Relationships are complicated - and marriage is no exception. It’s no secret that staying in love is a lot tougher than falling in love in the first place, and it takes real intentionality to keep bringing you and your spouse together to avoid drifting apart. But being intentional doesn’t have to be difficult - and some “secrets” are meant to be shared!
Below you’ll find 7 secrets that will give you practical steps to a satisfying marriage, whether you just tied the knot or you’re celebrating 50 years together.
Secret #1: Rekindle the romance
If you think back to what you did for your spouse when you first started dating them - going out all the time, buying them flowers or gifts, talking for hours on the phone or in-person - you might have trouble remembering the last time you did those very things in the past few months or even years! Even if it feels silly, make an effort to do them again and remember why you fell in love in the first place. You might be surprised how quickly you remember just why you fell in love with your partner!
Secret #2: Pay attention to each other's interests
We all love when others pay attention to us - and our spouse is no exception. But the attention of our spouse is even more important to us than the attention of others, and while it used to be easy for you to care about the things that your spouse cares about, over time it takes more intentionality to communicate that kind of attention - but it’s crucial!
It’s easy to become distracted, so make it a point to listen and communicate with one another. Even when (and maybe especially when) it feels like your spouse doesn’t deserve your attention, go out of your way to show them you’re listening and make them feel needed and known. Do this with your words, but also your body language - your facial expression, gestures, and posture. And be genuine - it doesn’t count if you’re faking it!
Secret #3: Use the power of affirmation
Just like the attention of a spouse is powerful, so is the affirmation of a spouse. Choose to focus and call out the strengths in your significant other rather than the weaknesses. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up.” There was a time when you admired your spouse - find that feeling again if you lost it along the way and lean into it. And don’t say you’ll wait until your spouse starts appreciating you first - be the one to step up and strengthen your marriage in the moment - it will repay dividends down the line.
Secret #4: Discover the gift of affection
One of the easiest things to lose over years of marriage is affection - it’s not always on purpose, but sometimes we get so used to being with each other that we stop wanting to be close to one another. But touch is important - a UCLA study actually found that if wives hugged their husbands at least three times a day, it could increase his lifespan by up to three years!
So take some time to show affection - even if you don’t feel like it. Feelings follow actions, not the other way around, so be intentional with your affection for your spouse and get ready to start feeling affectionate more often!
Secret #5: Bring back a sense of adventure.
Marriage is a commitment - but it’s meant to be fun, too! In Ecclesiastes 9:9, the Bible reads, “Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil." We are meant to enjoy one another as husband and wife - so think about the last time you had real fun with your significant other. Was it so long ago that you’re having trouble remembering?
Take time out of your busy schedules to date your mate and bring adventure back to your relationship. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or expensive, but it does have to be focused time and energy on each other - and it has to be fun, too!
Secret #6: Make a commitment to see your marriage through
This one isn’t so much a secret as it is a challenge. It takes commitment to experience a satisfying marriage, and a commitment to see your marriage through means that divorce is no longer an option. Malachi 2:16 tells us that God hates divorce, because he has witnessed the pain and hurt that comes along with it.
When you committed to your spouse in marriage, you committed to a lifetime together - and if divorce is always an option for you, eventually it will be an option that you choose. So don’t let it be an option - decide now, before you hit hard times, that divorce is not on the table. Or if you’re currently finding yourself experiencing hardship in your marriage, seek out wise counsel to lead you through it and keep hold of your commitment to one another.
*Remember that this “secret” does not apply to abusive situations. If you are experiencing abuse in a relationship, first and foremost, remove yourself from the situation or contact us and we will help you remove yourself from the situation. There is no excuse for abuse in any shape or form in any relationship.
Secret #7: Tap into the power of Jesus already in you
After reading through these “secrets,” you might be feeling overwhelmed, and that makes sense - because you’re only human, and relationships are complicated. But the good news is that the power of Jesus inside of us gives us the power and desire to complete the other six secrets and invest in our marriage. The best thing you can do for your marriage and for your spouse is to become more like Jesus and love each other the way Jesus loves us.
If you haven’t committed your life or your marriage to Jesus yet, start there. Invite Jesus to come into your life, and then commit your marriage and your family to him. By choosing to tap into the power of Jesus, you’re setting your marriage up for success both now and in the future.To learn more about how to have the best relationships possible, check out our series It’s Complicated.