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.
- Pray for your marriage.
- 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.
- Forgive your spouse if he/she hurts you. Forgive even if they do not offer an apology.
- 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.
- Pray for your spouse.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pray that God help you to be a better spouse.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)