People eat right and exercise to prevent health problems. Why not take measures to help ensure a healthy marriage? With a high divorce rate many things can be done to prevent one’s marriage from separation. There are elements that can and should be taken into account from the very first year. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you love each other your marriage will be successful. Any marriage requires work. Don’t let the honeymoon stage last too long. Here are six requirements of preventative care for a lasting marriage.
You say, of course. That is why we get married. But do you know what real love is? I don’t mean the kind in the bedroom; that comes naturally. You must enter into marriage with a proper understanding of love. True love is not based on feelings. It is not a, “I will love you if you love me back” kind of thing. It isn’t conditional. Real love that lasts involves commitment and is an act of willful choice. You choose to love someone regardless. There is a difference between liking and loving. You may not like something about your partner but you choose to still love them.
You must persistently practice forgiving your partner. When you don’t you end up holding on to hurts and feelings. Like love, forgiveness is an act of will and it is not always easy to do. If you wait until you feel like forgiving them you may never do it. It may not happen right away but the longer you choose not to forgive, the greater the hurt will become. You must practice forgiveness as a preventative measure to avoid future problems.
Don’t cast blame. Talk about facts and feelings without pointing the finger. Stick to the issues. Keep your tone of voice down. Yelling never accomplishes anything. Don’t put down the other person.
It is not conflict that can pose a problem as much as how you talk about it. Sometimes there is no right or wrong, just different perspectives. Don’t try to come out a winner. Ask yourself what is best for the relationship. Think of your marriage as a new baby that requires tender loving care.
NURTURING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Don’t wait until you have problems to go to counseling. Counseling can give you a lot of tips about how to have a healthy marriage. Attend marriage enrichment seminars. Don’t think that because you are newly married you don’t need these things. Make it a point to have evenings together. Don’t allow jobs or busyness crowd out special times together.
HOLINESS VERSUS HAPPINESS
It is important, of course, to be happy in marriage, but God is more interested in us becoming holy. Marriage is a way to do this. That means allowing trying situations or the “rough edges” of the other person to refine your character.
Marriage requires a lot of preventative maintenance. Put these things into practice and you are less likely to become a divorce statistic. Neglect will catch up with you. That is why the Bible has much to say about it and there is not space here to list all of the passages. That is something you can do as a couple. Two references will have to suffice for now, Colossians 3:18-19: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them,” and Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
How can you work on your marriage to keep it alive and healthy? What specific things can you do as preventative maintenance?
Great article! As sacred as a marriage is (and it IS!) … I’ve learned that keeping a marriage alive is also about not EXPECTING that person to fulfill me. I’d get the lines crossed sometimes … angry or hurt over some dumb thing. There are parts of my heart that ONLY GOD HIMSELF can sooth and make whole. It really takes the pressure off the spouse when you don’t require that person to always keep you “happy”. Just my 2 cents. Love it John, you’re an awesome writer.
Thank you so much for your comment, Lindsey. If it helps just one marriage it was worth writing it.