3 Ways To Improve Your Marriage in 2012

By: Amanda Mattingly 0 Comments   1/9/2012

A wedding band is only a mere physical symbol of the covenant made before God. A marriage, however, is a lifetime commitment to grow with your spouse both emotionally and spiritually.

Numerous situations are prompted throughout a lifetime of marriage including circumstances involving jobs, finances, home decisions and children, just to name a few. In the business of work and family, it is easy for some of the most important aspects of life to be pushed to the back burner. One of those things is marriage.

It is ironic, though, since marriage is something that was given as a gift from God and should be considered a top priority after our personal relationships with God. Even though I have only been married for less than one year, I can already see how important it is to make sure the business of life does not interfere with the closeness of marriage.

While my husband and I were participating in our premarital marriage sessions before our wedding, there were three concepts that our pastor taught us were the most important to remember to keep our marriage strong and healthy.

First, our pastor told us to always make sure that we are building up and encouraging each other spiritually. As our relationship with God should always be the first priority in our lives, God should also be first in a marriage.

My husband and I enjoy finding a small group at our church that we can participate in together that both challenges us individually and together. It is a special time to dig through the Bible together and talk through what we are learning. Another part of this concept of building each other spiritually is to support each other whenever the other spouse finds a conference or small group they feel led to participate in, the other spouse should encourage them in that decision.

This next aspect may seem extremely simple and easy, but it is still so important.

The second thing our pastor told us to continuously remember to do in our marriage is to always date. We were told that no matter what is going on at work or in our families that each month we should go on at least one date.

By going on a simple date, there is an opportunity for both spouses to have a time to spend intimate time together to talk, continue to learn about each other, laugh and make special memories. Dating does not always have to be something expensive. Even just a simple date can be the most special time between spouses. Ultimately it is a time to spend together, with no distraction, to enjoy each other.

Lastly, we were encouraged to commit to attending at least one marriage conference each year. By attending marriage conferences, spouses have the opportunity to learn more about various aspects of marriage as well as have the chance to talk about things that are involved in marriage that do not regularly arise to talk about. Sometimes, it is easy to not talk through different parts of marriage simply because the opportunity never arises. However, by attending these conferences, there is a spiritual atmosphere to discuss all aspects of a marriage, continue to grow spiritually and grow together.

For example, there is an Art of Marriage Conference that is being held throughout the country that involves a six part video, time of laughter, and community to continue growing in your marriage.

Another way to learn more about marriage is by reading books on marriage together. By doing this, there is an opportunity to talk through various concepts and learn more about each other that will in turn strengthen your marriage. Some great books on marriage include: “Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, “The Marriage Builder” by Larry Crabb and “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard F. Jr. Harley.

Even just these simple practices can help improve and grow a marriage. Ultimately, a marriage is meant to be based upon a biblical foundation and rooted in a personal relationship with God by each spouse. This is what forms a strong marriage; however, these other practical steps can still aid in growing together and learning more to build a strong marriage that will last a lifetime.


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Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

I would recommend this book to any couple, regardless of how their current relationship is. It can only get better with the tips and reminders of how to communicate and appreciate our partners. We are always told to tell our partners that we love them, but this book actually explains HOW to do that. The understanding of how God commanded men and women to relate to each other is crucial to a peaceful, successful, happy and satisfying marriage. God's command to men to love their wives and to women to respect their husbands is so simple yet so profound. This book will change your marriage.

What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible

John Piper delivers a carefully studied Biblical portrait of what it means to be a man or a woman. The principles are a solid framework that trumps cultures and time because it is based on our original design. The chapters dealing with "The Meaning of Masculinity" and "The Meaning of Femininity" are worth reading because they explain the boundaries of these ideas. Piper shows that men and women were designed for different roles and responsibilities that complement each other – so that when taken together in marriage – they become one complete package. It you want to understand the deference between you and the opposite sex, this book provides clarity to the otherwise confusion taught by modern secularism.

The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage

How can young couples determine if moving in together is a wise move? With more than half of American young adults cohabitating sometime in their adult lives, pastors and counselors need to be prepared to advise young adults with factual and scriptural truth. With credible data and compassion, Stanton explores the reasons why the cohabitation trend is growing; outlines its negative outcomes for men, women and children; and makes a case for why marriage is still the best arrangement for the flourishing of couples and society.

His Needs Her Needs

How can couples experience a lifetime of passion and fulfillment? By identifying each other's most important emotional needs and developing habits to meet them. This is perhaps the one of the best books that clearly explains how to strengthen your marriage and enjoy a lifetime of blessings that result in a stronger intimate marriage.