Want to keep love alive in your marriage over the long haul? Develop behaviors and habits that feed your love one day at a time.
Healthy marriage habits prevent feelings of loneliness and disconnection and help you grow a strong, resilient relationship that can survive the decades.
This could be a much longer list, but here are four habits to get you started.
Make dating a priority.
Work, children, and other responsibilities pull us all in different directions. But when you don’t prioritize time with your spouse in marriage, the relationship eventually suffers. Conversely, when you DO make time to be together, the relationship almost always benefits.
So what constitutes a date, exactly? Practically anything. But it should be something enjoyable that you both agree on. And most dates involve some measure of planning, even if it’s just, “Pick you up at seven.”
You can always google local events for some fun plan ahead ideas. But sometimes, the most fun dates are a bit more spontaneous.
If you are in the habit of weekly or bi-monthly date nights, but you always do the same things, consider branching out a bit. Because another way to keep love alive in your marriage is to try new things together.
Take care of yourself and each other.
Physical health is foundational to a general sense of well-being. And physical health impacts your marriage relationship in a number of ways.
When you are healthy, you feel better about yourself. Healthy people generally sleep better and have more energy. And good health can certainly enhance your sex life.
Husbands and wives can lovingly encourage each other to do things like eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. They can also remind each other to schedule that annual physical.
Of course, we all face health challenges from time to time. And when one spouse feels bad physically, the other is affected. So it’s important to give each other grace in the tough seasons. But it’s also fair to take responsibility for maintaining your health the best you can for your age and stage in life.
One way to do this is to find a type of exercise or sport you both enjoy. Then you can encourage each other in healthy habits while having fun together.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
What are you grateful for today? Psychologists and other health experts agree that people are healthier and happier when they spend time each day focusing on the positive and giving thanks. Some people keep a gratitude journal. But there are lots of ways to count your blessings.
Marriages thrive in an environment where affirmations are spoken and appreciation is expressed. So it makes sense that focusing on the positive things in life should include taking note of kind things spouse does or says, and expressing gratitude to them.
And that’s another way to keep love alive in your marriage.
Be quick to forgive.
Marriage involves two human beings, and both are prone to make mistakes. That’s part of the human condition. You will be disappointed by your spouse at times. And you will inevitably disappoint your spouse. So a readiness to forgive is important in marriage.
Note: There is a difference between saying the words and really forgiving.
Hint: If the offense comes up every time there is a disagreement, it’s unlikely real forgiveness has taken place.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Storing up hurt and bearing grudges eats away at love, killing it by degrees.
On the other hand, forgiveness frees both the offender and the offended. It relieves pain and makes room for joy in marriage. Genuine forgiveness nourishes trust. And trust is essential to keep love alive in marriage.