Do you intentionally maintain your marriage? It doesn’t matter which phase of marriage you are on. You should! We maintain our vehicles by changing the oil, buying new tires, and keeping the inside and outside clean. Do you invest more care and intention in maintaining your car than you maintain your marriage? If you have to think about how to answer, that might be a red flag.
Ephesians 5:33 says, “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” This simple sentence, if observed, should keep all spouses firmly together. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for many married couples who face family crisis, separation, and divorce. We should all be very intentional about maintaining our marriages. Our society is founded on the family, but the erosion of morals and the surge of relativism has devastated our family values. “Relativism” is the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute. Essentially, we are our own god, and we determine what is right and wrong apart from the scriptures.
Families are strong when husbands and wives love and serve one another selflessly. When the marriage breaks down, the family breaks down. Our children depend on their families in many ways. Strong families make strong children and strong children make more strong families, and in return a stable, strong society.
What You Should Consider Doing to Maintain Your Marriage
There are so many ways to maintain your marriage. In fact, many of the best techniques take less time and cost less than an oil change on your car. Here are a few that you can employ immediately and often.
One: When you are riding in the car with your spouse, hold hands. Driving to the supermarket or the soccer game with the kids can be a special opportunity to hold hands with your spouse and tell her you are still in love after so many years.
Two. Sincere compliments, a lot of them. “You are beautiful.” “You look really great in that outfit.” “You are the best wife in the world.” “You are doing a great job with the kids.”
Three. Do what it takes to spend time together without kids. Remember when you and your spouse were single? With some effort, you can relive those great times. Find a babysitter you really trust and invest the time and some money in going out with your spouse together. You’ll love it. Frankly, it is indispensable. Although investing in your children is critically important, doing so while neglecting to spend time alone with your husband or wife can result in losing intimacy, connection, and trust. We have seen many tragic cases of husbands and wives who look up at one another as empty nesters and say, I don’t know this person anymore.
Four. Communication. Be a great listener. I read somewhere that women speak 10,000 words each day and men speak 2,000 words each day, or something like that. When I get home from work, I’ve used all 2,000 words. My wife has used only 3,000 words because she spends her day with our little boys, not adults. That means my wife has 7,000 unused words. I carefully listen to every one of them because she is my wife and I love her. Also, when I’m out of town, my life loves it when I call her just to let her know I’m doing fine and that I love her.
Five. Hugs, kisses and “I love you”. There’s nothing like a long hug followed by those special kisses your spouse can only give you. Don’t get complacent. Maintain your marriage with hugs, kisses and “I love you”. Physical contact is so important. At home, I sometimes realize that I’m sitting on the couch and my wife is sitting ten feet away on a chair. I immediately say, “Get over here!” so we are physically together as one. Ephesians 5:31.
What You Shouldn’t Do if You Want to Maintain Your Marriage
In addition to some things you should do, here are some things perhaps you shouldn’t do:
One. Don’t take off your wedding ring when you go out. For me, there’s nothing more creepy and disrespectful than a married guy who removes his wedding ring, especially when he’s out with guy friends. My own practice: never take the wedding ring off.
Two. Don’t criticize your spouse, either to him or her or in public with friends. We have written a blog specifically about avoiding criticism of your spouse. Read it HERE. In fact, brag on your wife and kids whenever you can to whoever will listen.
Three. Don’t argue needlessly just to win. Choose your battles carefully. We sometimes argue about the dumbest things and insist on winning the argument. Are there more English speakers or Spanish speakers in the world? Why would you go “all in” on this issue? Is it worth getting in an argument over this just to be right? No. Some issues are worth discussing, but don’t ever raise your voice over any issue. Stop the conversation well before that occurs.
Four. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are proactive in your relationship, breakdowns are far less likely and more manageable when they occur. Just like your car, don’t drive your marriage on bald tires.
Five. Apologize. Do it often. We are all flawed in some way. When you make a mistake, be quick to recognize it and make amends. If you believe your spouse has erred, forgive him or her promptly. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13.
One last piece of advice: Write on a small piece of paper “M.M.M.” and tape it to your computer monitor or in your car. This will remind you every day to “Maintain My Marriage.”
Read about how how to avoid laboring in vain in your marriage: HERE.
Read about cherishing your Children: HERE.