Want a Better Marriage? Be a Better Spouse.

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Couple holding hands.How long were you married when you realized that your spouse didn’t seem quite as perfect as you once thought? Does he/she seem to push your buttons more often now than when you were dating?

Of course no one really expects their spouse to be perfect. We married them for better or worse — right?

Once the so-called honeymoon stage has passed, couples begin to settle into the routines of married life. It’s at this point that some may question what happened to that sweet girl I married, or where did that considerate guy that I married disappear to? The truth is; that guy/girl that you married is still right there. If the honeymoon has ended in your marriage and your bride/groom seems different, then maybe it’s time to stop evaluating how they have changed and instead take a look in the mirror.

Have you ever considered that your partner was sweet, cute, kind, and considerate because while you were dating, you actually brought those traits out in your partner? Perhaps you too were more pleasant, more fun, and more concerned with your appearance back then, so your partner responded in the same manner. Why should this change now that you’re married? Why does the honeymoon have to end? As the marriage matures, the relationship does change in some ways as both partners become more comfortable in their roles as husband/wife, but there is no reason why the marriage relationship can’t be just as wonderful as the dating relationship. Actually, I think God intends for our relationship in marriage to be even more wonderful than it ever was while dating.

If you don’t feel that your relationship is as great as you would like it to be, then here are a few suggestions that may help. However, this is not a list for “fixing” your spouse or tips on how to make your husband/wife a better mate. No, this list is all about “you”, because the first step to a better marriage relationship is to first be a better spouse.

  1. Pray for your marriage.
  2. Apologize for any part that you played in an argument. Be quick to admit when you have reacted in ways that are hurtful to your spouse and ask for forgiveness.
  3. Forgive your spouse if he/she hurts you. Forgive even if they do not offer an apology.
  4. Extend grace to your spouse when they fail in some way. Try to be understanding and learn to help compensate for one another’s weaknesses.
  5. Pray for your spouse.
  6. Work on your own weaknesses. Be aware of your own short-comings and areas in your own life that are not pleasing to your spouse or to God.
  7. Show Appreciation to your spouse for even the small things he/she does, such as taking out the trash. Express admiration for his/her good qualities.
  8. Listen to your spouse and give him/her an opportunity to explain his/her feelings and then “listen” don’t react. Try to see the situation from his/her perspective.
  9. Don’t try to control or manipulate your spouse’s behavior. You have to be responsible for your own behavior and that is more than enough to manage.
  10. Pray that God help you to be a better spouse.
  11. Take care of yourself so you can be at your best. If you were not a super-model when you married, then of course you aren’t expected to look like one after the marriage, but your spouse deserves your best. Take care of body and go the extra mile sometimes to impress your spouse.
  12. Be physically intimate with your spouse often. This includes sexual intimacy, snuggling, kissing, or just hand-holding. Don’t wait for your partner to make the move. Just get physical and let him/her know that you enjoy being close.
  13. Seek counsel for serious issues. There are times in marriage that even when you’ve done all you can do to be a good spouse, there are still problems. If your partner is abusive or is involved in a sexual sin, you should seek pastoral or professional counseling.
  14. Allow Christ to meet your needs. Don’t expect your spouse to be the source of all your happiness or to meet all your emotional needs. Only Christ can meet all our needs.
  15. Pray, Pray, Pray.

The most important thing in creating a happy marriage is to put Christ in the center. Allow your life to be a reflection of Christ to your spouse. Learn to love your spouse with the kind of love described in God’s Word.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)



About

Darlene is the wife of a pastor, she is the mother of three adult children and "Meme" to four grandchildren. She served along side her husband for eight years as a missionary in Central America. Darlene has a BS degree in Psychology/Sociology and an MA in Human Services from Liberty University. She enjoys writing on topics that relate to her field of study, such as relationships, personality traits, and issues like depression. Darlene is fascinated by psychology because she likes to know what makes people do the things they do. However, as a Christian writer, she views these topics from a spiritual and Biblical perspective. You can read more about Darlene on her blog, Notes from Meme.


'Want a Better Marriage? Be a Better Spouse.' have 34 comments

  1. February 28, 2013 @ 10:20 am Shawna

    Darlene,
    Thank you for this article.

    Reply

  2. February 28, 2013 @ 12:34 pm Rayni Peavy

    Great article, Darlene. Lots of wisdom there!

