An older married couple had fallen into a rut of ignoring each other and taking one another for granted. So they went to a counselor who recommended they say sweet things to each other. “Like what?” the husband asked. “Well,” replied the counselor, “when you are at the dinner table you could say, “Would you please pass the sugar, Sugar?” Or “Pass the honey, Honey.” The husband thought he’d try this the next day. So at the table, he asked his wife, “Would you pass the tea, Bag?” (Oh my, he didn’t get it, did he?!)
How do you keep a relationship both vibrantly young and growing in maturity? My bride and I have only been married (almost) 42 years, so we are still growing in this area. 🙂 Trust, me, we have made our share of mistakes along the way. But we have also committed ourselves to investing in our relationship. Here are some thoughts on building a strong relationship.
Commitment eliminates fear and anxiety.
Hold hands while walking. Gentle affection meant for you also inspires others.
Weekly dates.* It might be a walk, or a trip to McDs for a $1 cone. Or even a tour of the Menard’s lumber store. Also spend some time knee-to-knee, face-to-face, reminding each other how glad you are that they said, “I do.” Remind each other, “I still do!”
Monthly get aways.* Marcia really likes road trips. They don’t have to have a particular destination, just the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy God’s creation on the back roads. Once in awhile, go to a restaurant where you have to look DOWN at the menu, not UP. Talk about your dreams and aspirations.
Yearly memory makers.* I really enjoy our peaceful acreage that speaks peace to both of us. But we have found that getting away to make some memories is important. Ours aren’t often exotic or expensive. But they always provide an opportunity to enjoy each other away from the daily chores at home. We always take a reflective view of our married years on our anniversary, recalling favorite people, events, and places.
Be honest with each other. We have always had this ‘rule’ since when we were first friends: never complain about your spouse to others. The bible instructs us that if we have problems with each other, go to THAT person, not others. It makes for a lot more respectful and honoring relationship. Don’t you agree?
Admit when you are wrong. And even if you aren’t wrong, practice saying, “You might be right,” instead of arguing some needless and trivial point that really doesn’t matter.
Read the bible together and pray together. Make God the center of your marriage.
These are just some ways we try to keep our relationship alive and focused on our values. Maybe you have suggestions you’d like to share. We’d love to hear them.
* (Thanks to Robert Lewis for these 3 suggestions.)