I am no love expert. Don’t get me wrong, I love my marriage but it’s far from perfect. While it can be difficult at times, marriage is MORE than worth it. In fact, being woven into one is incredibly beautiful and Heavenly––especially when you overcome the rough patches.
As a newlywed, I have read numerous articles by actual love experts and have found their words to be true as I navigate through my own marriage. My favorite “love experts” are Bob Goff, Francis Chan, Dave Willis––just to name a few. If you’re interested, I definitely recommend checking them out.
So, what have I learned from them? Well, many things. In regards to having a great marriage, this is their advice I recommend focusing on the most:
1. Premarital counseling
Let’s face it, I don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared to enter into the sacredness of marriage. But from experience, let me assure you that your marriage will have a stronger start if you undergo premarital counseling. It’s an opportunity that allows you and your soon-to-be spouse to get to know each other more. As well as identifying typical problems that occur in a marriage and determining how you will deal with them when they approach.
2. Make your spouse your #1 priority
For me personally, I ensure my relationship with God is my top priority because I believe a marriage will remain stronger with God as your foundation. But no matter where your beliefs are, making your spouse a priority BEFORE school, work, children, etc. will generate a massive difference. Spend quality time with him, cook his favorite meal, take time to really talk to him. The list goes on and on.
3. Be intentional at making good habits
My parents have been married for 25 years and constantly remind me to be intentional at establishing good habits now: that habits are always formed in the beginning stages. Whether it’s when you’re learning to drive, learning how to study, and learning how to be married. While it is possible to eventually ditch your bad habits for better ones, it is extremely difficult to do so and is unlikely in many cases. Establishing healthy habits early on will only enhance your marriage.
4. Sexual Intimacy
While sexual intimacy is not the cornerstone of marriage, it is an important aspect that can strengthen your bond. In fact, writer and love expert, Dave Willis articulates that it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it! But more importantly, you and your spouse need to be best friends. Expert, Craig Gross says: “You and your partner need to enjoy each other as people and be connected emotionally. Without that, your sex life is just going to be strictly physical and won’t be great. He also recommends having sex at least twice a week in your marriage. It’s vital to have both a sexual intimacy and an emotional intimacy. They go “hand-in-hand.”
5. Don’t give up!
I’m sure many of you can agree with me that sometimes giving up seems more attractive. “My life would be so much easier without this person,” blah blah blah. But do not be deceived, that is a flat out lie! Believe me, running away doesn’t make anything easier––every marriage is worth fighting for. Instead of fighting with each other, realize you’re on the same team and fiercely fight together for your marriage. Bob Goff compares love like a sword without a handle “…and because of that, sometimes we’ll get cut when we pick it up. It’s supposed to be close contact, though. Love always is that way.” I want to leave you with one more Goff quote:
“All of us want to deal with issues from a safe distance. I know I do. But the stakes couldn’t be higher with the small conflicts. If we don’t get those right, when it’s game day for the big disputes, we’ll still be wrapped around the axles with all of the previous unresolved disagreements.”
Author: Emily Whorton
Emily Whorton is a PR professional living in the Caribbean with her husband and puppy, she enjoys eating lots of ice-cream and is currently travelling the world.