10 Healthy Habits To Have In A Loving Marriage
Marriage can quickly become routine. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing, if the routines are healthy for your relationship. This article will focus on some healthy habits that can help create a loving marriage where both parties stay affectionate and in tune.
We have only been married since 2017. But, I have been married before, and though I have made my peace with that, it gives me an opportunity to point out some things I have learned along the way. Teresa wrote a post about conflict styles that are toxic in relationships, and I can only attest to that. In this article, I would like to share some habits that we work on that make our marriage stronger and healthy.
This blog, Viking + Amish, was created to share life-giving and affirming advice and information. Therefore, I would like to share our habits with anyone willing to work on their marriage or looking for inspiration to improve. This is, of course, not a complete list of things we do to work on our marriage. But, these are the ten first things that came to mind when we started writing this post.
1. PRAY FOR AND WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Prayers teach and position your heart with love towards the thing or the person you are praying for. Actually, praying together is one of the most secure ways you can prevent divorce. A study done at the University of Texas showed that less than 1% of couples that pray together daily end up divorcing. According to the American Psychological Association, the divorce rate in America currently is 50%. Thus, this one daily routine, praying together, can practically destroy the risk of divorce. You can read more about this statistic on this blog.
If you have never prayed before, don’t worry. I guarantee that there are churches in your local community that would love to teach you how to pray. Ask for a one-on-one session with a church staff if being at a church service seems too overwhelming.
One of the things I personally enjoy about prayer is that it also makes me agree with what God is doing in Teresa. God works through us in individual ways, and I don’t always see or understand how God works in her. However, when I pray for and with her, it gives me reassurance that God is working in and through her. It helps me agree with her better and love her more.
2. RESPECT PASSIONS AND ENCOURAGE THE USE OF THEM
Teresa and I have a lot of things we enjoy doing together, yet we also have passions that we enjoy doing on our own. In a healthy relationship, it is vital to feel encouraged and supported in our desires. Furthermore, this includes taking the time to listen, asking questions, giving space, and trying to understand what the passion is about. It can hurt if a spouse ridicules our passion, so take time to follow the heart behind it.
3. ALLOW INTROVERT TIME
In our marriage, we have very different ways of charging up. Though we have become more similar with time, we still have different needs after a long or hard day. Being able to communicate the need for space lovingly can be a challenge when our energy tank is low. On the other side, there are only benefits from allowing your partner the time and space to recharge.
Talk about this need before it occurs. This will prevent feelings of rejection or assumptions of being less prioritized. Introvert time will help both parties re-connect later.
4. GIVE GENUINE COMPLIMENTS
Telling our spouse we are attracted to them and that they look good is not just encouraging, it can also keep the fire lit in a relationship. It means the world to me to know that she finds me attractive, but I will only know what she thinks it if she tells me. Of course, this only works if it is genuine, but if you notice something, even if it is spontaneous, say it. Don’t keep attraction a secret.
5. ENCOURAGE FRIENDSHIPS
Of course, every person has different needs and preferences for how involved and intimate their bonds are. Also, some people have many friends, and some have a few close friends. Regardless, all humans need connection and interaction with other humans. In healthy marriages we also allow that interaction to happen outside the marriage. Good friendships can be a great support to a marriage, and it can help support others’ marriages as well. Find time to be with friends together or be with friends individually.
6. MAKE IT A POINT TO TALK ABOUT GROWTH AND CHALLENGES
Marriage is often teamwork which means working together towards a common goal. If one teammate is struggling or challenged, it is an opportunity for the whole team to learn new things and to help that person through it. Similarly, this applies to marriage as well. Be open to communicating challenges, fears, and the areas that we are growing in.
Transparency allows the other person to pray and support us, and it creates accountability.
One way that you can facilitate conversations about growth and challenges is to create a mission statement. Companies and organizations have mission statements that keep them on track and reach their goals. Likewise, I believe that mission statements can be beneficial in relationships and marriages as well as it solidifies a trajectory together.
7. MAINTAIN A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW
“For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.” Proverbs 2:6–8 NLT
Notice that it is “maintain.” A biblical worldview means understanding and adapting to the biblical guidelines for the areas we operate in. This includes marriage, parenting, jobs, friendships, and so forth. Hence, gaining a biblical worldview requires reading and studying what the Bible teaches in all these areas. The Bible has a lot of valuable lessons to teach on life in general. The better we connect these lessons to our own lives the more it will influence our worldview.
To study the bible for knowledge, we must consider it in its context and its fullness. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the purpose of the books in the Bible. Teresa and I own a lot of helpful tools such as dictionaries, commentaries, bible studies, and guides that are helpful when we have questions about the meaning of a scripture. Also, we have both received a lot of training and courses in studying the Bible. This has given us a good foundation for applying the Bible in our daily life. Since we are both very passionate about missional living, this is something that we might write a post about later. Stay tuned for that.
8. DO MINISTRY TOGETHER
Ministry is assisting a spiritual or a physical need by allowing God to be the power that fuels you. This is a very powerful experience to be able to do with your spouse. Even though our passions and gifts are different, together we can combine those things and stand together in loving our community.
One of the examples that we have of this in our life is Teresa’s parents that started a prayer house ministry. Together with others from their community, they get together a few times a week to pray for their city, church, and their country. They get to do ministry, experience God move and be passionate about something together.
9. MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS LOVING PHYSICAL TOUCH OTHER THAN SEX
Love languages differ from person to person. Though some people don’t crave lots of touch in their relationship, physical contact still stimulates powerful parts of the brain. Massive amounts of evidence suggest that touch helps depression, stress, induce feelings of happiness, and lower blood pressure. Here is just one of many articles about the power of touch.
Regular touch also communicates affirmation and love which are essential in relationships. Sex is very intimate and privilege in marriage. However, regular physical contact promotes friendship and partnership. Though not as close as sex, those things are vital to a longterm and healthy relationship.
10. LEARN HOW TO HAVE HEALTHY CONFLICTS AND KEEP SHORT ACCOUNTS
The Bible says:
“Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26–27 NLT
This sounds so dramatic, but basically what that means is to keep short accounts. Don’t hold on to contempt and anger. Harboring resentment and grudges are killers in a relationship. It is vital in any interpersonal relationship that we can have healthy conflicts. Disputes are common in relationships, and if we learn to do them right, we can truly benefit from them. Here is a blog series about healthy conflicts.
For now, I hope these habits are helpful reminders or an inspiration to maintain a loving relationship. The purpose of this blog is to offer advice and valuable tips on everyday topics. Therefore, we will probably return to this subject again to reexamine these ten habits in detail. Until then, please comment with your healthy habits below or even just your thoughts on the topic. We pray that you will be blessed in your relationships.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is meant as help and is for general informational purposes only. Meaning, do not consider this as legal advice or a consultation. To clarify, I am a communication strategist and consultant with a degree in Communications, and I teach on conflict resolution and communication skills. Surely, I love what I do, and my advice is always based on either textbook communication theory or empirical evidence. However, I cannot be held liable for how you apply my advice. Without a doubt, I hope you well and success in applying the views I share on this blog.