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Envision a Happy Marriage
by Kim Bond
5/06/2015 / Marriage
If you are married, then you know how challenging married life can be. Sometimes it seems like you and your spouse do not share common interests and that you fight all of the time. You may have begun to feel unhappy or dissatisfied with your intimate encounters. You may even be considering divorce. No matter how long you have been married or how happy or unhappy you and your spouse are, you must continue investing in your marriage. This article includes practical advice for enhancing the marital relationship, eighteen tips for improved intimacy, and a short recommended prayer for you to claim God's favor on your marriage.
The first step to a happy marriage is to envision it. Proverbs 29:18 states, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..." Picture you and your spouse as an old couple doing a specific loving act for one another. Share this vision with your spouse. Make up your mind to let go of the past. Stop replaying old memories and focus on the future. Now that you have envisioned the future of your happy marriage, it's time to address some of those issues that are deteriorating your relationship.
If you or your spouse complains that you have nothing in common, take these steps to overcome this problem. Start taking an interest in the things your spouse does even if you don't have a natural interest in those things. Go with him to a baseball game. Sit down on the couch and watch the show she normally watches alone. You probably made lots of compromises when you were dating, and now you are no longer in the habit of compromising desires for the sake of being together. Purposefully start compromising for the sake of love and for the sake of your marriage.
If you and your spouse always fight, then change your focus. When the opportunity to fight arises, focus on the tiny detail you do agree on. Admit you don't agree but you want them to have their way because you love them. You are establishing a new normal that sets an example of love that will be returned to you in time. Don't be a doormatbut be ready yield sometimes. You probably use this technique to avoid confrontations with your boss or coworkers, but your familiarity with your spouse prevents you from utilizing this skill at home.
Some spouses make this common complaint: I'm just not happy anymore. If you are working and praying for a happy marriage, stop looking to your spouse as a source of joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and should not find its source in your spouse. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." We read how Paul was beaten and jailed in Acts 16. In jail, he sang praises to God! How is that possible? Paul's joy was not dependent on his circumstance but found in his relationship with Christ.
I hope that you will pursue the joy that comes from Christ by remaining in the true vine. Additionally, I hope that confidence and trust in Christ awakens an interest in new experiences that will contribute to your quality of life. Take up a new hobby, pursue your passion, play on a sports league, and work toward your dream with small goals. Be sure to invite your spouse to be a part of your experiences as your life transforms into a healthy expression of the joy that can be found in Christ.
Intimacy is another common complaint. Nothing is happening in the bedroom or you are stuck in a rut or your chemistry just dissolved. There is hope! Read the following eighteen ways to increase intimacy between you and your spouse:
1) New self-control If you are currently viewing pornography, you are KILLING your sex life. You'll be amazed how intimacy improves when you STOP viewing pornography.
2) New faithfulness Cut strong ties between people of the opposite sex that you are attracted to. You can improve your intimacy with your spouse by removing emotional attachments to others.
3) New thoughts Concentrate on something new when you are alone with your spouse. Focus on your love for your spouse, envision blooming flowers, live in the moment.
4) New initiation The minutes that lead up to intimacy are important. Change your approach.
5) New ways to energize Intimacy requires energy. Rest up and help your spouse with tasks so he or she feels energetic also.
6) New compliments Instill confidence in your spouse and he/she will feel like a tiger instead of a mouse.
7) New perfume or aftershave Scent affects mood. Set the mood for intimacy.
8) New clothes - Attract your spouse by wearing attractive clothes instead of wearing what is comfortable.
9) New underclothes Replace things with holes. Buy underclothes that are pleasing to the eye.
10) New sheets Get some soft sheets that announce your intentions to be intimate.
11) New bed Mentally break your rut by replacing the old squeaky bed.
12) New place - Rent a hotel room for a getaway vacation in your own town.
13) New hairdo or hair color Make yourself feel new with a change.
14) New makeup or facial hair - Try different things to see what you and your spouse agree enhances your features.
15) New exercise routine Exercise contributes to a happy mood, builds confidence, and increases stamina. Consider taking a multivitamin.
16) New music Set the mood for love with romantic music.
17) New candles Make your spouse feel special by going the extra mile.
18) New date Date your spouse with creativity.
You will be shocked at how effective these methods are at revving up your intimacy! A little effort makes a big impact when you pray for a strong relationship with your spouse and embrace love and faithfulness.
Perhaps your marriage has deteriorated to the point in which you are considering divorce. Before you give it further consideration, consider God's will for your marriage. According to Malachi 2:16, God hates divorce. However, He does allow it in certain circumstances. Theologians debate them, but the discussion surrounds: unfaithfulness, abandonment, and abuse. If your spouse is not guilty of any of the above things, pursue reconciliation instead of divorce.
If you want to follow God's desire for your marriage, stop using the word "divorce" in your conversations and in your mind. Start praying for a change in heart. God understands your hurt. Open your mind and heart to the possibility that God can transform your marriage into the loving relationship you always dreamed of having for "with God all things are possible" (see Matthew 19:26).
The decision to reconcile a marriage should not be a decision to remain stagnant in an unhappy relationship. Take a moment to visualize the marriage you want to have with your spouse. (Yes, right now. Go on. Close your eyes.) Now, what specifically was going on in your daydream that is not going on in real life? Whatever it is, it constitutes a discussion with your spouse. Make it clear that you are willing to change for the goal of a more loving relationship and announce your hopes that they will be up for the challenge as well.
Your marriage can become a dream come true with your own spouse if you communicate your needs and keep praying. Don't give up on love! Be patient and hold your marriage in honor for God says in His Word that "Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4). Think back to when you first met your spouse. Were you giddy with love? Think how your spouse has changed you for the better.
I have presented many small practical ways to improve your relationship with your spouse. I implore you to try them no matter how complicated your marriage is. It is God who heals your marriage through your small efforts just like God healed Naaman through his simple efforts in 2 Kings.
Naaman wanted to be cured of his leprosy. Elisha advised him to wash seven times in the Jordan. Naaman dismissed the idea because of its simplicity, but his servants convinced him to try it anyway. After following Elisha's advice, his leprosy was healed. The Jordan didn't heal Naaman; God healed Naaman through his simple efforts. (See 2 Kings 5: 1-14.)
Remember that a successful marriage is an imperfect marriage with lots of room for God to fill the crevices of our hearts. It is one in which two people are free to give and accept love from one another even in their brokenness.
Prayer: Dear Lord, You promise that "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD." in Proverbs 18:22. I pray You would open our eyes to the favor You have shown us and help us to behold the good thing we have found in our present marriages. Thank You that this promise and all Your promises are good and true for all time. In Christ's Name, Amen.
Copyright 2015 Kim Bond (This article may be reprinted as long as it includes the following bio. Email questions to [email protected])
Kim Bond writes and edits literature for Draw Near Christian ministry. Visit her website to read more free literature at www.drawneartochrist.com
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