We’ve all watched the downward spiral of a relationship, whether it was a friend’s, a family member’s or our own.
There are probably several factors involved when a relationship starts to go sour. But sometimes the path toward the end begins when we choose to look at the negative things. This step affects our mindset, and we then start to make excuses for our actions when the bad outweighs the good. Soon, we cut off effective communication.
This path is detrimental to any relationship, but when it happens in a marriage, it can lead to divorce becoming a viable option. With a divorce rate around 50 percent, we need to have a renewed focus on our marriages.
Marriage is beautiful when things are going well. Each person can bring something to the relationship, and it is rewarding and fun at the same time. But if your marriage is not where it should be, it is draining and frustrating.
Marriage is the most important relationship you can have with another person, and it is so worth the effort. Here are three actions to take to keep your marriage headed in the right direction:
The no. 1 thing missing from a lot of relationships is communication. Trust is the basis for this. When trust is built in a relationship, then and only then are we able to communicate freely.
I can remember a time when my wife, Jasmine, and I weren’t communicating well at all. I would wake up, get ready for work, spend all day at work, come home and eat dinner, say a few words and do it all over again. Without making time for each other and communicating, bitterness was slowly growing inside each of us. It felt like we hit a dead end, and in the midst of it all, we forgot to have fun!
Maybe this sounds familiar. If it does, let me be the first to motivate you to head in the opposite direction. Ruts like this usually happen when you slowly stop communicating, and you end up coming out on the other side of the rut wishing that you would never have dwelt there at all.
For Jasmine and I, communication is the only thing that brought about change in our lives. When I held everything in and let it eat away at me, my wife couldn’t be held accountable for it. That wasn’t fair. And then after doing that enough, my reaction was to “fly off the handle.” It wasn’t until we effectively communicated that anything was fixed.
Tip #1: Begin communicating with your spouse today and see how that one step can change things for the better.
2. Prioritize your spouse
Your spouse is the most important earthly relationship you will have, and they need to know that from your actions. Showing your spouse they are the most important person in your life changes things in a positive way. Putting your spouse first also shows your children what having the right priorities and order is all about.
In the day-to-day family life, your daily tasks can easily become the most important things happening, If this is done repeatedly, relationships fall to the wayside without you ever taking notice. For this not to happen, you have to become intentional with planning out your time, scheduling your day to be the most productive for you and setting aside time to spend with your spouse.
Along with making time for your spouse, you can show them you care by bragging on them. It can be easy to nag, nitpick or complain about the things you don’t like about your spouse, but this isn’t helpful in any relationship. Begin speaking positive things about your spouse more often. You can do this in front of others or when you are alone. It not only lifts their spirits, but also ensures that you see their great qualities more often. Build this habit of regularly encouraging each other into your lives.
It is time for all of us who want to make a bigger impact to become more disciplined with the most important asset that we own: our time, and spend more of it investing in our marriage.
Tip #2: Make your spouse a top priority and everything else will fall into place.
3. Find unity
Getting your spouse on your side with your career and your dreams is necessary to make sure you are running alongside each other and not in opposite directions. As you may have already found, achieving your dreams is much more difficult without the support of your spouse.
Do all that you can to be in unity with each other. This ties into the first two points. Communicate with your spouse, and guard your priorities and your time to make sure you are working together and not against each other.
Because men and women are wired so differently, we have to work to find out what makes the other person in the relationship “tick.” We should be more concerned about the other person than about ourselves. When a relationship becomes about the other person, then and only then does a relationship grow. Be more disciplined to create habits in your life that show your spouse you care.
Tip #3: Take time to make sure there is unity in your marriage
There will be times when you feel stuck in a rut in your marriage. It will be hard. It will take work. So whether you are new to married life, have been in it a while or plan on getting married someday, remember that marriage can be difficult, but it is the best thing that will ever happen to you. Marriage can draw both you and your spouse closer to each other and to God and draw out the best in each of you.
Adam Smith resides in the Boulder, Colorado area with his wife and daughter. He is the author of the ebook, Discipline: The Art of Achieving Greatness and also an editor/blogger at asmithblog.com. Topics there include leadership, relationships, time management, communication, focus through discipline in your life and how you can more effectively share your story and valuable information to your readers through social media. You can read more about Adam here.