Four Ways to Create a Strong Marriage

Most of us enter marriage with the idea that our marriage will be different than every other marriage. Our love is stronger. We get along better. Nothing could break our bond. The reality is that life happens and sometimes the marriage we thought we would have begins to crumble. Many times, we don’t even know how we got to that place and we’re left disillusioned and feeling hopeless. No matter where you are in your marriage; the honeymoon stage, seven years in or entering the empty-nester stage, there are things every couple can do to strengthen their marriage.  

Here are four simple suggestions that can strengthen your marriage and bring you closer together.

1.    What is the goal of your marriage?

This may seem like an odd question, but the answer is important. Many of us set goals for ourselves. We write them down, take steps to achieve them and celebrate when they are accomplished. What are the goals of your marriage? Is it just to get through each day or is there a legacy you want to leave behind? Is it to raise healthy, happy kids? Is it to retire early? Having a common purpose or shared goal in your marriage ensures you are both on the same path, walking and working together to achieve those goals. Spend some time together and first set a few simple daily goals that will strengthen your marriage. For instance, what can you do each day that shows your spouse you love/support them? Then think about goals you may want to achieve for the next month or the coming year? What steps can you take together to make them happen? And don’t forget to celebrate your successes!


2. Make the “We” stronger than the “Me”.

My husband and I struggled for 17 years before we learned this. We were both first born children and used to getting our own way. We always had to be right and getting our way was more important than getting along. We eventually learned that humilityhas an important place in marriage. Learning humility allows us to begin to put each other and the marriage before ourselves. That may mean stepping back in some areas of conflict or during certain discussions. Focusing on what is best for both of you and the marriage creates a shift in how you handle conflict. One phrase we have adopted is, “I think I am right, but I may be wrong.” Using this simple phrase has helps us remember that it isn’t about who is right and allows us to show humility towards our spouse, work together and strengthens our marriage.

3. How often do you communicate with each other? 

You may answer, “We talk to each other every day.” But is your communication limited to who is picking up the kids or taking out the trash? Creating intentional time to communicate with your spouse takes effort, planning and commitment. It is important that couples have a periodic date night. This can be as simple as taking a weekly walk together or sitting down with each other at the end of the day. Or you could plan date nights that include doing something fun together. During this time together, ask your spouse how their day or week went and just listen to what they say. Don’t try to fix anything, you just want to understand how they are doing.

Here are five questions that may help jump start your conversation:

  • How did you feel loved this past week?
  • What does your upcoming week look like?
  • How would you feel most loved & encouraged in the days ahead?
  • How would you best feel pursued in sex/intimacy this week?
  • How can I pray for you this week?

Remember, intentional time together doesn’t happen by accident. Put it on your calendar and make it a “date!”

4. You expect me to do what? 

You expect me to do what?Each spouse comes into the marriage with expectations of their partner and the marriage. Very few couples take the time to share with each other their expectations. Think about what your expectations of your spouse are and write them down. Start with a small list of no more than ten things. Ask them to do the same. Afterwards, make some time to share and discuss them together. Talk about why the expectation is on your list, where it came from and then decide together if it is a reasonable expectation? Finally, examine your lists and ask, “will these expectations strengthen our marriage or are there any that should be removed or modified. There may be times your expectations will go unmet. Don’t let this negatively affect your view of your spouse or your marriage. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt and be gracious.