Save Your Marriage: Four Practical Tips to Strengthen Your Bond

Save Your Marriage: Four Practical Tips to Strengthen Your Bond

Without question, marriage is hard. Of course, ideally, you will have many times of joy, fun, and fulfillment. But you will also go through seasons of pain, turmoil, frustration, and strife. When these times inevitably come, you need to make sure you are ready and willing to tackle the issues at hand.

Part of this effort can be to seek professional help that will help you decipher the key issues in your relationship, and will assist you in rebuilding your marriage into all that God intends for it to be. Fight to save your marriage — it’s worth it.

Nowadays, marriage is seen as nothing more than a commodity; something that can be thrown away with ease. As Christians, we must seek to battle against the soaring rates of divorce and must desire to uphold this wonderful, God-given gift with all that we have.

Practical Tips to Save Your Marriage

Tip #1: Make sure love is more than a feeling

At the beginning of the relationship, love is often felt in a powerful and exhilarating way. The Greeks recognized this kind of love and called it “eros.” A physical attraction combined with outward personality qualities sets off a spark of feelings as two people come together.

In his book, Getting the Love You Want, Harville Hendrix puts forward the argument that people are attracted to those who have the outward qualities that represent someone who will meet all their unmet love needs. He also adds that we are prone to picking someone who has some of the negative qualities of those we love (often parents) in the hope that we can learn how to get love from a person who may be deficient in loving us as we want.

Hendrix theorizes that the attraction to overtly negative qualities is largely subconscious and has more to do with an innate desire for the wholeness that we may have experienced in our mother’s womb.

Time, however, is the great leveler. Marriage doesn’t always stay super exciting and fresh, and love tends to fade as we realize that not only is our spouse unable to meet all our needs, but they will also sometimes be a source of frustration to us.

Another Greek word for love is “agape.” This love is a pure and selfless love that gives itself away whether or not the love is reciprocated. This type of love is often associated with God – indeed, we see it attested to in the Scriptures.

In Matthew 16:18, we see this type of love in action between Jesus and Peter. Jesus gives him the name “Rock” prior to him becoming worthy of such a title. Still, Jesus had confidence in this man, as he knew he would be a rock of the church once he had experienced the full extent of God’s love through His sacrifice.

This is a fantastic model and message to apply to your marriage. Sacrificial love is about always believing the best for your partner, and loving them through their failures.

Don’t seek to focus on the weakest parts of your spouse, but instead commit yourself to building them up and encouraging them in their gifts and pursuits. Always show them grace, knowing that you are not perfect either! This must be done out of a deep understanding of the grace that God shows to us every single day. A belief in sacrificial and selfless love can only help your marriage.

Tip #2: Deal with your desires

Couples therapist, John Gottman, describes how marriages fail through what he coins the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

The common theme among all of these damaging behaviors is that they focus solely on keeping marital issues far from the emotional part of our inner-being. They are all defense mechanisms that fail to deal with the root issues.

In James 4:1-4, we read about a much deeper approach to solving relational conflicts. James explains how the root of all conflict is a frustrated relational desire due to one or both people refusing to nurture a healthy relationship with God.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” – James 4:1

Often, fighting is simply a result of one partner just naming what they really want. This passage teaches us to submit our desires to God first and foremost.

This process helps us to take ownership of our issues instead of constantly putting them on other people. We must have faith in God to meet our needs. If we interact with our spouse out of a place of ultimate trust in the Lord, our discussions and disagreements will become much healthier.

We must always turn to God and let him fill up where we are lacking. We cannot constantly look to our spouses for this – that would be too much to expect. They are going to get it wrong much of the time. Of course, we can improve our behavior toward one another, but we are going to mess up. When we do, will we seek to trust in the Lord’s love, or will we go on the attack against our partner? We must pray at all times, harboring a passion for the Lord and asking for more of his grace when dealing with our marital issues.

Tip #3: Put your marriage first, second only to God

Marriage is a God-ordained ordinance. The Lord expects us to put everything into upholding and respecting this holy covenant and union with another person.

If you want to build a firm foundation in your marriage, you must learn to honor and commit yourself to loving your spouse unconditionally. Intimacy in marriage is critical. Set time aside to connect with your spouse on a deep physical and spiritual level.

Life is crazy busy. Work commitments, kids, financial concerns – there is a lot to deal with. Marriages can begin to resemble something of a business arrangement – a way of simply getting things done.

Kids can also become a distraction, or even a focal point for the discontented spouse to pour themselves into. When children come along, be careful not to neglect your marriage.

Take good care of your kids, show them love and spend quality time with them, but don’t forget about your husband or wife! When the kids have all left home, you don’t want to discover that the intimacy in your marriage has been left stagnant and subsequently died out. So, how can you make your marriages a priority?

Here are a few more practical tips to help save your marriage:

  • Pray together daily
  • Regularly share what you’re learning in your spiritual walk together
  • Encourage your partner more than you criticize them
  • Seek out opportunities to build confidence in your spouse, help them deal with insecurity
  • Talk every day and plan regular date nights
  • Read books and take advice regarding how to improve your marriage
  • Discover a recreational activity that you both like doing together
  • Stay far away from adultery!

If your marriage is struggling for air and nothing seems to be improving despite your best efforts, it may be time to seek professional help.

Tip #4: Be the change you want to see in your marriage

It is easy for unhealthy patterns of behavior to become embedded within your marriage. When you are married, your shortcomings no longer go unnoticed. They affect the other person, and may even have a damaging consequence on your relationship. For example, a husband may be very self-absorbed and focused on their own needs, leaving their wife feeling abandoned and alone.

Over time, the wife will begin to feel disrespected, disengaged and unhappy. When this happens, marital dysfunction reaches a new level, and you really are in a relational danger zone.

Depression may come, anger and frustration may be exhibited, and the idea of splitting up may be considered. The crucial issue becomes, “How do I change a dysfunctional pattern that has built up in my marriage?”

There are ways of fixing it. First, you must take responsibility for your actions and refuse to blame everything on the other person. If you are acting selfishly, you can change this. Sure, there may be elements of this behavior that are caused by your spouse’s behavior, but you cannot lump it all upon their shoulders. That is not fair. You must own your shortcomings. In all of this, you must both seek to be honest and open in dealing with your issues.

Second, both partners should seek to respect each other and must aim to show each other grace as they push forward in dealing with their marital issues. If there is an imbalance in the relationship, or if one side feels unjustifiably grieved, it may be time to seek out professional help.

How Christian Counseling Can Help Save Your Marriage

As Christians, it is important to know that there is always hope for your marriage. With the right professional help, we must always have faith that the Lord can save our relationships. Indeed, marriage is a beautiful reflection of God’s gracious love for us, and it is highly valued by the Lord himself. You must keep this firmly in mind as you go about working on your marital issues – God is fighting for both of you!

Proverbs 15:22 reads, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.” Bringing a neutral and professionally trained third party into your marriage can help relieve tension and will provide you with essential insights into the dysfunctional patterns that have developed in your relationship over time.

With the guiding hand of God, a trained Christian therapist will be able to help you save your marriage and move forward with your spouse into a refreshed season of love, joy, and marital fulfillment.

“Trouble”, Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao,; CC0 License; “Agape”, Courtesy of Alex Ronsdorf,; CC0 License; “God-centered Marriage”, Courtesy of Ben White,; CC0 License; “Resignation”, courtesy of Alexander Mils,; CC0 License


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