We first have to start off by saying that part of our heart for Happily Hitched is to equip couples with the tools and resources they need to have thriving, lifelong marriages. For us in particular as Christians, that means a lot of what we believe about marriage is rooted in how we've come to understand God's design for marriage. As you read this, if you don't happen to subscribe to the same views, just take what's applicable to you! We know there are many beliefs different from our own, and that's ok! The end goal is to leave you thinking more about your marriage and the daily steps you'll take to make it work for you and your spouse.
There may be times when being nice and loving towards your spouse requires more effort than you honestly want to give. Have you ever thought about the influence you may let your feelings have over your life, and how you might let your feelings dictate your actions and behavior in your marriage? There’s a popular notion in our society today that tells us that if we don’t feel happy or if you don’t feel the love for and from your spouse, that we have the right to move on or to seek happiness elsewhere. Allowing any of your negative feelings to have a ruling authority in your marriage could be dangerous. We know marriage isn't going to be rainbows and sunshine everyday. But we do believe that when we have those bad days, that they will be temporary and that if we both continue to commit to bettering our relationship, there will be better days ahead.
The health of your marriage requires time and attention, despite how you may feel. Learning to weather the stormy days of your marriage will take time, consistency and a dedication to live not according to your feelings, but a dedication to trusting God to give you the ability to press on together as a couple, and to see you through all the dark days that will (not might) come your way.
Read on below to see how you can weather the stormy days of your relationship in 5 easy steps.
1. Commit Daily
Every day is a good day to re-commit yourself to your spouse! The wedding day should not be the only day you express your commitment to one another, but should be the first of many days of expressing that commitment. If you’re experiencing a rough patch in your relationship, it could be tempting to allow your mind to wander and think about separating if you don’t feel your spouse will stand by you no matter what. Not only should you make the decision to stand for your marriage daily, but you should make sure you express that to your spouse. While you both know you’ve come together for a lifetime commitment, it’s important that you hear each other say it often.
2. Set a Communication Strategy
Think back to how you’ve most effectively solved disputes in the past, or mended a troubled relationship. What are the triggers that led you to feeling upset? What do you need from one another to feel validated? Learning how to communicate with one another, and knowing what upsets you both, will help you avoid arguments due to a misunderstanding of how the other person may feel.
Together, you might want to think about what you need when you’re frustrated or upset. For example, do you find that in the midst of a disagreement you need time and space away? You may be someone who gets overwhelmed easily and inclined to walk away mid-discussion because you need some space to get in the right mindset to have a fruitful conversation. But does your spouse know a few moments alone is what you may need? By walking away while your husband is talking, what may feel like a brief relief to you may feel like a disregard for time and another’s concerns to your husband. Your actions may come across as uncaring. Don’t assume your husband knows what you need. Be deliberate in creating a strategy for how you will communicate with one another and be sure to highlight specific actions that make the two of you feel both validated, as well as those actions that may make you feel unheard.
3. Make a “Good Moments” Box!
Revisiting all your good moments as a couple will help you stay focused on getting through all of your not so good times. Each time you share a good moment with your husband, jot it down on a small piece of paper, date it, and put it in a special box. If you enjoy visuals, take some pictures that bring back good memories, get them printed, and add them to your box as well.
There’s something about written word that’s so beautiful. You’re able to preserve your most intimate thoughts and return to them as a reminder of the past. When you’re having a difficult time in your marriage, together as a couple, take some time to sit and read through all your good moments. Talk about what made those moments good, why they were enjoyable, and what you can do to get your relationship back on track to happier days.
4. Stay Prayerful
If you believe in the power of prayer, pray that regardless of how you feel, that God will give both you and your spouse the strength and determination to honor your commitment to each other. We’d encourage you to say that prayer out loud, and say them with your spouse. Make a bold declaration daily, speaking life and positivity over your marriage.
5. Do the One thing You Don’t Want to Do
You may not feel like doing things you normally would when you’re upset with your spouse. You may withhold making dinner when you know your spouse loves your cooking. You may decline going to a favorite location your spouse loves and say you’re busy instead. Does your husband enjoy back rubs and you find yourself too busy to offer one? Do you feel yourself holding back your affection and intimate moments because you’re upset?
Do the very things you don’t want to do!
Cook the meal, suggest you spend the night out at his favorite spot and give him the best back rub he's ever had! Express to your spouse that even though you’re still unhappy or frustrated with the current situation, you’re committed. Expressing your love and your giving heart even when you don’t want to will show how committed you are. Being loving to one another while also being upset are not, and should not, be mutually exclusive. If you want to get back to better days, put that thought into action and selflessly give of yourself by putting your pride aside.
These are all steps that are easy to do. But what can make them hard sometimes is our willingness to be consistent about doing them and overcoming any selfishness hidden inside of us. You have to be intentional with the time you have in order to make your marriage work. It will take a daily effort, but you can overcome and weather the stormy days.
On the Road to Happily Hitched? Here are your next action steps:
- Create a box to hold all of the good moments that will come as a married couple. Show your creativity by decorating your box or give it as a gift!
- Think through how you communicate when you’re upset. Do you clearly articulate how you feel? When you disagree with your special someone, are you still able to give them the attention they deserve as you listen to them share their thoughts? What are some ways you can practice communicating better before you get married?