We plan to go on dates, but a child gets sick, or something comes up at work. We plan to make communication a priority, but it can be easy to adopt a “we will do it later” attitude, which can quickly put your marriage on the back burner. We plan to make intimacy a priority, but it gets easy to say “Later when things settle down” or “We are just too tired.”

If your marriage is struggling, please read no further and find a marriage counselor to help you repair your relationship.  The unprocessed trauma we experience as children is carried into our relationship, which means we have hidden places in our emotional defenses that – when triggered – can cause us to be angry and not know why.

When we are angry (or anxious) we lose the capacity to reason/think and bond/connect.  We regress to younger selves and react in anger, at which point it is impossible to have a calm, adult conversation.  This is when we need to schedule time with a professional to help us process what is happening.

Tips for Avoiding and Overcoming Marriage Problems

If your marriage is in reasonably good shape, feel free to read on and take some time to reflect on your marriage.  Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider to avoid marriage problems:

DO say yes to time together – even if it’s for short periods. If you can drive to the grocery store together or grab a coffee at the local coffee shop, say yes! Spending time together, even if it’s in small increments, can make a significant difference.

DON’T forget that subtle things can make a dramatic difference in your relationship. Write a love note on the bathroom mirror or sneak a note in your spouse’s lunch. Drop a coffee off at work when they least expect it. Send a thoughtful text message during the day, telling them how much they are appreciated and how excited you are to see them later.

Make their favorite dessert on a random Tuesday night. Small acts of kindness can make all the difference when you enter a difficult season of marriage. These small acts of kindness can also help you avoid further lapses in communication and can help set the tone to improve the intimacy in your relationship.

DO ask how they are doing and mean it. Couples need to check in with one another regularly. How is the project going at work? What are they learning in their quiet time with God? How are their siblings and parents doing? How can you pray for them? How can you continue to support their dreams?

All marriages should set aside ample time for check-ins and allow for deep, thoughtful conversation, should the opportunity arise. The key component is to share your heart and be receptive to your spouse sharing theirs.

DO hard things together. Life gets difficult and couples should make it a priority to do hard things together. God brought you together and wants you to be a team through the easy and difficult seasons of life. Doing the hard things together and facing challenges together will strengthen your relationship.

Too often, when life gets difficult, our first reaction is to retreat and try to do things on our own. Make it your goal to include your spouse. If you normally handle the bills and things are tight and overwhelming, sit down together to produce a plan.

If work is stressful or you are struggling with a co-worker, ask your spouse to pray with you about how to manage the situation. Commit to praying and spending time in God’s Word together, which is the best relationship builder there is.

DON’T talk bad about your spouse. It is important for couples to always avoid talking negatively and harshly about their spouse to other people, regardless of whether things are going well or not. The world tends to push us to hate things or run away from them rather than pursue them. This can be a huge detriment to your marriage.

While our spouses can regularly frustrate us, we must train ourselves to talk to them rather than about them. Talking to them is the only way to get a positive outcome because it offers both of you the opportunity to restore a part of your relationship. Our words to our spouse are like stones with the power to harm or bring treasure and blessings.

The tongue is one of the most powerful tools in your marriage. Is it bringing harm or blessing? If the tongue is used to encourage, uplift, and speak life, it can bring healing and treasure. If we use it to talk down to or about our spouse, it causes harm. Sometimes choosing silence in a situation or an argument can bring healing to our own heart and ease tension with our spouse.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.Proverbs 11:17

Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. – Proverbs 15:4

A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook. – Proverbs 18:4

Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.Proverbs 18:20

DO make it a priority to observe yourself. Set the right tone when conversing with your spouse. Realize the importance of the words you speak and the tone in which you speak them. When listening to your spouse, work to absorb the words that roll off their tongue rather than plan a response before they even complete their sentence. These can be game changers for your relationship.

DON’T stop trying. While it sounds simple, when we are dating, we put a lot of time and energy into dating, talking, and making memories. Once married, it can be all too easy to fall into a routine of making your marriage an afterthought. Couples need to continue dating, continue kissing, snuggling, playing games, trying new hobbies together, exploring the great outdoors, and supporting one another in their endeavors.

If your husband is playing in a basketball tournament or receiving an award at work, you should be there to cheer him on. If your wife is a writer who is having articles published left and right, you should read them and encourage her endeavors.

Supporting your spouse, being silly together, and making memories should increase rather than decrease once we say, “I DO.” Send the bouquet. Dress up for the dates. Text a short, fond message. Small gestures can lead to filling your emotional tank.

DO make every single day count. One of the biggest things couples can do in any season of marriage is to make every single day count. Have important conversations. Hug and kiss often. Say “I love you.” Schedule time for physical connection.

Go to church together. Pray together. Plan dates. Forgive often. Make small gestures and grand gestures when you can. Dream big together. Don’t talk about one another, talk to one another. Fill your heart and mind with the right things so your marriage can thrive.

Schedule a counseling session. Marriage counseling is not exclusively for those threatening or considering divorce. It can be an excellent way to upkeep your marriage – communicating, planning, dreaming, ensuring your relationship is always moving forward.

Scriptures on Marriage

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?Ecclesiastes 4:9

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.Ephesians 5:25

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:12

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.Mark 10:9

Photos:
“Hug”, Courtesy of Natalia Sobolivska, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sitting on a Bench”, Courtesy of Matthew Bennett, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Holding Hands”, Courtesy of prananta haroun, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Walking on the Beach”, Courtesy of Bernie Almanzar, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

 

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