Sometimes Google can shed light on the heartbeat of the population.
Just start typing in words and viola! Suggestions start popping up.
Sometimes those suggestions are obvious. Type in the words “how to…” during election season and “how to register to vote” will appear.
Sometimes they are funny. When I type “why do…” the suggested response is “why do we yawn?”
But sometimes those Google suggestions are startling and scary. Like when I type in the words “my marriage is…”
- killing me
- falling apart
We might not think that’s such a big deal until we start asking why is do those words not conjure up suggestions like: My marriage is wonderful, My marriage is fulfilling, My marriage is better than I thought it would be.
Considering that our entire society sets the standard for marriage so high in movies and fairytales, why is the reality so starkly opposite?
As little girls, we dream of Prince Charming, happily ever afters and growing old together (hopefully dying on the exact same day, right?)
While I believe that there is no ONE secret key that will save every single marriage, I do believe there are a series of steps we can take with our spouses to avoid the Big “D” word and stay in love forever and ever!
How to Stay in Love Forever
1. Sex, Sex, and More Sex
I don’t think I can stress this one enough. It’s #1 on my list for a reason…because (for women) during any crisis, a moment of stress or addition of a child, sex is the first thing to go.
But sex is the only thing that differentiates our relationship with our spouse from our relationship with everyone else.
Without sex, we are only roommates.
Sex is especially important to most men. We can dance around this fact as women or embrace it.
Our husbands are much nicer men when we embrace the thing they love.
2. Spend Money on Each Other
There are ways to be intentional in your marriage, but none speaks intention like spending a little cash on that person you say you love.
Remember how extravagant we all were when we were young and in love (with all the money to spend on everything BUT bills!)?
I remember going to great length (financially and creatively) to surprise my husband before we were married, why would I not go to the same (if not greater) lengths now that he is my beloved husband?
Marriage can make us lazy sometimes, but it’s important to continue to put the same energy in our marriage now as we did at the beginning.
3. Spend Time Together at Home
Sitting in next to each other in bed while you are both on your iPhone doesn’t NOT count as quality time together.
I know sometimes we’d like to think it does…but it doesn’t.
It’s so very easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. The constant demands of children. The humdrum of chores.
By bedtime you might realize that you haven’t even looked into your spouse’s eyes.
Purpose to read a book together, talk about your day or take a shower together.
Enjoy each other in the home you’ve worked so hard to create.
Also, your children need to see that your relationship consists more of passing the plate of busyness back and forth.
4. Ask Questions
When is the last time you discovered something new about your spouse?
When is the last time you heard a story that you had never heard him tell before?
I don’t know about you, but there are things about myself that I am still discovering! If I don’t even understand myself completely, I can’t imagine the amount of undiscovered treasure I have yet to unearth in the heart of my spouse.
All it takes is a few questions.
- What are they thinking?
- How does it make them feel?
- Why do they think it makes them feel that way?
- What are they planning?
- Where do they see themselves in five years?
- Where did they imagine they’d already be doing by now?
The list goes on and on.
After you’ve asked a question. Sit back and listen. Don’t be afraid of the silence. Don’t be tempted to fill it with your own thoughts. Let them take that time to form their own thoughts.
5. Know Their Love Language
Is your spouse a toucher? Does he come up behind you and hug you while you are cooking?
Or maybe he always is asking for you to sit and watch a movie with him?
There are 5 Love Langauges that are available to people.
- Quality Time
- Gift Giving
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
Most people are dominant in two.
Many a marital fight could be put out if husbands and wives could understand the love language of their spouse.
If your love language is “Acts of Service” and your husband fails to take out the trash every. single. time. It would make sense why you would become livid after the sixth time of seeing the trash overflowing onto the floor.
But if he knew your love language, he might make more effort to do this chore for you.
If you knew his love language was touch, you might refrain from getting angry because he’s always groping you.
6. Don’t Grow Bitter
The common advice is to “not go to bed angry.”
While I think this is great advice, sometimes fighting until 2am means you both just need to get some sleep and work out your differences…tomorrow.
Focus on the Family has one of my favorite pieces of wisdom for a successful marriage. They say that “marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears.”
Long after a fight ends, the war can often still rage on in our heads. It’s important that we don’t let past hurts, unsaid emotions and wishful thinking build up in our hearts and cause us to resent our spouse.
Forgiveness is always the key to a healthy and long lasting marriage.
7. Go on Dates
A stack of bills to pay.
Kid’s homework to review.
A sink full of dirty dishes.
It can all wait.
Much like a husband and wife need to spend time at home together, it’s necessary to just to get away from it all.
To pretend, just for night, that it doesn’t exist.
To be free to the people we used to be…the one that our spouse fell in love with.
In the end, after all the kids are gone, after all the bills are paid (hopefully), and the dishes are done. It’s your spouse that you will be left with.
8. Put Each Other First
When you got married, you did something very special. You told the world and God that you were committed to this person for life. That they would be the one that would be your partner for life.
You didn’t do this with your mom.
You didn’t do this with your children.
You didn’t do this with your best friend or your sister.
You did it with your spouse.
It’s important to remember that your spouse comes before everything here on Earth.
There are many things that will try to squeeze between you. And it’s your job to remind them of your covenant with your spouse. Just like anything else, people will take whatever they can from you. It’s your job to set those boundaries, not theirs.
Your spouse is priority. End of story.
9. Don’t Threaten Divorce or Curse at Them
I believe that there are a million and one ways to make a marriage great, but there are only a handful of things that predict a marriage crumbling to pieces.
The act of threatening divorce or using curse words while in an argument can be very scary for a husband or wife to hear.
While the person saying them might not be that serious, the words can cause long-term damage.
Cursing during an argument or threatening divorcing also shows a lack of respect and self-control that marriages need to thrive.
If you have committed this blunder, please consider asking your spouse for forgiveness.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of this type of behavior, peacefully express to your spouse how you feel this might harm your relationship and discuss ways you might be able to better express yourself during an argument.
Tips for constructive argument
- Focus on the present argument. Don’t bring up past issues.
- Keep your voice down. If you are tempted to yell, whisper loudly instead.
- Take small breaks if you find yourself getting too worked up. Agree upon a time to reconvene.
- Hold each others hands.
- Remind each other often saying, “We are on the same team.”
10. Watch Out for Nagging or Snark
Similar to threatening divorce or cursing during an argument, we need to be careful of nagging or snark in our conversation.
I love sarcasm and a good snarky quip…but only at the right time.
There is a common phrase we say at my house: If it’s not fun for everyone…it’s not fun.
While not everyone might agree that sarcasm is an acceptable form of humor in the home, it’s important that whatever humor (ie practical jokes) is funny for everyone.
Snark should never be used as a lazy man’s way to nag. If you have something that is bugging you, be upfront about it. Don’t do it in a joke.
As for nagging, if you’ve already said your piece once about something that is bothering you about your spouse you don’t need to keep reminding them about it.
Caveat/Tip: If you feel that your spouse may forget your request, upon telling them the first time, ask them whether or not it would be okay to remind them if he doesn’t complete said task. Ask him how many times you can remind them and when/how they would prefer to be reminded (aka, via email and not in the middle of the BIG game or right when they comes over from work).
Marriage is a journey. It can be a fun one. Or it can be a miserable one.
There are many things that you can’t control in your marriage, but you can try these ways to stay in love forever as you drive down the road of marital life.
What are some of your favorite marriage tips you’ve heard or discovered?
Share in the comments!