Six Habits to Enrich your marriage this Summer and beyond

The Jul/Aug Faith Today featured a story about Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Ministries, the new initiative by Ron and Ann Mainse to help build strong marriages. We asked Ron and Ann to write a guest blog on how to enrich your marriage. Thanks Ron and Ann!

 By Ron & Ann Mainse

We all know that good habits can help us feel better and live better…and that’s especially true in marriage!  Doing loving things every day can be like a daily dose of vitamins for a marriage, just what the doctor ordered for a long and healthy relationship.

Ron and Ann Mainse are co-leaders of Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries. We welcome them as guest bloggers to Faith Today!

If you really think about it, you can probably come up with dozens of little habits that can help to strengthen your marriage, habits like picking up your shoes or replacing the toilet paper roll, but let’s just focus on some of the biggies…

Show gratitude.
Saying “I love you” goes without saying (meaning, it’s a given that you should say it regularly).  But what about regularly saying “thank you” …and meaning it!  That may seem insignificant, but when your spouse feels valued and appreciated on a regular basis, the groundwork is laid for deeper intimacy. I know it means a lot to me (Ann) when Ron thanks me for even the little things like doing the laundry and putting it away.  It may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference to me that he noticed.   And when I (Ron) come in the house tired, hot and sweaty after mowing the lawn, and Ann smiles and gives me a genuine, “Thanks, Honey, for doing that,” those words are like a cold cup of ice water for my soul.

Give compliments. A sincere compliment goes a long way.  You can probably remember the things you loved most about your spouse when you were dating.  Look for those attributes today, and make a point of spotlighting them.   One of the things that instantly drew me to Ron during our dating years was his humility and gentleness.  He was just himself… he wasn’t out to impress anyone.  Even after 33 years of marriage I still love that about him and tell him that… often.   How about complimenting your spouse in front of others (especially your kids). When you point out something that you appreciate about your spouse in front of other people, it not only builds their self-worth but it also encourages them to keep it up.  And when it’s done in front of your kids, it provides them with an excellent example and much-needed security.

Keep talking. One of the quickest ways to lose intimacy in a marriage is to stop communicating.  Yet, these days it’s so easy for us to stay in touch with our spouse.  Text each other… often!  Send “one-liner” insights into what’s going on in your day.  Find an emoji that has a special meaning for the two of you and text it to her for no reason. We have friends who went on a cruise for their honeymoon, so sometimes, when life gets stressful he’ll text her an emoji of a cruise ship, and that brings back lots of good memories.  And don’t forget to set aside time for those deeper conversations.  Sitting close, looking into each other’s eyes and discussing the deeper issues of life is one of the paramount elements in maintaining the uniquely intimate connection of marriage.  Yes, emojis are fun… but heart-sharing is fundamental.

Keep kissing. And we’re not just talking about a “quick peck.”  Marriage researcher, John Gottman, recommends a 6-second kiss every day, or as Gottman calls it, “a kiss with potential.”  Sure, life gets busy but isn’t it time for us to take the kissing experience from the parking teenagers and put it back into its rightful place as an official symbol of marriage!

Keep flirting. This is one you were probably pretty good at early on but may need a little reminder. Flirt with your spouse!  I think Hollywood has pretty much drained all of the romance out of marriage and given it to the singles (what’s up with that!).  But guys, when you’ve been married for a while, you know your wife better than anyone, and you know the things that make her blush.  Use them…often…and just see where that leads!

Pray Together. This is, hands down, the best habit any couple can develop. According to none other than Dr. Phil in his book, Relationship Rescue, couples who pray together have only a 1 in 10,000 divorce rate!  One weary husband asked us after a marriage seminar, “But what do you say?”  Yes, you need to pray about your jobs and your kids and your friends and family members, but the most important prayer focus should be your marriage.  Tell God how thankful you are for your spouse.  Ask Him to give you insight into ways you can build her up today.  Pledge to live in integrity, and do your best to be the spouse he needs.  As you get into the habit of beginning your day humbled before God, you’ll be amazed to see how much more focused, calm, content and loveable you are!

So to recap these good marriage habits… show gratitude, give compliments, keep talking, keep kissing, keep flirting…and pray together!

And remember, something we re-learn every day of our marriage… closer to God means closer to each other.

Ron & Ann Mainse are co-leaders of Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Ministries (visit the site for resources and upcoming events). Their new initiative is featured in the Jul/Aug Faith Today

 

 

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