Wednesday, July 16, 2014

10 Tools For A Great Marriage




My bride and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage. During the last decade we've worked hard, played hard, cried, and laughed. Through it all, we've learned that true love is not a feeling but a day to day decision to love a fellow imperfect being. My wife's friendship and love has been a critical part of my life. There's nothing quite like sharing this life's experiences with that special person who has your back no matter what you face. We spent some time celebrating in Jamaica and we met people who admitted they didn't know anyone our age that had been married as long as we have. So, I decided to share the top 10 tools from our marriage toolbox that have helped us stay connected over the past 10 years.


1. Be Honest-Maintaining honesty in marriage keeps up the flow of love and safety. Dishonesty and secrets increase fear and uncertainty in relationships. If trust has been shaken, it can be restored if both partners are committed to doing their part to create a culture of honesty.

2. Date Each Other-As a parent of two awesome girls we spend a great deal of time being mom and dad but we know we must put in time being husband and wife. No matter how busy we are we take time to hire a sitter to get a couple of hours of couple time every other week. Taking advantage of babysitting options have helped us stay connected.

3. Keep Others Out-Every garden at some point has to contend with weeds. Your marriage is just like a garden, with both well-meaning and malicious people ready to meddle in your marriage. Carefully determine as a couple who you let into your close circle as every person has influence be it good or bad. At times you will have to  realize that some people will simply have to go in order for your marriage garden to flourish. Never share details of marriage problems with family, exes, or co-workers. If your spouse has concerns about the character of someone you've befriended--LISTEN!

4. Be Individuals-Your marriage should be a place where each person is allowed to be themselves. Not to be confused with singleness, individualism never loses sight of the union, but encourages each other to pursue some goals without the other partner. There are activities that my wife is into that I am not interested in and vice versa.

5. Play Together-If its nothing more than signing up for a workout class together at the local gym, couples will be amazed at how doing something together recreationally will benefit them.

Playing around near Montego Bay
6. Connect with HAPPY Couples- I can't stress enough how important it is to spend quality time with people that have healthy marriages. Every relationship has struggles but perpetually unhappy couples can be like cancer to your marriage. A sure sign of an unhappily married person is one who always highlights the negative in their significant other. Happy couples are positive and leave you feeling filled up and not drained emotionally.


7. Getaway Often-Date nights are great but planning a yearly weekend getaway without kids is critical to ensure that couples stay healthy. Sometimes just having 48 hours of uninterrupted dinner with adult conversation has recharged our batteries as parents.


8. Mentorship-Find a successfully married pastor or teacher that can be an objective wise voice for you and your spouse. My wife and I had very inconsistent role models of healthy marriages while we were growing up. Hearing how older couples succeeded in their marriage has helped us make wise decisions for our family.

9. Have Joint Accounts- We feel like having joint accounts is an extension of our unity. We choose not to make major decisions concerning money without consulting with one another. We have been known to have a separate account for anniversary or birthday surprises but that is about the extent that we will agree to having our money separated.

10. Grow Together Spiritually-Our mutual relationship with God is the foundation of our marriage. Reading the Bible, serving others, and praying together are at the very core of why we've enjoyed 10 years together. We know that our humanity is flawed, so our dependence on the Lord is the anchor that keeps us.



Our Jamaican relfie at sunset