James and I have been married for almost 2 years now and we love one another more than on our wedding day! But it didn’t just happen by accident. There are things we do on a daily or weekly basis that help us grow more and more in love with one another. Here are 7 habits that we have cultivated in our marriage:
1. Thank God and pray for your spouse every day
Every day when I have my quiet time one of the first things I do is thank God for James, often listing why I love him so much. And along with my other prayers, I will also pray for his health, for his work, our marriage, etc.
I feel like not only can God bless our marriage because of our prayers, but the practice is also cultivating a more thankful heart within me.
2. Express your appreciation to your spouse often
Okay, this one is probably my favorite! James leaves for work before 7 in the morning and around 7:30am he sends me a text message. I often find myself checking my phone at 7:30 in the morning and just waiting for a text from him.
In the text he usually writes how much he appreciates the things I do for him and around the house and that he loves me and is praying for me. I will then usually reply with a message telling him how much I appreciate him waking up for work this early (5:30 am!) and working so hard to provide for his two kittens, his wifey and our cat.
In theory, my doing things around the house, in addition to my studies, and his working outside of home is kind of our responsibilities. Things we are supposed to do anyway. But it really feels nice to be appreciated even for the things we are supposed to do! It actually inspires me to become a better homemaker when I feel appreciated, and it inspires James to work outside of home harder when he feels appreciated.
3. Have a daily connection time with your spouse
It is really important to have a time of the day when you just look each other in the eyes and sit right next to each other, maybe even hold hands. Where you get to share about your day and how you are feeling and be really heard and understood. This also means that you both have to really be listening to what the other is saying and show genuine interest in what they are going through.
4. Keep dating and pursuing one another
This one is so important! When I pack James’ lunch every morning he leaves for work, I will sometimes sneak a little handwritten note where I say that I love him or appreciate him. And James will sometimes get me flowers when I don’t expect. Just the other day he got my favorite coconut ice cream at the store that totally made my day!
We also like going out on dates or having date nights at home. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Even just dressing up for each other, sharing a meal at home with some candles, and just talking already can benefit your marriage.
A little less than a year ago we also started having a weekly Bible study together. Just James and me. Getting in the Word once a week and praying together really helps us to not only stay connected to God, but to one another as well.
5. Communicate about everything
This one is really big! In our dating and engagement we had to be long-distance, so we communicated a lot. And we carried that into our marriage. We will share what’s on our mind and we will also point out if there is an issue that we feel needs to be addressed.
When we just got married, it was really important to me that the bed got done immediately after we got up. So I communicated that to James for the times he was the last one to get out of bed, and that totally saved us a lot of stress down the road.
Having communicated about those little things in our first year of marriage means that in our second year there isn’t that much that needs to be addressed anymore (at least around the house). We’ve already learned how the other operates, so as long as we both live in the consideration of the other, we can avoid conflict in a lot of cases.
6. Resolve conflict as soon as possible
We do disagree from time to time and have a different outlook on things. But I am kind of noticing that the things we disagreed upon even a year ago, we now agree upon! I think we are just becoming more like the other, not only in having similar tastes for movies or foods but also political and economic systems. Since both James and I studied economics in college, the topic actually comes up quite a bit in our home!
But if any conflict arises or feelings get hurt, we usually try to resolve them pretty fast. We apologize and talk things through that need to be talked through. And then we will hug and that will totally make us both feel better again.
7. Keep the big picture of your marriage in mind
For non-believers marriage is just a commitment. But as Christians we take the meaning of marriage to a whole new level. It’s not just a commitment. It’s a covenant. It’s the promises you have given to one another before God.
The wife represents the Church in marriage, and the husband represents Jesus. It’s a beautiful picture of the gospel if it is lived out in a godly manner. Your marriage is not just a commitment; it’s the gospel you get to tell with your lives to your friends, family, and even future generations! And God wants to write a beautiful story with your marriage.