Regardless of whether you have been married for one year or twenty years, relationships thrive when they are intentional. Relationships will never be perfect, they are about loving one another and serving one another through imperfections and stagnant seasons of disconnect and chaos. They are about getting to know who your marriage partner really is at their very core through the struggles and the triumphs.
Whether your marriage is in a season that feels distant, stale, or in completely different zip codes you should keep devoting yourself to your spouse. If you feel more connected than ever, you should continue investing in your relationship.
Just like plants, relationships require nutrients, pruning, enjoyment, and praise for growth. It is very common for people to say, “But this is not the person I married,” however, you should be constantly trying to change in the best way. You should be growing together – exploring passions, making your faith a priority, and choosing your spouse, even on difficult days.
6 Marriage Counseling Tips
Here are six marriage counseling tips to help you invest in your marriage today and every single day, moving forward:
1. Say “I love you.”
Never underestimate the power of these three words and the commitment you made on the day you said yes to forever. Saying “I love you” is choosing your partner every single day. It is a reminder of where you have been and where you are headed. It is choosing hope and fresh starts together every single day.
“Staying married, therefore, is not mainly about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. ‘Till death do us part’ or ‘As long as we both shall live’ is a sacred covenant promise – the same kind Jesus made with His bride when He died for her.” – John Piper
Saying “I love you,” says:
I am here for you.
I choose you.
I am your person, no matter what life throws at us.
I am by your side.
I am your biggest cheerleader.
We are better together.
2. Pray for your spouse.
One of the most powerful tools for your marriage is prayer. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes hearts. Prayer unites. Prayer heals. Prayer covers your home with a desire to be more like Christ. Pray for your spouse when you are alone and pray when you are together. Making God the center of your life and marriage is the “recipe” to a lasting marriage.
“Great marriages don’t happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect, and a rock-solid commitment between a husband and a wife.” – Dave Willis
3. Show affection and have fun together.
When a couple is dating, you go over the top to have fun together and show your affection. You kiss “hello” and “goodnight.” You hold hands, just because. You plan exciting dates, and you plan simple movie nights just because you want to spend time together.
Married couples must continue investing in one another. Have fun together. Cuddle. Kiss. Write love notes. Send her flowers because you are thinking about how beautiful she is. Drop him off his favorite coffee at work because you feel so blessed to be married to him. Tell them, show them, love them!
Here are a few fun activities to get you started if you feel lost:
- Go on a romantic picnic and ditch cell phones.
- Have a paint night and draw one another’s self-portraits.
- Serve in a soup kitchen or at a charity event together.
- Serve in church together.
- Plan a movie night – complete with popcorn and candy!
- Revisit your favorite date spot from “back in the day.”
- Try a drive-in movie.
- Have a dessert-making competition at home.
- Go on a hike.
- Train for a 5K together.
- Take a cooking class together.
- Go on a short road trip!
- Take a sunset walk on the beach.
Quality time together does not have to be expensive – just make it intentional.
4. Serve your spouse.
In a world that is constantly saying “I need more from you,” make it your mission to serve your spouse first. Do not wait until they do something to show their appreciation for you. Do not wait until their birthday, anniversary, or Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. Serve your spouse like Jesus served others – not to receive something in return, but because His heart was focused on true, genuine, sacrificial love.
Simple ways to serve your spouse:
- Make them coffee or breakfast in the morning.
- Clean up the kitchen after dinner and encourage them to rest or do something for themselves.
- Make their favorite meal.
- Tackle their “normal” chores before they have a chance to do them.
- Prepare their favorite snack or dessert “just because.”
- Pack their lunch.
- Drop their favorite coffee off at work.
- Initiate physical intimacy.
- Give them a massage.
- Wash their car.
- Listen to them without interrupting.
- Let them sleep in while you get up early with the kids.
- Initiate doing one of their favorite things.
- Make the bed first.
- Write random love notes.
- Play their favorite song in the car.
- Flirt with them.
- Make your home welcoming and warm for their return.
- Play their favorite game.
- Get yourself dressed up for them.
- Gush about them to others.
- Tell them what they are good at/what you love about them.
- Prioritize them.
- Create time for them to pursue creative interests/hobbies.
5. Talk about your marriage.
While it may sound simple, communication is one of the main pitfalls of most relationships. Talk when it’s easy. Talk in the morning. Talk when there are things to celebrate. Talk when things are difficult. Talk when you are away from one another. Talk when you are struggling. Talk when you need help. Talk in the evening. Talk when you are laying in bed together. Just talk!
Aside from investing in conversations, choose to invest in your communication skills. Listen to your spouse. Do not listen to argue or make a point – really listen to them. Study their body language. Study your body language. Choose to listen to your tone when conversing and ensure it is not setting a demeaning tone.
“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” – G.K. Chesterton
6. Invest in marriage counseling.
Whether you feel your relationship is limping along or thriving, investing in marriage counseling is a decision that you will not regret. The counselors at our office would love to equip you with an emotional toolbelt to withstand the highs and lows of your marriage.
We want to see you pursue one another, work through any disagreements/baggage from the past, and move forward in the best way. Call and schedule your appointment today and continue saying “I DO” to your spouse every single day.
Scriptures to pray for your marriage:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:14, ESV
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8, NIV
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. – Romans 12:9, NIV
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. – Proverbs 17:17, ESV
Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34-35, ESV
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. – 1 Peter 3:7, ESV
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2, NIV
“Happy Couple”, Courtesy of Alba Rebecca, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Paying Bills”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Counseling”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Renovation”, Courtesy of Anastasia Shuraeva, Pexels.com, CC0 License