10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

The most important relationship we have on this earth is the one we have with our spouse. Marriage is not simply having a permanent roommate or being with a person of whom you have eternally romantic feelings and thoughts. Marriage is work. Marriage is like being in a business with a partner.

Only in this case, the business contract is a relationship. Relationships can be wonderful and fulfilling, but they can also be messy and confusing. In the midst of the messiness, it can be very beneficial for both parties to participate in marriage counseling. Counseling can aid in strengthening marriages by giving a voice to each spouse.

Counseling is highly valuable for struggling couples, and it can strengthen couples who haven’t fought through tough times. Marriage counseling can build into any couple that makes their marriage a priority. Counseling will work with you wherever you are, and the ultimate goal is to be stronger than you were when you started. Listed are some of the different things in which counseling will assist your relationship.

1. Learn who you are
In the midst of day to day life, it is easy to forget that you are a person with values and goals and dreams. What are your values? How do you respond when someone you love doesn’t value what you do? What are your dreams now? How have they changed?

2. Learn who you are married to
Over the course of a year or 20 years, everyone changes. Being the exact same person you were on your wedding day is impossible. There are times when you notice the change, but other change is so subtle it is completely unexpected. Change happens, and it’s time to start discovering each other today.

3. Learn how you communicate to your spouse
If you communicate with a nod without your spouse looking directly at you, that is not communication. If your spouse is asking for a yes or no, she is not going to stick around for a lengthy explanation, and thus, that is not communication. Knowing how you communicate and how your spouse responds will help your communication on a more intimate level.

4. Learn how your spouse communicates to you
Your spouse is trying to communicate with you. You may not hear it, but that does not mean that it’s not happening. Can you stop and listen? Can you look at him and decipher what is being said without words? Is she chattering nonstop at you because she’s worried about work? Is he rubbing his head because he’s exhausted? Does she need a hug? Does he need some time alone?

5. Learn what makes you feel loved
Maybe a hug or maybe 10 minutes of undivided attention. What does love look like to you? On exciting days, how do you want to celebrate with your spouse? On sad days, how do you want to grieve? What does it look like to be your friend?

6. Learn who makes your spouse feel loved
Take, for example, chores. They may not be first on your priority list. You may not usually notice, but your spouse may feel more love with a simple act of putting away the clean laundry than 100 kisses. Working at expressing love in a way that your spouse understands the message is another step to strengthening your marriage.

7. Learn your expectations
Expectations exist whether spoken or unspoken. They even exist knowingly or unknowingly. Such is life in a relationship. Expectations can be placed on ourselves or placed by our spouse. There are expectations that are communicated, but there are also expectations that are unspoken. Those are the expectations that need to be discovered by both husband and wife.

8. Learn to be friends
Start dating again. Find something that interests both of you and do it. Place it on your schedule once a week or month and plan for it together. Eagerly anticipate your scheduled activity. If the excitement level isn’t mutual, try being a good sport. Otherwise, put some energy into discovering exciting things together.

9. Learn to laugh together

Even if it begins as forced laughter, laugh. The more you try to laugh, the more you will start to truly laugh. The more you truly laugh, the more you will enjoy each other. Enjoying each other is a foundation for growing together as a couple.

10. Renew the original commitment to each other

This time renew it with who you are now and not who you were when you first met. Expect changes and get excited for the future.

Marriage counseling reinforces that marriage is about being a friend who is committed through thick and thin, good and bad. It’s about assisting each other to grow. With that perspective, you can have a strong marriage no matter what hardships you may face.

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