💍 MARRIAGE: is it easy to have a thriving marriage?
The wedding day was beautiful. The honeymoon so special. But now you're wondering if that's the end of the beauty of marriage. These 8 tips I will share in this post have the ability to set you up for long term connection, joy and love within your marriage.
Marriage is the best gift I’ve ever been given. My husband Caleb is the love of my life & I adore him. He’s the best friend I always wanted, the person I want to share everything with, the person I admire the most in this
world. But as with every good thing in life, it takes care, attention, effort, learning, commitment, etc to have it thrive.
You might be thinking, “well Stefanie & Caleb, it seems easy for you” but you couldn’t be further from the truth. We both put a TON of time & effort into our marriage. We give 💯 & God is the glue that holds our marriage together.
Doing intentional things helps our marriage thrive. In this post we will share tangible things that we’ve learned/ are learning & incorporating over the last 8.5 year of marriage that has helped our marriage thrive. Whether you’re married now, or you ever want to be married, I hope these pointers can encourage your relationship.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” - Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is a great gift. Marriage is a blessing & deserves the time & attention it take to make it thrive.
Tip # 1 Incorporate BOUNDARIES
Boundaries have set our marriage free. We want to keep the good IN & the bad OUT of our lives.
Each marriage needs a great deal of attention to figure out what works best for the team. A good way to make this practical is write out (if your spouse is up for it maybe over a coffee date) the categories that are most important in your lives. Figure out together what you need more of in that category & what has been holding your marriage back. Even time spent doing good but distracting from the best isn’t helping your marriage.
Another way to figure out what is holding you back is writing out how you spent your full day/week hour by hour. This helps you see where time is going. I’ll give some examples below of questions we’ve asked & boundaries we’ve made because of it:
When are you feeling anxious, jealous, sad, lonely etc? Paying close attention to your feelings & what you were thinking/doing helps you figure out what you might need a boundary on. For example: Caleb noticed that after watching a certain show we were both more contentious with each other. We decided to not watch the show anymore. Although we enjoyed the show it wasn’t worth it. Another example: Caleb & I used to love staying up late. But we always felt a sense of sadness in the morning for either waking up later than we wanted or being tired the next day. We now go to bed early & wake up at 6:30 while still getting 8 hours of sleep.
These are some of the categories we’ve put strong boundaries on: God/Faith, Marriage, Family, Work, Friends, Health, Entertainment, Money.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.”- 1 Corinthians 10:23
Healthy Boundaries help us keep the BEST in our lives, & block ourselves from the REST! Boundaries are meant to free you to live your best selves & marriage. Healthy boundaries both while you’re single & married set you up to thrive in your life/marriage. Have you set healthy boundaries for your marriage/yourself? Would love to hear about that!
Tip #2 Want A Thriving Marriage? Use tools to grow.
There are so many great resources to help your marriage thrive. Here our some of our favorite resources that we have found in our marriage that might help you have a thriving marriage too!
1) Meet with relationship Counselors: Caleb and I are relationship counselors who love to help others have thriving relationships. With my Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy + Caleb's Master's in education with years of experience helping clients + creating relationship courses we've seen so much susses in the lives of our clients. 2)“The Love Dare: Day by Day” devotional: Every single night before bed, we read this together. It has 365 devotionals (one for each day of the year) so that you can read & discuss each topic. We have gone through this book six & a half times. It always brings a new idea or truth that is so valuable to our marriage each day. 3)Thirty-One Prayers for my Husband (Wife): We love the resources that @husbandrevolution & @unveiledwife have through their marriage ministry. The prayer book of internal prayers to pray for each other is my favorite. All their books we’ve read are incredibly insightful, challenging & help us to see each other with more love & compassion. 4)LASTING app: One of our biggest finds recently has been the @getlasting app. It is created by the @gottmaninstitute & provides research & practical tools to equip you in your marriage. We go through their different plans each day & discuss to learn more about each other. 5)MARRIAGE RETREATS: We enjoy going each year to the @humelake marriage retreats. They are so powerful, & have been so impactful in our marriage. We highly recommend finding a good marriage retreat getaway to build up your marriage. What are some resources that have worked for you to grow in being better at relationships? ❤We love learning & growing together with you!
Tip #3 Invest in each other’s interest & have shared fun! Making time for fun & caring about each other’s interests is a top priority for Caleb & I. Learning about something your partner loves & trying to find the joy in it is such a blessing. Shared experiences & fun days/conversations connect you. Building up good memories help grow overall sense of joy in your marriage.
Caleb loves sports. I knew very little about some of the sports he loves, but asking him questions about his past with the sport, moments of joy for him; helps me understand him & the sports better. From hours spent together shooting baskets, to him teaching me how to kick a soccer ball (I’m still horrible at this) it’s been so fun for me to learn from him. He’s been patient, so sweet & we’ve shared so many laughs playing together. I can now watch/listen to sports stuff with much more enjoyment because of the way he’s included me. Reading & learning about God & relationships, Hiking, creative projects, the Steelers, photography are some of my favorite things. These weren’t something that Caleb enjoyed in the past. But after learning my heart behind a lot of this & taking time to hear about it, he now loves these things & we spend hours enjoying special moments involving them. He’s found a new passion for creating & doing our business together: something he never thought he would like or do. I also don’t have fun until I get my tasks done or know when they will be done. We’ve learned this so we try to get the work done first so we can both fully enjoy our adventure days. Disneyland was a place I never went. My family doesn’t like things that involve crowds so I didn’t think I would love it. Caleb took me for the first time after he proposed to me 7 years ago. Now we try to go at least once a year because it’s one of our favorite days together & we live close. I’m so glad we make it a priority to learn from each other & share moments together. We’re truly best friends & I can’t wait to learn more from Caleb & share more amazing moments together. What’s something you could learn more about from your loved one? What’s a fun experience you can share?
Tip #4 Speak words of life over your spouse!
I believe we have the ability to speak LIFE or DEATH over people’s lives by the words we say to them & about them. When I speak words of life over Caleb I see him stand up straighter. I see light go into to his eyes. When Caleb speaks words of life over me it’s as if I can fly.
I’ve seen things spoken into existence. Both things out of fear & love. Speaking words in love instead of fear & pain changes your life/marriage. Never saying anything negative behind your spouses back is so empowering. “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” -James 3:5 Let’s set flames of love with kind words & not flames of hatred & defeat by words of pain.