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?