves. These husbands and wives pay relatively little attention to the shifting norms of contemporary society or the expectations of family and friends. Instead, they make it their goal to function as a team, because they understand that the only thing that matters is how they work together, not what other people think. Read more...

+ Tip #7 – Nourish

If cherishing is an attitude, nourishing is an action. It’s the behavior that flows from a willful decision to prioritize your marriage and regard your spouse as the most important person in your life. The relevant question here is, “If I really treasure you and value you as a person, what am I going to do about it? How can I not only play an active role in protecting and preserving the qualities I admire in you, but actually help stimulate their growth and development?” Read more...

+ Tip #6 – Cherish

Common wisdom says that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” whereas “familiarity breeds contempt.” The implication is that the longer two people stay together, the easier they will find it to become bored with one another and take one another for granted. Couples who want to maintain a vibrant marriage need to take steps to counteract this tendency in human nature. You can fight back by learning to cherish your mate. Read more...

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Tip #5 – Spending Enjoyable Time Together

Thriving couples genuinely enjoy spending time together. They develop meaningful traditions and rituals characterized by laughter and playfulness. They schedule regular date nights and outings, cultivate common hobbies, and undertake shared adventures. They don’t just live under the same roof and sleep in the same bed. Instead, they are intentional about building a blended life upon a foundation of common values, interests, and goals.

There are four critical ingredients to the kind of togetherness that enables a marriage to thrive. Read more...

Tip #4 – Healthy Conflict Management

We’ve already said that lasting marriages are based upon realistic expectations. Couples who go the distance understand that they will encounter obstacles along the way. In particular, they recognize that spousal conflict is inevitable. In contrast to many people in today’s culture, they accept this as one of the basic ground rules of marriage. They realize that, in an imperfect world, it’s impossible for two unique and gender-distinct personalities to come together and connect intimately without bumping and jarring one another in some way. They embrace the concept that this bumping and jarring causes them to grow, both as individuals and as a couple. As a result, they don’t see potential conflict as a threat. When problems and disagreements arise, they don’t jump to the unwarranted conclusion that it spells the end of their relationship.

The secret to their success lies in the way they handle conflict. Read more...

Tip #3 – Positive Communication

Communication is the heart and soul of any vibrant and growing relationship. This is especially true in the case of marriage. Marriage is a process of two becoming one. It further specifies that these two are, at a very basic and primal level, one another’s opposite number – to be precise, they’re male and female. For obvious reasons, two different people representing the two distinct “halves” of humanity can’t hope to mix and mingle their hearts, minds, and souls successfully except on the basis of a solid mutual understanding. This is why effective communication is indispensable to any thriving marriage.

We should clarify that communication isn’t simply a matter of words. Read more...

Tip #2 – Shared Spiritual Intimacy

Thriving couples place their spiritual commitments at the very centre of their marriage. They have a deep, shared faith, and this common spiritual commitment is a second predictor of marital success and longevity.

It’s important to be crystal clear about what we’re saying here. We understand that there are many “spiritually mixed” marriages in contemporary society, and we don’t mean to imply that these marriages are “second-rate” in any way. We would suggest that in a purely practical sense, marriages lacking this shared spiritual foundation are at a serious disadvantage. The absence of a common faith represents a gap in any couple’s relationship.

Why do we say this?

Tip #1 – Lifelong Commitment

In March 2014, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin (Coldplay frontman) announced their “conscious uncoupling” after 10 years of marriage.

“The belief structure is the all-or-nothing idea that when we marry, it’s for life. The idea of being married to one person for life is too much pressure for anyone,” says Paltrow’s mentor Dr Habib Sadeghi and Dr Sherry Sami on the concept of “Conscious Uncoupling”.

In this day and age, do you find yourself agreeing with these sentiments? Read more...