Just as no person is perfect, no marriage is perfect either. That doesn’t mean that a marriage can’t be a happy one, at least most of the time!
Here are three keys that I’ve found helpful in my own marriage, in hopes that they might bring some happiness to yours.
Pray Together – Stay Together
We don’t necessarily have a hand-holding, off-the-cuff daily routine of praying together. We have prayed that way before, though, and it’s commendable. Rather, my wife and I say our mealtime prayers together, our nightly prayers together, and we go to Mass together every Sunday. From time to time, we’ve had a habit of praying an Our Father together in the mornings before work, offering it for a daily intention that each of us has. Likewise, we invite each other to go to Confession when our hectic Saturday schedules allow us to go together. On special occasions, we go to devotional prayer services offered at local parishes, praise and worship gatherings, and concerts of our favorite Christian artists and bands. All of this speaks of a life immersed in prayer, and we are not alone.
I am blessed to know many couples who share similar habits. While none of our relationships are without challenges, I firmly believe that prayerful communion with God is the ultimate tie that binds a married couple.
Borrowing an acronym from a Father Stan Fortuna song, “F.A.M.I.L.Y.” stands for “Forget About Me, I Love You.” Now, by no means can I claim to practice this nearly as often as I should, but the idea behind this is to sacrifice your own needs and wants by putting your spouse first. Notice, I wrote, put your spouse first… not put his/her needs and wants first. It’s an important distinction. A happy and healthy marriage requires intimate personal attention. Do I pay attention to her mood, whether it’s happy, sad, glad, or mad? Do I take notice of what kinds of things make her tick? Regarding the latter, Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages is still a fantastic place to begin learning how to put your spouse first.
Drop Your Drawers!
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m all for that, too, but that’s not what I meant!
Very early on in our marriage, I discovered that my wife has a knack for opening drawers and nearly, but not ever quite, closing them. These slightly opened drawers drove me just a little crazy. After all, how hard is it to close a drawer completely? It’s just a matter of another centimeter, and the process was already underway, right? “Just finish what you start,” I thought. Haha. That was my newlywed thought process, anyway. Then something hit me not even six months into our marriage. I thought, “What if I just close the drawers?” Ever since that revelation, I dropped the resentment and in our marriage, she opens the drawers – and I close them. That, in a nutshell, is an overarching principle that I believe can apply to so many little things that might otherwise add up to a host of problems for couples.
Hopefully some of what I’ve shared is useful to you and your marriage. If you have any lessons you’ve learned or keys you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them!