Healthy marriages are incredibly important. The ripple effects of unhealthy relationships are broad and deep, adversely impacting husbands and wives, children, extended family, friends, and society as a whole. Fortunately, there are several actions we can take to repair, strengthen, and grow our marriages. My challenge to you is to discuss and incorporate at least these practices into your marriage.
Invest in your marriage. Although financial issues, adultery, and “drifting apart” are often cited as leading causes of divorce, they are commonly linked to a deeper problem: Not intentionally investing in our marriages. We care much more about the areas in our lives in which we invest. When we continually invest in our marriage, our feelings about our spouse and our relationships dramatically improve. See this article: Familyshare.com/marriage/the-number-one-cause-of-divorce.
One way to invest is to read marriage books together. This can be a great way to not only learn the tools to have a better marriage, but the process itself will be bonding. Many people have found the book (and movie) Fireproof to be excellent. A full list of books can be found at AnEternalImpact.com/marriage-resources.
Marriage conferences are another great way to invest in and strengthen our marriages. Family Life sponsors several Weekend to Remember conferences across the country. And they do a week-long Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise over Valentine’s Day every year (it is AWESOME and fills up VERY fast). We also attend Northern Pines Family Camp every year, which is a great relationship building experience as well.
Seek God together. Want to reduce your risk of divorce to less than 1%? Pray together daily (and not just before meals). Sharing your heart, your desires, and your souls before God and your spouse can cement your relationship like nothing else. A study from the Journal of Marriage and Family found that only 1 of 1156 couples that prayed together daily experienced divorce. Another study showed a high level of marital satisfaction if couples attended church and church activities together, but this went even higher when couples read the Bible together and prayed together at home (Drstoop.com/the-couple-that-prays-together). Even though it may feel weird at first, seeking God together in these ways can bullet-proof your marriage. After 21 years of marriage, Michelle and I recently began praying together before bed every night, and it has been great! We were spurred on by the Family Life Oneness Prayer Challenge (Familylife.com/onenessprayerchallenge). I’m not exactly sure why it took so long to incorporate into our routine, but I’m so glad we are doing it! Not sure where to start? Here are 10 Things to Pray About With Your Spouse.