The day you say “I do” – everything changes. Forever. Marriages are a lot of work- they go through ups and downs, will have different seasons and will change you and your spouse in a million different ways. Genesis 2: 24 says, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Marriage unites you- brings you into something that is bigger than just yourself. It takes a lot of intentionality, strength, endurance and perseverance to create a truly lasting, flourishing and intimate marriage. Here are 10 ways to strengthen, encourage, and grow your marriage.
1- Pray. Like all the time. I set up each day of the week to focus my prayer time towards a specific area of my life. Mondays are for my marriage. I have a list of things I pray over my marriage and make my way through them over the entire month. Also- pray for your husband and his specific role as your husband and leader of your family and pray for yourself as his wife.
2- Take the Love Language Test. This is such an awesome tool- you take the test and it will list the ways, in order, that you feel most loved. Everyone is different and learning to love each other by your love language will be a game changer.
3- Check in. I know that may seem like a duh thing- but really, check in on your husband. Ask him how he’s doing, if he feels loved and supported, if he is feeling fulfilled and satisfied and if there is anything you can be doing different to make him feel more loved and supported. I check in on my husband at least weekly. Sometimes as wives and mothers it can be easy to take our husbands for granted when days get busy and we are tired. Checking in helps us to put him and our marriage first.
4- Flirt! Act like you are still dating. Send sexy texts. Keep the fire alive.
5- Set up date nights. This is so important. Dates don’t have to be expensive and can even happen at home. We have a once a week at home date night and we make it sibling date night as well. The kids go upstairs with a special snack and watch a movie and we stay downstairs and watch a show, play a game or just hang out. We are also lucky enough to have a teenager now so she babysits for us a couple days a week. We go on hikes during my husbands lunch break and out on a lunch date a few times a month.
6- Initiate intimacy. Like duh right? But I realized that my husband was always the one initiating intimacy. I want him to know that I desire him just as much as he desires me. I read this saying once- A man feels connected through intimacy and a woman needs to feel connected to desire intimacy. No matter how busy life is, how tired you are or how not in the mood you may be- get it on!
7- Take care of yourself. If we as wives and mothers are not taking care of ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically we will not be able to give to those who need us. I know that on the days I miss my quiet time I feel overwhelmed easier and get impatient with my family.
8- Be interested in him. When my husband and I were dating he was really into video games. I had never played before and didn’t have any desire to but I wanted to bond with my sweet new beau so I started playing video games with him and had a blast. I genuinely want to know about the stuff he is into. I ask him about work, any books he’s reading, articles he found interesting and any new video games he is playing. We now share an interest in almost all the same things and it has grown us into the best of friends.
9- Outserve your husband. When my husband and I were doing premarital counseling the one thing that really stuck with us was the concept of outserving each other. If I am putting his needs before my own and he is putting mine before his own then our marriage will be full. But you can only work on yourself, so no matter where your husband is on the art of serving, focus on serving him and loving him. Proverbs 31:11 describes a wife- Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
10- Put God first, and your husband second. God is your number one man 🙂 Your relationship with your creator has to come first and has to be THE priority. Your husband comes next and that means he comes before your kids. That’s a hard one in today’s culture. Without a strong relationship with God and a strong marriage you can’t have a strong family.
These are things that I try to do on a regular basis. I’m not perfect and sometimes I act like a less than awesome wife. Sometimes my husband acts like a less than awesome husband. We just continue to put effort into our marriage. We have a weekly coaches meeting to check in with each other, have bible and prayer time and just make it a priority to be together. We set aside specific time every day that is just for us- no kids allowed. We even have a little stop sign we hang on our door to let them know to leave us alone for a little while. We have had seasons where we were so disconnected and I hated it. A good marriage takes intentionality. And it will still have it’s rough moments. But- you can create a strong foundation that can withstand those rough moments.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up. 1 Thess 5:11
Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecc 4:9