    Reply

  3. February 28, 2013 @ 12:49 pm Darlene Glasgow

    Thank you Shawna and Rayni. I’m still working on some of these areas myself.

    Reply

  4. February 28, 2013 @ 1:53 pm sherrie

    I think these steps are wonderful and they serve as an asset to any marriage.

    Reply

  5. February 28, 2013 @ 2:26 pm Ama Joshua

    Please ma you be my mentor?

    Reply

    • February 28, 2013 @ 3:51 pm Darlene Glasgow

      Don’t know that I qualify to be a mentor. I just try to share what I’ve learned through personal experience. Put Christ first in any relationship and follow Him only… He is the perfect mentor and example for all to follow.

      Reply

  6. February 28, 2013 @ 2:59 pm Angie

    I’m not married but great advice if I do get married again.

    Reply

  7. February 28, 2013 @ 3:10 pm agnes pingol

    Thank you for this great article….its been helpful

    Reply

  8. February 28, 2013 @ 7:56 pm Darlene Glasgow

    Thank You Angie and Agnes for the nice comments.

    Reply

  9. March 1, 2013 @ 9:50 am Sally

    Wish I would have happened upon your Want A Better Marriage? message years ago. After 30 years together, my marriage suffered a meltdown 4 months ago owing to us not complying with your 15 avenues of wisdom. If only I’d realized the importance of each and every one all along. However, we are on the road to recovery now and will use your words for future support. Thanks.

    Reply

    • March 5, 2013 @ 6:21 am Darlene Glasgow

      Sally, I am praying that God help you through the recovery. I believer that God does heal relationships if we commit them into His hands. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

  10. March 2, 2013 @ 12:13 am Marie

    My second husband of 7 years is not connected spiritually. He hasn’t done the personal growth or spiritual work on himself that I have done. He has told me he does not trust me regarding finances, etc., although I live in open integrity and honesty on all such matters. He does not like my cooking, or the way i make love, or the way i massage him or my connection with people wanting to serve and make the world a better place. He does not share my interest and connection to family and grandchildren. He belittles my wisdom and knowledge of people and my getting involved to help others. He doesn’t care about people and life purpose and self growth the way I do. I have tried everything to get him to raise his consciousness and make a shift into a more spiritual way of life, but to no avail. All we do is fight and remain separate whenever possible. I am ready to leave the marriage and have had two counselors say they do not see us ever being on the same page. When is it time to leave a marriage that cannot be fixed?

    Reply

  11. March 5, 2013 @ 6:24 am Darlene Glasgow

    Marie, I’m not a licensed counselor, so I can’t tell you when or if you should leave your marriage. Actually even if I were licensed, I don’t think I could tell you that. I can pray for you and your marriage. I know that God can heal and restore any relationship. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with these issues. It sounds as if you are doing the right thing… continue to seek counseling and I hope you also have a Pastor and/or Christian friends that you can confide in and pray with. May God lead and guide you and give you strength to do what you need to do. Don’t give up easily, commit everything to to the Lord, but make sure you take care of yourself. My prayers are with you.

    Reply

  12. March 7, 2013 @ 12:15 am Tshwaana

    I am five years in marriage.There is no joy at home.My wife is always over me.She will always tell me that because she is not she seems to beg and pray me to provide what ever she desire.I married her cos I love her and I will provide what ever I can afford.I am always accused om extra marital affairs.I work 4 days and when I am off I am always home.We once went through rough patch and I thought all is done with and buried.When I start to be happy she makes my heart to be sad whereby at times I regret of getting into marriage.We have three lovely daughters and I always think about them.When I see them playing happily I ask myself that why is their mother not reacting like them and see the world through the eyes of the child.Normally wen things get nasty I keep quite because I hate argument as I am short tempered.

    Reply

    • March 8, 2013 @ 10:08 am Darlene Glasgow

      I’m so sorry to hear to hear that there is no joy in your marriage. It is sad that there are so many marriages much like yours and honestly, I’ve been in your situation as well in a previous marriage. Divorce, of course is not the answer. I am praying for your marriage.

