Sunday

3 Simple Habits to Make Your Marriage Better

Someone once asked Ruth Bell Graham if she ever considered divorcing her world-famous evangelist husband, Billy. “I’ve never considered divorce,” she said once. “Murder, yes, but not divorce.” 

Now that my husband and I have passed our third decade of marriage, young couples sometimes ask what our “secret” is. In the spirit of Ruth Graham’s premise, my husband will sometimes say, “The best way to stay married is not to get divorced.” 

Sounds simple, right? No one marries with the intent of divorcing, but I must admit to being very grateful to be where we are today. 

God’s grace, a lot of prayer, and a few simple habits have carried us through. If you’re struggling in your marriage or you simply want to shore up an already good relationship, I encourage you to consider adding these habits to your life. 

1. Read your Bible for five minutes every day. 

Some days God’s Word is the only truth I hear. I’m serious. The news is slanted, people lie, and our culture twists even the most basic truths to advance its agenda. But God’s Word never lies. 

It reminds me of who I am in Christ. It challenges me to live in a way that honors God. It rebukes me when I’m selfish, lazy, or downright wicked. It shines a light into the dark corners of my soul and nudges me to clean them out. When I read God’s Word every day, I’m inspired to live like Jesus did. This makes every relationship in my life better, including my marriage. 

2. Pray with your spouse every day. 

I don’t know when my husband and I began this habit. We found the suggestion in one of the many marriage books we’ve read, and it’s been a good one. Every morning, before we part for the day, we ask each other, “How may I pray for you today?” 

My husband might share about a difficult customer he’s going to see or a concern he has with one of his coworkers. I might ask for prayer for a challenging assignment or a hard conversation I have to have with someone. After we’ve shared our requests, we pray aloud for each other. Throughout the day, as the Lord brings the needs to our minds, we pray again. 

For a habit that takes less than five minutes, this one accomplishes a lot. First, it cracks the door on what the other is thinking or concerned about as they go into their day. Second, it helps our love grow. You can’t pray for someone without caring for them. As we pray for each other, God knits our hearts together. Third, swapping prayer requests gives us a way to reconnect at the end of the day. Rather than, “How was your day?” “Fine,” we have something specific to ask about. This one point of conversation usually expands to a more detailed recap of the day’s events. 

3. Continue to work on your marriage, no matter how long you’ve been together. 

For us, this has taken many forms. When our children were young, we made it a priority to go away for a weekend, without the children, at least once a year. Sometimes we’ll go on an organized marriage retreat, and other times we just get away for rest, relaxation, and reconnection. 

A few years ago, I interviewed family psychologist Gary Chapman. In the interview he mentioned that the second highest divorce rate occurs during the empty nest years. I found this terribly alarming, because that’s the stage we’re in. 

To combat this, we invited a small group of like-minded couples who are also committed to work on their marriages to meet for Bible study. Every spring and fall we pick a new study on marriage and go through it together. 

Another easy way we’ve worked on our marriage is by reading from a devotional book every day. Around year ten, our marriage got really stale. We weren’t fighting; we were just bored and blah. More like roommates than lovers, we knew something had to change if our marriage was going to go the distance. 

I suspected that if our hearts were connected spiritually, the love connection would likely follow, so I proposed a new idea to my husband. “Would you be willing to have devotions together in the morning if I get up with you in the mornings?” He said, yes, and we were off. 

While he ate the simple breakfast I’d fixed, I’d read a brief devotion from a couple’s devotional book. Then we’d exchange prayer requests and pray for each other. It took less than 10 minutes, but it set the tone for the day. Some devotional books would ask a question or two that we’d answer if we had times. Other days we’d just think on what we’d read as we headed off into our day. 

I could list other things we’ve done over the years that have strengthened our marriage, but these three simple habits are an excellent beginning.

In the same interview that gave us Ruth Bell Graham’s humorous quote about divorce and murder, her husband, Billy, had something to say. Calling their relationship “a romance,” he said, “We have a better relationship now. We look into each other’s eyes and touch each other. It gets better as you get older. The secret is the Lord Jesus Christ–to have Him in the center of our lives.” 

Whether you’re newly married, have a decade under your belt, or have been married longer than you were single, it’s always a good time to invest in one of the most important relationships of your life. 

Now it’s your turn. What habits have strengthened your marriage? Leave a comment below and share your ideas.



If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.



Delivered by FeedBurner