This is one of the biggest problems couples have in our society today. They either don't know how to forgive or they refuse to forgive. When you refuse to forgive your spouse, you put a barrier between the two of you. And usually it doesn't even start with something huge. Usually a few small things are left unforgiven, and resentment builds up, and then a few more are added to it, and eventually a mountain of unforgiveness exists between the husband and wife and they feel miles apart.
This is absolutely one of the most important keys to any marriage. This is a key reason why so many people go from relationship to relationship or from marriage to marriage. Everything starts out great, but as soon as something goes wrong or someone is offended the person who won't forgive shuts down and eventually moves on. And you know what? None of us are perfect. All of us will let our partner down eventually. So we MUST learn how to forgive.
Don't let small offenses build into a mountain of bitterness in your marriage. Learn the freedom and intimacy that only forgiveness can bring.
#2) Learn how to say "I'm sorry"
This goes closely along with forgiveness. There are many people in our society today that are so proud that they can never say that they are sorry.
Do you know how hard it is to live with someone who will never admit that they are wrong?
Being able to take responsibility for your actions is a sign of maturity. It also makes it much easier for the other person to be able to forgive you.
The reality is that we will all offend our spouses at some point, and being able to say "I'm sorry" will go a long way towards repairing any damage that has been done.
#3) Turn away from lustful images
This is a big one especially for husbands. Your wives DO notice when you take a peek at an attractive woman or when you stare at lustful scenes on the television.
One huge thing you can do to make your spouse feel valued is to turn away when a lustful image comes on the television or movie screen or to even turn the television off when it crosses the line.
By taking the active step of turning away from lustful things it will make your spouse feel great, and it will send a signal that you are vigilant about protecting your marriage.
#4) Don't make a habit of talking badly about your spouse to others
This is a big one especially for wives. There is a tendency for women to get together and gossip about everything that is wrong with their husbands.
Or it is even worse when a husband or wife openly talks badly about their partner in public where the other partner can hear it. What it communicates to the other partner is that you have ZERO respect for that other person and that you do not value them at all.
So tackle your disagreements and issues in private. Airing them in public or to your friends does incredible damage.
#5) Put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own
This goes completely counter to how most people in our society think. Most people enter into marriages for what THEY can get out of it.
So when one of the partners starts feeling like they aren't getting what they want out of the marriage, what happens? They get angry, they shut down or they might leave.
But what do we find in great marriages?
What we find is each partner puts the needs and desires of the other person ahead of their own. When each person makes it their goal to serve the other, then the needs of both people get met. In fact, some of the most beautiful and most romantic stories in history are about one spouse who is willing to sacrifice everything for the good of the other spouse.
#6) Never ever threaten the relationship
If you want a healthy relationship, you must never, ever, ever threaten the relationship. If you say something like "If you do that again I'll start thinking about a divorce".....even if it is in jest.....then you are taking a sledgehammer to your marriage.
Any statement that threatens your relationship is likely to cause incredible fear and panic in your partner even if you do not realize it. It sends them the message that you are already thinking about ending the relationship. Instead what you should do is to communicate to your spouse that you consider marriage to be for life, and that you are committed to this relationship for life no matter what. That type of commitment will do much to strengthen a marriage.
#7) Give your spouse at least one compliment every day
There are some married people, particularly women, who go YEARS without hearing their spouse say something truly nice about them. There are some married people who would do just about anything to hear some words of approval from the one they love.
So take this advice and give your spouse at least one sincere compliment every day. By doing so you will build that other person up and help them to become the person that they are supposed to be.
The reality is that we all need more vitamin "E".....if we do not receive encouragement from your spouse, then where in this dark, cold world are we supposed to get it?
#8) Do all the important things together
Increasingly I hear of married people attending important events alone, and I have even heard of couples taking "separate vacations".
That is a recipe for disaster. Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend. Encourage that by always doing all the important things together.
#9) Pray together EVERY night
Some of you may find this one strange. But ask anyone who does it. It works wonders for a marriage.
It is really hard to stay angry with each other or to have unresolved issues when you humble yourselves together in prayer each night before you go to bed. Trust me, just try it.
#10) Say to your spouse "I love you" at least once every day
Life goes by so quickly. Take the time to reaffirm your love every day. Some couples are so out of practice that they don't say it at all anymore.
Never let it get old. Each day tell your spouse that you love them. Life is too short not to.