5 Critical Choices You Need to Make Daily to Have a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime

BY: - 25 Aug '16 | Marriage

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I don’t take for granted that I have a fulfilling, happy and amazing relationship with my husband. Is everything perfect? Of course not. But everything is perfect for us and our relationship.

Over the decade that we’ve been married, we’ve seen a lot of marriages fail. And every time, we hear of another failed marriage, it leads us to dialogue about our own marriage. We bring the focus and conversation to our own marriage to figure out how we always stay far away from that narrative.

I’ve talked about how we’ve had to grow up in our marriage, how we’ve learned to have a happy marriage, how to reduce conflict in our marriage and even things we needed to learn how to let go of in our marriage. Through our highs and plateaus (cause I don’t speak life into “lows”), we’ve learned that our marriage is built on choices. And here are the five choices I’m encouraging you to also make in order to thrive in your marriage daily.

1. Choose Love

When things don’t go according to plan, when you get hurt by the one who’s supposed to protect you, choose love.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Choosing love doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt or upset. It just means you choose to not to return hurt with more hurt.

2. Choose Respect

Respect proves that above all: differences, opinions, values, that you honor your spouse and their dignity as a person. No matter how strong we may feel about something, we’ve had to learn to de-escalate so as not to turn fear or anger into disrespect.

3. Choose Faith

As I mentioned early, we’ve seen many marriages fall apart—and others struggle. But no matter what, we choose faith. We choose faith in our relationship, in our marriag and in our relationship with God. We choose to have faith that no matter what the reports say about marriages struggling to survive, that we will choose to believe that we are the “exception to the rule.”

4. Choose Happiness

Contrary to popular belief, you are in control of your happiness. If you only read about negative relationships or don’t have couples in your circle that exemplifies a happy and thriving marriage, it will negatively impact your own relationship. Choose to exude happiness, to surround yourself with happiness and to give happiness.

5. Choose Your Spouse

When you got married, you and your spouse formed a team. While my husband and I have had to learn over time exactly what that meant, we do understand that we choose each other—always. No matter what goes on personally or professionally, I make sure I discuss it with my husband. I understand the decisions I make can impact him in some way. When it comes to kids, friends, family, my husband and I have to keep a united front. I have his back, and he has mine.

You’ve chosen to get married. Now, choose to stay in your marriage, to fight for your marriage, and make the decision today (and every day) to choose love, respect, faith, happiness and your spouse at all times.

BMWK: What marriage choices do you make daily to make sure you and your spouse stay connected and maintain a thriving 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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The One Thing Women Frequently Do That Prevents Them from Growing as Wives

BY: - 25 Aug '16 | Marriage

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My husband and I attended a marriage conference recently.  And they had a breakout session where the wives went in one room and the husbands went in another room. The purpose of the session was to have an honest and open dialogue about being a husband or a wife.

We were encouraged to ask questions and share our heartfelt experiences about our marriages—all within a secure atmosphere outside earshot of our spouses.

At the beginning of the session, the ground rules were set: “This is not a husband-bashing or wife-bashing session. We don’t want to spend 45 minutes venting about the shortcomings of your spouse. Instead, let’s take this opportunity to discuss the challenges you are facing as a husband/wife and how you can improve in those areas.”

While I’m not sure what went down in the men’s breakout session, the wives did not adhere to ground rules. Every…single…comment, from the first to the last, was about something their husbands were doing wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great session, as it allowed us to learn from each other as wives. And we received great advice from our panel of experts on how to handle those situations.

However, I feel like we missed an opportunity for growth—the type of growth that you can only get from taking personal responsibility for your own actions and your own happiness in the marriage.

Here’s what the The National Institute on Marriage has to say about taking personal responsibility in marriage:

“We find in our Intensives that one of the most challenging concepts to grasp is the idea of personal responsibility. In fact, one of our therapists refers to it as “the best marriage advice that no one wants to hear.” It seems that most couples who enter marriage therapy are looking for ways that their spouse needs to change for them to feel better and the marriage to work out. Imagine the surprise when one of the first things that they learn here is that each individual is actually responsible for their own well being and what they choose to contribute to the relationship. We believe that when two partners in a marriage make this choice the marriage will benefit greatly. Marriage researchers Scott Stanley, Howard Markman and Susan Blumberg seem to capture this when they say, “A great marriage is predicted not so much by your finding the right partner as by your being the right partner.” Overall, it appeared that those who responded to our survey would agree with them.


If you are walking into every marriage workshop, counseling session or ministry meeting with the sole objective of finding out how your husband can do things better, then you are going to miss the opportunity to learn how you, as a wife, can do things better in your relationship.

Sometimes, we get so focused on what our husbands are doing, we don’t take the time to notice that we’re bringing some junk to the table too.  I know, because I’ve been there. (If I’m still honest, I’m still there from time to time.)

And I know it can be hard for you to not focus on him.  Especially when I frequently hear complaints like: he’s messy; he’s not doing his fair share around the house; he yells; he doesn’t help with the kids; he’s controlling; he’s forgetful, etc. And I can go on and on and on with examples.

But what about you?  What are you doing?  Are you communicating properly, are you being passive aggressive? How about controlling…are you trying to make sure things are being done your way and only your way? Are you spending too much money?  Are you on social media too much? Are you worried about his socks being on the floor when your bathroom counter is messy? Are you moody or disrespectful?  I could go on and on too.  But I won’t.

My point is that we all are human, and we all fall short.  And I’ve personally found that when I take some time to focus on myself I am able to:

  • Put things into perspective – his socks are on the floor, but dang…look at all of those natural hair products on my sink.
  • Become solution oriented – so we both are messy, let me think of some ways that we both can improve in this area. But I better come correct if I am going to be blaming him for being messy.
  • Have more empathy – my spouse extends me grace every day, and I need to do the same for him.
  • Focus on my own happiness – whether he changes his actions or not, this is what I want and need; and I am going to take control of making sure I get it.
  • Be a better wife and mother – when I do the self-work, not only to I benefit, but my husband and my kids do too.

“A great marriage is predicted not so much by your finding the right partner as by your being the right partner.” — Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, & Susan L. Blumberg, Fighting for Your Marriage

And I know you can’t do this alone.  As the The Marriage Institute says above, each person in the marriage should take responsibility and contribute.  And when you both do that, your marriage wins.

So fellas, I kind of tricked you.  You probably read this article thinking, I need to send this to my wife because she needs to read this.  But it’s actually a message for you too.  And ladies, if you got to the bottom of this article and the only thing you can think of is that my husband needs this because he needs to work on himself, then you need to read this article again.

BMWK, start today. What aspect of your relationship can you take ownership of and then  work on improving?

About the author

Nina Hemphill Reeder wrote 71 articles on this blog.

Nina Reeder is the assistant editor at BMWK. Reeder is a professional journalist, who has contributed for publications and outlets, such as Ebony magazine, AOL.com, Marriott Hotels and more. She has also worked as the senior editor at Upscale magazine, a national lifestyle/entertainment magazine.


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