Are you young and newly married? Or, have you been married for a few years?
Regardless, the attention you give to the foundation of your marriage is important. In fact, it is critical. How you build your married life together right now will impact you for many years to come.
When Charlotte and I got married, we loved each other and wanted our marriage to be good. However, I don’t think I had any idea about the kind of behaviors and habits needed to build a solid foundation. About all I knew was make an effort to be a good husband. Looking back, I think I missed some opportunities that might have helped us begin our marriage well.
Unfortunately, many couples begin their marriages by paying little attention to what makes their foundation strong. As a result, they miss opportunities to build a solid foundation.
The following five suggestions can help you begin to build a great foundation. If you have been married for a while, these might be reminders of what will help keep your foundation strong.
1. Pay attention to one another now. Yes, a husband and wife may be in the same room. However, they may actually pay little attention to one another. Instead, night after night the television blares while they each focus on their phones. Far too many couples communicate with others (texts, Facebook messages, tweets) but spend little energy connecting with each another.
2. Set up protective boundaries now. Talk with one another about appropriate boundaries with persons of the opposite sex. Talk about appropriate boundaries for conflict. (For example, a couple should not use demeaning language or dredge up old wounds.) Couples need to talk about boundaries with their families of origin and how they will relate to them.
3. Commit yourselves to an encouraging Christian community now. Far too many Christian couples are only nominally connected to a church during their first few years of marriage. Listen, the time to connect with a church is immediately. Find a Christian community that will support and encourage your marriage. Find a church where there are not only others your age who are married but older believers who have invested their lives building good marriages.
4. Take the initiative to build your friendship now. Unfortunately, the expectations for marriage are often so high and unrealistic that couples remain continually frustrated and disappointed. Far better to simply focus on building a loyal, life-giving friendship with your spouse. Focusing on your friendship can heighten the joy you experience in your marriage. (By the way, it will also bless your sexual relationship with one another.)
5. Talk through your frustrations with one another now. Do not let the frustration build up inside you. Do not assume that it will just work itself out. Talk through your frustrations. Be the first to admit wrong. Make the first move to change your own behavior. Step up.
Which one of these five especially connected with you? What else might you include in this list of foundation building behaviors?