Five Essentials for a Thriving Marriage

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1. Be thankful for your spouse.
The demands of life, family, and work can cloud your attitude toward the one you chose to accompany you through life. Thanking God often for your spouse is a practical way to focus on what is good and admirable about him or her. It is helpful to occasionally reflect on the early days and recall what attracted you, what made you pledge your life and love to each other, and be thankful.

2. Practice communicating from the heart.
It is vital to communicate authentically in both the good and the difficult times of marriage. As you grow together, you will learn more about the how and when of communicating well with your spouse, so pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Transparent conversation where each of you risks revealing your deepest thoughts, ideas, fears, hopes, and dreams creates the strong foundation of a lasting marriage.

3. Be intimate.
From relational intimacy springs sexual intimacy. The safety of being known and still being accepted — in spite of our flaws — finds its expression in marriage through sex. It is a gift to married couples from God. Relational and sexual intimacy keeps a marriage from deteriorating into little more than a legally arranged partnership. Remember, it takes time and attentiveness to nurture this kind of relationship.

4. Practice the power of forgiveness.
Because we are broken, imperfect human beings, we will fail our spouse repeatedly. We will focus on flaws, cease to communicate, and offend each other without trying. All of this demands a steady supply of forgiveness. There is great power in forgiveness; it says, “The fight is over and I will not try to punish you.” Failing marriages can be revived by forgiveness; healthy marriages are sustained by it.

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5. Be teachable.
Marriages are always a work in progress. Each spouse is changing and developing, which means there are new things to learn at every age. Sometimes marriages run into problems that need the help of a third party. If this happens in your marriage, find someone who will work in support of your marriage, not just agree with your grievances. Make sure this person is committed to both Christ and the two of you.

Our prayer for you: As you break from the noise of your day to reflect on the ways God is blessing you through the life of your spouse, we pray that your heart will be filled with gratitude for this gift He has given — someone to love and to be loved by — fashioned by the Creator especially for you.

We pray God will show you ways to express your heart openly to your spouse so the two of you will grow even closer. We pray that you will enjoy intimacy of soul and body and that your passion becomes fuller and deeper each day.

We pray that the love in your marriage will be so real, so vibrant, so lasting that all who see it will know God gave this love to you.

Copyright © FamilyLife. Used by permission of FamilyLife. Read more at www.familylife.com.

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