There are seasons in every marriage that are hard. Some seasons extend and can become a threat to the survival of the relationship. The people who acknowledge this truth—that hard times are inevitable—are the very ones who are most prepared to cope, to survive, and even to triumph. Because on the other side of those difficult seasons, there is a lot of sweet joy and bonding that takes place in a marriage. No matter which season of life and marriage you find yourself in, you’ll find there are 5 Game-Changers to Have a Great Marriage.
1. Don’t compare your marriage to an unrealistic standard.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. (Repeat that one in your head a few times, like a mantra.) Don’t be discouraged by the fact that, by comparison, other marriages seem so much better than yours. Maybe that other couple is just in a good season right now, and you didn’t know them five years ago when it was much harder. Comparison is a joy-killer in any area of life, and marriage is no exception.
2. Don’t mistake temporary challenges for deal-breakers.
Sometimes you’re faced with tough circumstances that strain your marriage. It could be a difficult child, a professional crisis, or financial woes. Wouldn’t it be a shame to give up on the marriage, only to wake up one day and realize that the real source of conflict had passed? The child was going through a phase, work settled down, or you dug your way out of the debt? Lots of life’s problems are temporary.
3. Strive to find personal balance.
If you’re feeling unhappy, there could be factors in play that have little to do with your spouse. And looking to your husband to provide all of your joy in life is too great a burden to place on anyone. Try assessing what you can change that might increase your personal fulfillment. It may be changing your career, getting healthy, or digging deeper in your spiritual life. Take ownership of your contentment and watch it increase.
4. Forget the 50-50 rule.
Whoever first said, “Marriage is a 50-50 proposition” did all married couples a real disservice. Truly great marriages tend to be made up of two people who believe in the 100-100 principle, striving to do more than their share for the good of the marriage and the family each day. They understand that there will be days when they fail and their spouse’s extra effort will keep the ship afloat, and vice versa. And that’s okay.
5. Celebrate the wins.
There are good days and bad days in every life. Your marriage goes through those, too! Why not spend a little more time acknowledging and celebrating the times the two of you get it right? Recalling the date night when you laughed until you cried or how he took care of you and the kids when you had the flu can help you keep his more boneheaded moves in perspective, and see the big picture. Celebrate the wins. Bookmark them.
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.