There is a natural tendency in marriage to just SURVIVE and fail to THRIVE. You know – there is nothing necessarily wrong with your marriage, but there is not a whole lot that’s particularly great about it either. Here are six tips that Nannette and I have found helpful in our marriage over the years that keep the love fresh and the relationship enjoyable. It’s an easy acronym:
Value The Moments
Express Love & Respect
Key Verse: Eph. 4:32 – “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”
Tenderness is not hard. Kindness expresses it. Forgiveness protects it. Consider making “Tenderness” one of your family values. If we truly value tenderness we realize that nothing is worth having at the cost of our tenderness with each other. How is your tenderness with each other doing?
Any time you feel like you’ve lost your tenderness, stop whatever you are doing, grab hands and say this simple prayer together, “God please restore our tenderness.” It’s simple and the results are supernatural!
2. Hold Hands
Key Verse: 1 Cor. 7:3 – “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
The principle here is that we owe it to each other to be affectionate. Think of your relationship as having an affection account. We need to deposit into that account every day. Holding hands is a powerful deposit of affection because we subconsciously only touch those we like. By reaching out and touching your spouse’s hand you are effectively communicating, “Hey, I like you!”
Hold hands as much as you can. Do it when you go for a walk, while driving, sitting on the couch, in church, etc. Remember, we touch those we like – reach out and touch each other today.
3. Read Together
Key Verse: Acts 15:31 – “When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”
Reading together is romantic, relaxing & rewarding. It slows life down, spurs conversation, doesn’t come with commercials, and is cheaper than cable. It diminishes your screen time and increase your face to face time. It also lays a good foundation for your children by instilling in them a great love for reading.
Commit to reading something encouraging together – It can be a novel, a how to book, devotional, etc. Try and mix up the genre to keep it interesting. When was the last time you snuggled up on the couch and read a book together?
4. Impart Grace
Key Verse: Eph. 4:29 – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Grace is getting something good you don’t deserve. Relationships start getting difficult when we stop giving each other grace. Grace doesn’t look for faults but looks for opportunities to be a blessing.
Enjoy saying & doing the little things that bless your spouse. Write them a text right now that says something kind and encouraging. Just a simple “I love U” can go a long way in building up your spouse. The more you build up your spouse the more you will enjoy a great spouse. The more you tear them down, the more dissatisfied you will be with the result.
5. Value the Moments
Key Verse: Matt. 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Notice, Jesus didn’t say, “Where you heart is, there you will put your treasure.” He seems to imply that we can direct our heart based on where we invest our treasure. Gift giving is an important part of a thriving marriage. The simple principle here is, the more you value your spouse, the more valuable you marriage will become.
Husbands, buy your wife some flowers today, not because you did something wrong, but because she’s worth it! Buy her a simple piece of jewelry, not because it’s a holiday, but because she’s precious. Wives, what is something practical that your husband would love to use – a tool, a gadget, etc.? Every time he uses it he’s likely to think about what a great wife he has.
6. Express Love & Respect
Key Verse: Eph. 5:25 – “let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Express love in the way your spouse hears it. Husbands, tell her you love her and that she is beautiful daily – she needs to hear it. Wives, tell him how proud you are of him daily – he needs to hear it.
If you haven’t read Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman yet, it is well worth the read and can really help you understand how to express love in a way that makes a difference to your spouse.