Recently I shared Keys to a Good Marriage, Part 1. My wife Tammy and I have been married for forty-two years now. We weren’t blessed with children, but we’ve been blessed with a great marriage. Here are 5 more keys to a great marriage:
- Have a regular “Date Night”. It is important, whether you have children or not, to have a weekly “Date Night”. For us, during most of our marriage our “Date Night” was on Friday night, and included a movie and dinner. We always found this to be a good way to transition from a busy work week into the weekend. A “Date Night” should be scheduled on your calendar. Otherwise, it’s too easy to forget about it.
- Look for ways to sacrificially love your spouse. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, like the saying goes “it’s the thought that counts”. A few suggestions would be: warm their towel in the dryer and then hand it to them when they get out of the shower; fill up their car with gas; fix dinner, or take them out for dinner as a surprise; fold the clothes in the dryer; rub their neck and shoulders. And don’t forget to thank them for the chores they do around the house. You get the idea. This will let your spouse know that you were thinking of them.
- Talk to your spouse before making any commitments or decisions. Communication is huge in every walk of life, and it is especially so in marriage. We have made it a practice not to commit to anything (even something as simple as a dinner invitation) before talking to the other. Not all couples do this, and we have seen the consequences. This practice has worked well for us through the years, and helped us avoid a lot of disagreements.
- Be willing to compromise. This takes humility and being willing to put the desires of your spouse above your own. One way this played out practically for us, and probably just about every other couple, is where to spend the holidays. For example, if you can’t be at both of your families for Christmas each year, a good compromise would be to rotate where you spend the holidays from year to year. Of lesser importance is the movies and television programs you watch. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to Tammy if we watched St. Louis Cardinal baseball every night and she didn’t get to see programs that she enjoyed. There should be good communication and compromise.
- Remember: We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We are going to mess up and let our spouses down. When we do so, we need to sincerely apologize and ask for forgiveness. When we give forgiveness, we should not bring up the reason for the forgiveness in the heat of an argument. Christians of all people have been forgiven much, so we should also forgive our spouses when they sin against us.
There are many keys to a great marriage. I’ve now shared 10 of them. What others would you add to this list?