      Reply

  13. March 10, 2013 @ 2:38 pm james

    Darlene, I read this article because I got here from the love languages website. I was at the love languages website because I am seeking greater understanding of the love languages. Recently my girlfriend said”maybe my love language [to receive] is not acts of service.”. We are in a rough patch. So rough, that she does not say I love you when I say it any more if I am just being realistic about the relationship. We are 7 weeks pregnant. Yes, that is the kicker. We have been together for almost 3 months. We absolutely make God the center, but we slipped in the midst of trying to stay abstinent. She is 27, I am 30, and I have never been so madly in love with a woman as I have with her. I am hurt and saddened by her with withdrawal and anger towards me recently but I am trying to love her unconditionally. She has a 5yo daughter and she was just getting to a point in life where she was going to be able to go on missions trips and I am catching all the blame for our actions. I know that we are both to blame but I feel like I am the only one being punished. I don’t want to play the blame game, and I don’t want to remind her of her actions during that night. I am praying as well as many of our closest friends. My ideal situation of course would be to have the love return. I do all the same things that I did in the beginning, and all of those things “smother” her now. Any advice? I am trying to give her as much space as possible right now. She is used to being independent and during her last pregnancy, she received zero support. Since this is the case, she is feeling smothered by me since I am doing everything to be there for her because I want to be the best bf\husband to her possible. It is safe to say that she is used to doing this on her own. Anytime I try to love her with these acts of service, she rejects it as “too much”. How do I tell her in a loving way that support is good, and normal and should be expected and accepted during this time?

    Reply

    • March 12, 2013 @ 5:58 am Darlene Glasgow

      James, thank you for reading my article. I am not a licensed counselor, so I must be careful about giving advice. It’s great that you have taken the time to learn your girlfriend’s love language. Acts of service may be her language, but I would think that everyone receives messages of love in different ways and at different levels. Perhaps, you may need to pull back and allow her some room, so she will not feel smothered. It sounds as if she values her ability to be independent. She may need to know that you can also value this quality in her. James, I would recommend that you seek out a Christian counselor or your pastor and share this with him/her. I pray that you do not give up, but continue to support your girlfriend and seek direction and strength from God. I will be praying for your relationship and your new family.

      Reply

  14. March 13, 2013 @ 6:42 pm Edwin Ancarana

    Darlene, how can a couple that are of a different faith, or no faith, apply your advice effectively? Can the Christ-centered activities (for example, prayer) be effectively replaced with other spiritual-centered, or secular-centered, activities? Thank you for your response. Regards, Edwin

    Reply

    • March 16, 2013 @ 7:38 pm Darlene Glasgow

      Edwin, as a Christian… I do not feel that there is any “replacement” for Christ within a marriage.

      Reply

  15. March 25, 2013 @ 1:56 pm Jared

    Darlene, thank you for your efforts in learning and sharing all that you have.

    I am separated from my gf of almost two years. We have been apart almost two weeks. I believe I may have anxious attachment issues and I think she may be avoidant/dismissive. This has been a problem for me before w my ex wife. Almost the same situation.

    I have struggled with god most of my life. Many times sincerely seeking god and wanting to feel loved, but I have been able to. I do not believe I am saved and am very doubting and confused about religion and spirituality.

    I have had a hard time dealing with this situation and have harrassed her with my anxious neediness til she has kicked me out and says they’re is very little hope for us. My heart is to not give up on her bc I feel she needs my patience, understanding and LOVE. I keep telling myself this is all gods way of perfecting me and using me to help her, her kids and others in the world.

    I’m very anxious and preoccupied about all this and don’t want to push her away. I was at her house today cleaning a mess I had left in the yard and am scheduled to go back tomorrow to make a repair to the house. She was a little more open with me today than she had been for several days probably due to me not pressuring her as much as i have been, even though she is unable to communicate her feelings to me very well and I feel some genuine progress was made towards resolution.

    Please pray for our family.
    Thx
    Jared

    Reply

  16. March 27, 2013 @ 8:48 am Darlene Glasgow

    Jared: I will be in prayer for you and your relationship with your girlfriend. It sounds as if you have a good understanding of self and the areas of your personality that you need to work on. Most of all, I am praying that you accept Christ as your personal Saviour and allow Him to be Lord of your life and your relationships.

    Reply

  17. March 27, 2013 @ 3:30 pm Jared

    I accepted Jesus last night! Or maybe I realized that I already had many years ago. Regardless, pray for my strength as I walk with Christ. Sadly Rachel has moved on and started dating. I went to her house today and she had a man there. Didn’t work out how I hoped but I finally have peace in abundance. I will not shut her out of my heart but I realize we can’t be together unmarried. Maybe in the future we could date and I can share the gospel w her. Praise god! Thank you for your prayers.

