When I met my husband, I was only 18, and we were married soon after my 19th birthday. I always knew, from a young age, that I wanted to get married. I had grand ideas of the perfect marriage being simple. My parents’ marriage had ended, and I was determined not to make the same mistakes that they had. Even though my marriage hasn’t been the picture of perfection I envisioned I have come to the conclusion that no marriage is perfect, even marriages we idolize have their struggles.
We often get sucked into the world’s view of a great marriage. Social media floods our feed with marriages that seem picture-perfect and we end up getting sucked into a comparison vortex. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparing your unique marriage with someone else’s will only leave you frustrated about what you don’t have, Instead focus on cultivating the relationship that you do have. Cultivating a strong marriage is possible; you don’t have to have thousands of followers, a fancy house, or an abundance of money to accomplish this.
One way to strengthen your marriage is by making your marriage a priority. We are all in different stages of our lives, some of us have young children and making your marriage a priority sounds impossible. When my kids were little, I struggled with this concept, I didn’t realize just how beneficial prioritizing your spouse can be. Of course, we are mothers and fathers and that part is vital as well. However, before the dirty diapers and soccer games, it was just you and your spouse and after the last child leaves your home, it will again be just the two of you. So, taking the time now to show your spouse how important they are is imperative.
Showing your spouse they are important can be simple. One thing I have learned in my marriage is to be intentional about the time you spend with your spouse, don’t just leave your spouse the exhausted part of you at the end of the day. Being intentional might take some creativity or extra planning but the payoff is that it will make your marriage stronger. Here are some simple ideas of intentional things you can do with your spouse:
Go for evening walks together, and don’t talk about the kids!
Leave each other daily notes around the house.
Go for weekly date nights.
Cook dinner together, food has a way of bringing people together.
Try a new hobby together, like a couple’s dance class.
Text your spouse throughout the day to let them know you are thinking of them.
These are just a few simple ideas of things you can do together to cultivate a stronger marriage. As you do these things in your marriage, remember above all, to have fun together. Before you got married your goal was always fun, just because you are married doesn’t mean that it has to change. Learning to have fun together is essential. By learning to do this early in your marriage, will help you be better prepared to face the challenges that you will surely face in your marriage.
Also remember, No one is perfect! Too often in marriage, we focus on what can our spouse is doing wrong and forget that we aren’t perfect either. In my marriage, one thing my husband has opened up to me about is how I react when he brings up one of my weaknesses. I can be stubborn, and sometimes it’s hard for me to see things that I do which contribute to contention in our marriage. Part of cultivating a strong marriage is listening to the other person and working together to overcome our weaknesses
Along with accepting those weaknesses we need to be able to forgive each other when those weaknesses keep frustrating us. It will take time and patience from both spouses to work through those weaknesses together.
Even though my marriage isn’t perfect I understand it isn’t meant to be. Marriage is a journey. We embark on this journey with someone that we chose, at times that person will probably let us down, as we will in return. Journeys can be hard, they can try us in ways we never imagine, but they also make us stronger. When we journey through life with our spouse and put in the work together, your journey will be worth it.
As we head into the weekend, what can you do to cultivate a stronger relationship with your spouse?