35 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Reflections after 35 years of marriage

Brad and Heidi Mitchell

Yesterday we celebrated our 35thwedding anniversary. As we reflected on our marriage, we talked about keys that have helped us and practices we wish we had incorporated earlier in our marriage.  We thought we’d share our list and hope it’s helpful for you as you Build Your Marriage:

7 Benefits to Building an Enduring Love

Solid reasons to stay together

 

Brad & Heidi the week it “began”!

Do you remember when you and your spouse first kissed? Last week we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our first kiss. In fact, the picture above was taken on that very weekend during our early teenage days. We still remember that first kiss!

Whether your relationship started in your teens like ours or later in life, there are great benefits to building an enduring love. In the famous “love” chapter of the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote that “love…endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT). Here are seven benefits to having an enduring love with your spouse:

Celebrate Your Anniversary

Making your special day...special!

Brad and Heidi celebrating their 2017 wedding anniversary at a Boney James jazz concert

We love to celebrate and we make it a priority in our marriage to celebrate each other. The most important celebration is our anniversary and while we don’t go “all-out” each year, we make sure it’s a special day.

What amazes us is how many couples we meet who don’t celebrate their anniversary. When we ask them why we get a variety of answers:

Practicing a Holy Kiss in Marriage

Stepping up the practice of kissing a lot more!

Greet one another with a holy kiss. Romans 16:16

We love to kiss. Whether it’s a quick kiss in public or a  long passionate kiss in private, kissing is important to a healthy marriage. The bride said to her lover in the Song of Solomon, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth…” (Song of Solomon 1:2).

Sadly, according to a study sponsored by the British Health Foundation, 20% of married couples kiss only once a week! And 40% of those couples only kiss for 5 seconds. And only 5% of those couples aged 45 and up kiss on average four times a day.

LETS RESOLVE TO KISS OUR SPOUSE A WHOLE LOT MORE OFTEN!

Being Kind and Compassionate in Marriage

Two keys to building a healthy relationship

“Be kind and compassionate to one another….” Ephesians 4:32

Kindness and compassion are often desired and forgotten in the dailyness of marriage. Life gets busy. We may answer our spouse sharply. We don’t have the time or patience for their burdens because we have enough of our own. “Just pull it together and keep moving!” is what our attitude expresses. Instead of building our marriage in little ways each day, we slowly dismantle the relationship we’re to cherish the most.

Encouraging Your Spouse Toward Doing Good

Two areas to encourage your spouse to grow

Couple Working in Homeless Shelter — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

“…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

We are introducing a new angle of motivation for most couples in their marriage. One of the roles each person has is to encourage their spouse to become the best person they possibly can be. This can take many forms including professionally, parentally, and spiritually.

The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible gives another approach to encourage people to be their best. He writes, “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24).

Accept One Another in Marriage

Build a relationally safe marriage

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

Acceptance in marriage is a key to feeling relationally safe. When we learn to communicate acceptance of our spouse we create an environment where understanding can flourish.

But acceptance can be hard. Unless this is learned early in a relationship, we can allow negativity toward our spouse to accumulate. We end up consciously and subconsciously conveying a message of rejection. Criticism becomes the norm. Defensiveness flares up quickly. Tempers can be short. Misunderstandings are frequent.