1. Healthy couples speak respectfully about their spouse even when their spouse isn’t there to hear it
Your words are usually a sign of the state of your marriage, but your tone confirms it.
The tone in which you speak to, OR about your spouse, will ultimately set the tone of your entire marriage. Never speak harshly to each other, especially about each other. Disagreements are not a sign that you married wrong. On the contrary, disagreement and conflict can enhance your marriage. Make a decision to maintain a posture of mutual respect – protect and defend your spouse’s reputation both publicly and privately. Speak to each other and speak about each other with RESPECT.
2. Share each other’s interests
This is such a huge factor; sadly most couples don’t do it often enough. Whatever your spouse values, should be valuable to you too.
Don’t allow your iPhone to become more important than your spouse or their interest. The healthiest of marriages never compromise ‘us time.’
In marriage, there is no winner or loser; there are only wins or losses.
Fighting dirty can become a huge source of bitterness and frustration in marriage if it is not done right. Your spouse has seen you at your best AND seen you at your worst, at your prettiest and your ugliest. The healthiest of couples choose to bring out the best in each other by celebrating and highlighting each other’s strengths and areas of growth, instead of consistently holding each other down by bringing up mistakes from the past. Prevent keeping score, or using words like “you always,” “you just like.” In this case, both of you lose. When a couple chooses to encourage each other and extend grace, they both win. Healthy couples forgive each other quickly and work hard to rebuild trust when it has been damaged. They also endeavour to protect intimacy when it has been defiled.
4. Prioritise each other over everything
Great marriages don’t prioritise their careers, their hobbies or even their kids ahead of their marriage.
This is a hard pill to swallow, but if you have to choose between your career and your spouse, your friends and your spouse, or even your family and your spouse; you must always choose to put your spouse ahead of the rest.
One of the toughest priorities to establish, is to never let your kids come between you and your spouse. One of the most destructive things you can do is put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your children. Don’t end up with an “empty nest” syndrome. Invest in regular date nights or days. Find and pay reliable baby-sitters, have a budget for entertainment, model the kind of marriage that makes your kids excited to be married someday.
5. Sex is not an option
It takes more than sex to have a great marriage, but you cannot have a great marriage without sex.
If you only make love when both of you are equally ‘in the mood,’ it’s like waiting for all the stars in the galaxy to come into perfect alignment. The healthiest couples prioritise sexual intimacy. You should be having sex at least 4 times a week.
6. Never, never lie to each other
Dishonesty (or secrecy ) in any form is an enemy of intimacy and will destroy your friendship like nothing else.
If you want your marriage to grow and thrive, don’t keep secrets and don’t tell lies to each other. Your marriage will never be stronger than the level of trust you have for each other. The healthiest couples don’t have hidden bank accounts or secret passwords the other spouse doesn’t know about.
7. The healthiest couples have a spiritual conviction
It’s possible to have God in your marriage and still be unhappy, but I’m convinced that you cannot build a healthy marriage without God.
I’m also convinced the more you love God, the better capacity you will have to love each other. The healthiest couples I know are the ones who pray with and for each other. They are rooted in their faith, active in a healthy church and they put their faith in action by serving together to help their community.