How To Have A Thriving Marriage

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thriveMarriage. A beautiful covenant we step into with wide eyes of adoration and a heart full of love. I admit I was a little unprepared for the challenges we would face in marriage. I assumed being married came naturally and that figuring it out together was a fun part of the process.

I didn’t expect the heartache of hardships to wear us out so quickly. Although we have fought to figure it out together, the journey has been rough. There have been moments when bitterness and anger flooded my heart. The feelings of adoration I felt on my wedding day were replaced with frustration and doubt, a cycle that revisited my heart over and over again.

Through the trials that my husband and I encountered thus far into our marriage, we are learning what it really takes to have a thriving marriage. Perhaps some things do come naturally to us, which really do benefit our marriage, but our relationship experiences so much more when we intentionally invest into each other.

So here are a few things I have learned along the way on how to have a thriving marriage:

- Always put God first. Spend time everyday reading His word. Then spend time listening to God and paying attention to what He is showing you. Submit to Him and He will help you.

- Be humble. Pride will lead you into isolation and loneliness. Avoid that by being humble of heart. Consider your husband of importance and value. This will help alleviate stress and tension in your relationship.

- Respect your husband. Your husband will be able to thrive in his role as your husband if you respect him. Do some research on respect and find ways to show your man just how and why you respect him!

- Work on your communication skills. Nothing will progress in your marriage if you cannot communicate effectively with your spouse. Put energy into building your skills in this area.

- Assume he is good-willed. This one has really helped me in my marriage. Sometimes I get hurt by my husband and it is very hard for me to get over it. Assuming that my husband is good-willed allows room for human error, which we are both capable of, and reminds me that whatever he did wasn’t intentionally to hurt me.

- Fulfill each others needs. We both have a ton of needs. Whether they are needs of affirmation, intimacy, sex, or help around the house, it is important to be aware of each others needs and be willing to fulfill them as best as possible regardless of if the help is deserved.

- Pray together. This is one of the most intimate things you can do with your husband because you are going together to the throne room of God. Spend quality time praying for each other, and for God’s will to be done. Pray without ceasing.

- Make time for fun. Laughter really is the best medicine. A life without fun and playtime can get stale quickly. Be proactive about playing together and having fun, just like when you two dated.

- Stand and fight for your marriage. We live amongst a spiritual battle. The enemy is coming against Christians and against marriage more and more aggressively. Stand firm in your faith and fight for the gift of marriage God has given you. It will take work, but it is worth it!

These are some of the most important aspects of my relationship with my husband. These are the areas in our lives God has been working on to refine, helping both of us to be an excellent spouse. Usually when we hit a rough patch in our marriage, it is because one of these areas are being neglected.

I hope that this list brings hope to your heart and gives you a start to focus on your marriage and how you can get it to thriving!

 - Jennifer Smith     unveiledwife.com

photocredit: @unveiledwife

Unveiled Wife

Jennifer Smith began UnveiledWife.com, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011. She publishes weekly marriage articles including encouragements, devotions, and prayers of the day. She authored The Unveiled Wife, Wife After God, and 31 Prayers For My Husband. Jennifer is devoted to encouraging wives all around the world to develop God-centered marriages. Connect with Jennifer on social media @unveiledwife!