    Reply

    • March 28, 2013 @ 12:53 pm Darlene Glasgow

      Praise the Lord!! Thank you Jared for sharing this news and I will continue to pray for you and for Rachael.

      Reply

  18. March 28, 2013 @ 2:04 pm Jared

    Thanks Darlene. God hasn’t put her out of my mind yet. I’ll continue praying about it as well. This situation needs a lot of prayer.

    Jared

    Reply

  19. April 1, 2013 @ 2:47 am Mel

    What do you do when you have done all you can do….YOU JUST PRAY! THANKS

    Reply

  20. April 6, 2013 @ 3:14 pm Hedy

    Thank you, Darlene and I thank God for the guidance to go to Dr. Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” website. I have been distraught over my husband’s temper and how quickly it flares no matter what I say or do (obviously, this is an ongoing issue or I would not be so distraught). I was looking for some guidance in how to go on in this relationship, really how to heal and how to make our marriage emotionally more balanced and healthy (our pattern is: he yells, threatens, etc… and I totally shut down).

    I so appreciate this sage advise in your article and will print and re-read several times a day. I already feel more hopeful that with God’s guidance, love and placing people in our lives that have messages that can guide us more closely to God’s desires for us. May God bless and keep you and yours.

    Reply

  21. April 6, 2013 @ 3:35 pm Kevin Yao

    Hi! Darlene. please tell me what to do. my wife said she do not have feeling with me about one year ago. i try to do the best. i do very thing at home. I leave with my mon and dad. Now she do not like any of my family, she does not want me to have sex with her. so we do not have sex around two years. she was angy all of my family. I can not let my mon and dad out of the house because they are seventy years old. Everyday, she see me that she just complain and complain. I am so stress for that. please help me pray and tell me what i need tto do. i love her very much and i do not want to end of my marrige. Thank you so much

    Reply

  22. April 8, 2013 @ 2:44 pm Darlene Glasgow

    Hello Kevin: I am not a licensed counselor, so I can’t tell you what you should do. It sounds as if you and your wife may need to try to speak with a marriage counselor or perhaps your pastor or priest. I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this in your marriage. I will of course pray for your family.

    Reply

  23. April 17, 2013 @ 10:32 pm schela

    I learned alot from all the steps, and I know I will be able to use them with my future husband. Thank you!

    Reply

  24. June 23, 2013 @ 10:16 pm Jeff

    The most common source of problems in relationships is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after the attraction fades, and wondering where the love went.

    It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that fades over time, while love is a promise that has nothing to do with attraction. Love is a promise to do 4 things. For the man:

    1. To accept everything that he knows and does not know about her now.
    2. To accept her regardless of what happens in the unknown future as they both age – for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health for as long as they shall live. Even if she is later disfigured by an accident or crippled by illness, he promises now to accept her.
    3. To forgive her later. Since neither of them is perfect, they depend on each others’ forgiveness.
    4. To encourage her to improve. This 4th one gives purpose to their relationship – otherwise it will get boring.

    If they are both ready to make and keep these promises to each-other, then they are ready to love. When they keep them, they demonstrate their love for each-other. After they formally make their promises at their wedding, they complete or consummate their promises with sexual intercourse. Every time that they subsequently have sexual intercourse, they reinforce their promises – it is truly a wonderful and mutually satisfying experience.

    The problem is that if they have sexual intercourse before making their promises, then he shows her that he is capable of justifying forsaking her for a younger and shapelier rival when she get older. If he is able to restrain himself when his attraction for her is at its highest, then he shows her that he is capable of resisting the rival that will inevitably come.

    Source: Attraction is a feeling. Love is a Promise. by Grenville Phillips, president of Walbrent College. (Loveisapromise.wordpress.com)

    Reply

  25. August 5, 2013 @ 3:48 pm Fola

    Thanks so much Darlene.This one is fresh from above.

    Reply

  26. February 24, 2014 @ 6:54 pm Graham

    Thanx and more thanks , I’ve been married for 13 years .
    Currently we sitting with misunderstandings and an ending
    arguements within our marriage . Yes we have been messing
    with the steps mentioned above but we need help .

    Reply


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