5 Ways to ‘Work On’ Your Marriage
Newly married and experienced couples alike have likely been given the advice to ‘work on their marriage’. Which in reality is great advice. But it is only useful if one fully understands what that even means. If we have a tangible way to think about and implement this working on, it becomes much easier for us to actually do it.
Here are 5 ways you can work on your marriage.
1 – Pray (together!)
When you think about it, there is really no more intimate thing than prayer. In prayer, we are fully vulnerable, we are open, we are our truest self. Unfortunately, sometimes in marriage, we are not. But when we pray together, we foster a relationship of openness. Now most of us know the power of prayer in our own, individual lives, but this is uniquely special in marriage.
Coming before the father together unites a couple and brings them back on to the same team. It is a reminder to a couple that this crazy thing called marriage is about us and God. Us and God versus the devil, versus the world, versus our flesh… but it is not a battle between husband and wife. Prayer is a frequent reminder of this vital truth.
Additionally, in praying together we are forced to communicate. Communication can become lost in marriage. Between the day-to-day and the mundane and the kids, we can begin to distance ourselves. But when we pray together, we communicate either directly or indirectly. What are we thankful for as a couple? What do we need to repent of? What do we need God to help us with? Who do we need to serve? Praying together builds a unified heart, and more importantly, a unification to God.
Praying together is intimate and it is divine and it should be a tool all couples utilize as often as possible. If sipping coffee and having quiet time is a kiss, then praying together is making love. And who would want to miss out on that part of marriage? J
2 – Play
This can be an easy one if your life circumstances allot for it. It can be a monumental challenge if life circumstances do not. Bottom line, is we need time alone, together, to just be a couple and enjoy life together. Most of us fell in love doing just that. But in marriage, we often are so busy with life we lose sight of enjoying life together! So often we are stuck being parents or stuck being (fill in the occupation) or stuck driving or maybe enjoying personal hobbies and finding me time. Nonetheless, we somehow forget how to enjoy life together.
This is why date nights and nights out with friends are so important as marriage goes on. We have to make it a priority to date and to play.
Go have wine or coffee and just hang for an hour. See a show. Go to the gym. Go on a hike. Go do life together. Remind yourself who you fell in love with and why you fell in love with them. Prioritize alone time together!
3 – Display
Many of us have heard of the 5 Love Languages and if you haven’t then I strongly suggest investing some time reading it with your spouse. Essentially the book identifies 5 specific love languages (ways we like to receive affection and love). One of the main claims of the book is that as individuals, we tend to love others in the ‘language’ we like to receive… but often that is not the same love language of our spouse, so you can end up spinning your wheels and leaving your spouse feeling underappreciated.
The solution is quite simple. Identify the ways they feel loved and do them!
If quality time is their main love language, then show them you love them by getting your butt home and staying there. If physical touch is theirs, then make it a point to rub their neck at the end of the day and touch their back and shoulders when you cross paths in the kitchen. And so on and so on… You get the point.
We must display our love and appreciation for our spouses in a way we know they crave, in a way we know they will appreciate. These constant and intentional displays of affection will only lead to a more satisfied spouse, a spouse more willing to reciprocate your love language, and a spouse more willing to grant grace and forgiveness in times when you wrong him or her.
4 – Pursue
Often the pursuit and wooing of a spouse happens over the course of years. We do all we can to pursue and to woo… But unfortunately, so many spouses stop the pursuit once they are married. Which makes some sense when you think about it… I mean, there is some logic there after all. After the chase and the kill, most lions are ready for a nap, not ready to chase again.
But we cannot sleep on the pursuit in marriage!
We have to pursue and woo our spouse. This goes hand-in-hand with #3 – Display, but it is not the same. Sometimes the act can even be the same, but the difference lies within the heart…
Think of it like this: If Displaying is maintenance, Pursuit is improvement and betterment. Displaying takes place because you know your spouse. Pursuit is actively trying to deepen your knowledge and expand upon what you already know. Where are they on their faith walk? What are they striving for right now? What are they struggling and wrestling with? Pursuit allows us to ask and know the answers to these questions and will deepen our intimacy with our spouse tenfold.
5 – Renew (your vows, that is)
Now this one is not necessarily one you can do on the daily, but rather one that is meant to be revisited every year or few years, similar to written goals.
Most of us have long forgotten our vows from our wedding days. Even newlyweds have likely forgotten. But how powerful would it be if we were to revisit those vows together? OR better yet, write new vows and recite them to each other? Most think of renewing vows as a big ceremony or party, similar to a wedding. And yes, it could be.
But it could also just be husband and wife, reshaping and rewriting and sharing their promises, sharing their hopes, their love, their cares, their goals for their marriage. Marriages change over time. And yes, some vows will remain – in sickness and in health, till death do us part – but writing new vows, vows that stand on the last x amount of years, those vows will shape a new future.
Whether you do it formally or informally, renewing vows gives marriage new life and a fresh start.
– Hope you enjoyed these tools to ‘work on’ your marriage. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, share this with someone you think will enjoy it, and keep working on your marriage! –