Today you celebrate a very special memory - the day you tied the knot with the love of your life. This may be your 1st anniversary or your 25th anniversary, but regardless of length of time, the strength of your marriage is greatly dependent on how much effort you put into making it work. Here are five tips that could help enrich your marriage.

Stay Connected

Falling in love is easy. It is learning to love, no matter what, that takes work. Lasting romance in marriage is more about caring and communication than it is about feelings. It is about doing whatever it takes to stay connected. Whenever possible, take fifteen or twenty minutes before going to bed at night to just be together as a couple. Spend time enjoying each other’s company, with no distractions, but don’t use the time to discuss family concerns! If you don’t feel like talking, just cuddle together on the sofa. Let it just be a time of enjoying each other’s company.

“Lasting romance in marriage is more about caring and communication than it is about feelings…”

Give Thanks

The secret to keeping two lives beautifully blended doesn't rest on our ability to merge personal items or personalities. Rather, it comes from a heart of thankfulness - even for our differences. Remember that every day you spend with your spouse is an opportunity to be thankful and to recognize the ways he or she blesses you. Be specific in naming the ways, and verbalize them. Tell your husband you admire him for his level-headedness and strength. Tell your wife you appreciate her for showering the children with love. The more specifics you recognize, the more you would be able to be truly grateful for the gift of your spouse.

Take Stock

Couples need regular times to sit down and clear the air. It is a good time to talk about the decisions you need to make, as well as the ones you've already made. Ask your spouse if anything is weighing on their heart. Maybe they're worried about the kids or a project at work. This is also a good time to compare calendars and do some advanced planning for the future, like scheduling date nights and family holidays. Take time to talk about where you want to be as a couple ten or twenty years down the road. Think about what kind of relationship you want to have as a couple, and then create a plan to make it happen.

Look Back

However, despite mentioning the importance of taking stock, couples sometimes tend to spend too much time worrying about the future and not enough time looking back on special memories. In actual fact, reflecting on how far you have come as a couple can help to strengthen the future of your marriage. You can find regular times to sit down together and recall the great things that have happened in your courtship and marriage. On this special occasion, you can recall all the wonderful dates you had as a couple by digging out your wedding video and talking about that momentous day. Also, reflecting on the difficulties and challenges you have faced, though painful, can help you realize how you have grown stronger individually and as a couple.

“Reflecting on how far you have come as a couple can help to strengthen the future of your marriage.”

Express Affection

Physical intimacy can work wonders for keeping the spark alive, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to the bedroom. Hugs, hand-holding, kisses or a hand on the shoulder as you say, "Thank you for dinner" or "I appreciate you" can go a long way in nurturing intimacy. It can also be a surprise kiss on your spouse’s cheek, or a long, warm hug. Also, the next time you're in the car or watching a movie together, reach for your spouse's hand. It's a strong nonverbal way to say, "I love you."

A wedding vow is a promise to commit, no matter what. May this day be one of joyous celebration, and a reminder of this precious promise you made to each other for a lifetime.

© 2015 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.

 

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