Marriage is God’s holy institution and a gift from God. Imagine if every husband and wife truly saw their spouses as precious gifts from God! As a wife, mother of three, middle school teacher, ministry leader, and seminary student, my time and energy are spread thin, so I have to be intentional about the effort that goes into maintaining a healthy marriage. God willing, in August, my husband and I will celebrate twenty-five years of marriage. All glory and praise to God! Here are a few tips that have helped us maintain a good marriage and friendship:
- Prioritize your relationship with your spouse. Never forget your spouse is second only to God in your priorities (Gen. 2:24). Set up a regular schedule to date weekly, monthly, or as often as you can. Being a mother, having a career, or leading a ministry can be very demanding, but remember you and your husband are one, and the health of your marriage affects all of your other roles. Be intentional about prioritizing your relationship, even (or especially) when that’s hard to do. Show appreciation for the little things and strive not to take each other for granted.
- Acknowledge your spouse (Eph. 5:33). Whenever you have decisions to make, don’t forget to consider your spouse. Ask about his feelings, discuss pros and cons together, find ways to honor and respect him and be willing to do things that interest each of you.
- Apply God’s principles to your marriage (Jas. 1:22). We must remember God made marriage, and His principles work. Here are a few habits to practice together: Pray daily, never go to bed angry, give your spouse affection, and incorporate God’s Word by living out the fruit of the Spirit (love, kindness, and so forth from Gal. 5:22-23). Forgive often! If possible, take your marriage to church every week. Worship together.
- Experience intimacy with God (Matt 6:33). Having individual time with God has helped me maintain a godly attitude toward my husband. Strive to find time for daily Bible study and prayer, and when possible, be a part of a women’s small group or mentoring relationship where you’re growing alongside other women.
- Experience intimacy with your spouse (1 Pet. 4:8). Regular intimacy—physical and emotional—helps to maintain a strong connection, improve the relationship, and build friendship. Good communication is important. Talk with each other and share things that are happening in your day-to-day.
- Be intune with your spouse and the things happening in your household (Prov. 27:23). Be an observer of your home. Pay attention to your spouse. Notice when something is bothering him or when he is not his normal self. Pray about it, talk about it graciously with him, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and counsel you.
Intentionally practicing good habits with each other every day leads to a healthy marriage. It is not a onetime thing. No marriage is perfect, and each requires work. Marriage maintenance must be ongoing and neverending. A marriage always takes work to keep it healthy, fresh, and alive. May the Lord bless your marriage!
Carolyn Tatem is a native of Washington, D. C. She has been a First Baptist Church of Glenarden member for twenty-nine years and has served as the Director of the Queen Esther Ministry, a discipleship program for women for sixteen years. Carolyn is married to William Tatem, Jr. and they will celebrate twenty-five years of marriage in August. Together they have three children. Carolyn is the author of five books, three of which focus on marriage and preparation for marriage. She is part of the Lifeway You Lead trainer team. In addition, Carolyn is a middle school teacher in Alexandria, Virginia, and a student at Denver Seminary.