8 Key Elements Every M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E Must Have

BY: - 20 Feb '14 | Marriage

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8 Key Elements Every M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E Must Have

When you surround yourself with great people, you are bound to be great. This statement holds true when it comes to marriages. When I think about growing old and gray with my husband, I think about how we will have to grow mentally and spiritually. If we’re not growing as a unit, then neither is our marriage.

Earlier this week, Lamar and Ronnie shared a quote by Dr. Gary Chapman that really made me reflect: “Marriages get better or worse, they don’t stand still.” They then asked: What are you actively doing to make your marriage better? If the honest answer is nothing, then it may be moving in the wrong direction.

Well, thankfully, I can honestly say, I am actively always on the quest to make my marriage better. With all of the negative attacks that are placed on marriages on a daily basis, I can’t afford not to. And you can’t either! Writing for this site has really opened my eyes to areas that I need to personally work on, and areas that we need to work on as a unit.

So as I reflected on this, here are 8 key characteristics that should be prevalent in your own marriage:

M – Make sure your marriage is a priority.

It’s so easy for us to say, of course it’s a priority. But when you really think about it: do you drop everything to tune in to your spouse when they are talking? Or are you only half listening? Do your kids’ or or careers come before your spouse?

A – Above all else, communicate with each other.

Take your differences, issues, problems to God and not your friends or family members that don’t have your best interest at heart.

R – Reliance. Rely on each other through thick and thin.

Trust and believe in each other. Your spouse should know your vulnerabilities, and you, theirs. You should rely on your spouse to carry you when you are up or down, and vice versa.

R – Respect your differences.

When two unique individuals come together under one roof for a lifetime, it’s inevitable that you will not always agree. Differences of opinion and beliefs will vary and change over time. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to replace differences with disrespect.

I – Initiate intimacy.

But initiate with the understanding of what your spouse’s love language is…and not that of your own. Try to really spend time focusing on your spouses needs, and yours will be a by-product. You should also understand what intimacy really means in a marriage.

A – Always focus on what’s important.

When my parents shared secrets to celebrating 47 years of marriage, they talked about the fact that regardless of what they were facing: getting each other to heaven was their only end goal. When we focus on what our spouse is or isn’t doing, or past hurts and faults, we lose site of what’s really important.

G – Gratitude should be a daily habit.

Giving thanks to and for your spouse goes a long way. Your spouse should never feel like they are less important or appreciated. Just because you may each take on certain “roles” in your household and marriage, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be constant appreciation.

E – Example. What example are you setting?

Your marriage is the foundation and sets the example for what your children and even those seeking to enter into marriage are looking to. When we express love, humility, forgiveness and communication in front of our children, they will naturally learn to express the same (regardless of what the may see on TV or in society.

BMWK: What key characteristics would you add for a long-lasting marriage?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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Get Out of Survival Mode; 5 Things to Help Your Marriage Thrive

BY: - 21 Feb '14 | Marriage

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I’ve been married for over 5 years.  That’s not long by most standards, but long enough for me to realize that making our marriage last isn’t about how much we love each other; it’s about our willingness to put in the work. Are we willing to give this thing our all in an effort to not just survive, but to actually thrive as partners?

Sometimes when you hear people talk about their marriage, it can seem like they are always in survival mode.  It’s understandable how people get to that place.  Marriage is a beautiful thing, but when you take two independent lives and merge them, it can be complicated.  Challenges arise.  People fall short of meeting expectations.

What every couple has to realize, however, is that if you just stay in survival mode, you will never enjoy the journey and at some point the desire to simply survive fades.  You have to make that shift from wanting to survive as a couple to wanting to thrive.  When you do this, you start making decisions more carefully, and as a result your relationship begins to blossom. Surviving is part of the process, but being in that mode should be short-lived, allowing the couple to shift their focus to thriving.

Here are 5 things that can help you not only survive the challenging times in your relationship, but can help your relationship thrive.

1. The ability to look inward. Sometimes couples can fall into the trap of pointing fingers, but no good comes from that.  Take some time to take a close look at yourself and your actions.  What have your contributions been? What can you do to make things better?  How can you change? What do you feel like you are missing on a personal level? Being able to look inward stops you from always looking outward for answers. Sometimes the answer is within.

TNMCoupleWalkingTalking2. A shared vision. Do you share a vision for your marriage?  If not, it’s a conversation that needs to happen.  If you both know where you want to go (and it’s the same place), it’s a lot easier to get over the humps (and there will be humps) and work towards creating the life you desire.

3. Forgiveness. If you cannot develop the ability to forgive and move on, your relationship will suffer. If you feel like your spouse has wronged you, you must develop the capacity to forgive. You must also be able to forgive yourself when necessary. Forgiveness heals and healing is a key when it comes to making the most of your marriage.

4. Living in the moment. You can’t change what happened yesterday, and you can’t predict what tomorrow will bring.  Sure, it’s important to plan for the future you desire as a couple, but you have to be able to live in (and enjoy) the present moment.

5. Faith. Having faith in something that is far greater than your relationship is important.  It also serves as a foundation for your marriage and a compass to guide the direction you choose to follow. Whether you are in survival mode, or you are making big decisions to help your marriage thrive, nothing can give you what you need the way God can.

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 488 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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