4 Ways to build a Happy and Healthy Marriage

4 Ways to build a Happy and Healthy Marriage

 

“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully.” President Russel M Nelson.

It is not impossible to achieve happiness within your marriage; I have experienced greater happiness in my marriage than in any other relationship. I must admit though, to achieve this happiness, it takes lots of work and careful nurturing. That is why I’ve decided to share 4 principles that have helped me to strengthen my marriage.

Understanding your spouse

To truly understand your spouse, you must learn how to communicate effectively. This type of communication extends beyond just spoken words. It is knowing your spouse’s love language. It is knowing exactly how he/she receives love. My husband’s love language is ‘Physical Touch’ whereas mine is ‘Quality Time’. So, we both had to learn how to communicate and express love according to each other’s love language. We didn’t always know each other’s love language and it was something that we had to learn over time. Interestingly enough, we both read the book “5 love languages” by Gary Chapman and found a fun quiz online that helped. I highly recommend reading this book and taking this quiz with your spouse https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/ to learn each other’s love language.

Establishing Boundaries

Put your spouse first! All other relationships should be secondary (work colleagues, parents, and friends). D&C 42:22 gives us a clear statement that putting our spouses comes first. No one else and nothing else should take precedent over your spouse (except God) and this is why boundaries are very important.  If we are not careful to put our spouses first, we may find ourselves putting up walls within our marriage and opening windows for people on the outside to come in which can lead to problems within the marriage including infidelity.

Setting boundaries protects against infidelity.

Dr. Shirley Glass, therapist, and author say that more than often we think that infidelity happens when we do not love our spouse enough but it is about boundaries; where we draw the line. Early in our marriage, we made sure to set boundaries because we both had past relationships and friends of the opposite sex with whom we interacted with. Here are some boundaries that we have decided to adopt:

  • Don’t flirt with anyone other than your spouse.
  • Don’t have lunch alone with an old flame.
  • Resist the desire to rescue an unhappy soul who pours his or her heart out to you
  • If a conversation makes light of marriage, respond with something positive about your marriage.
  • Discuss marital issues only with your spouse.

Learn to forgive:

Now this one may not come as easy to some but I can’t tell you how many times this principle has saved our marriage. We are two imperfect beings striving to be the best that we can. Sometimes we say and do things that irritate each other. We even step on a few toes but learning to forgive helps us to grow. It helps us to see the other person for what they can be rather than what they are in the moment of their mistakes.

Forgiveness is difficult because it requires letting go of the role of the victim and its benefits but, while vengeance may feel satisfying in the short run, it will keep the injured spouse stuck in the past.

Richard Miller said it best “Just as our sins and weaknesses are washed away through repentance, forgiveness washes away the hurts and emotional injuries that must be anticipated in being married to someone who is imperfect.”

Understanding that love is a choice:

I think that the way the world sells love is misleading. We do not just live “Happily Ever After”. We do not wake up every day in a fantasy world expecting to be in awe and love constantly. My friends, love is a choice and we have to choose to love each other day in and day out.

Yes, there are going to be times when the chemical flood our bodies and we feel this overwhelming sensation but the real test comes after that sensation leaves and you come face to face with an imperfect soul; someone who chews with their mouth open or leaves the toilet seat up, or perhaps they squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle and not at the end. Ahh yes! I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

You know that you’re not always googly-eyed over your spouse but you make the bravest choice of all; you choose to love them anyway. That right there is true love. Understanding this principle will strengthen your marriage significantly knowing that a conscious effort is needed for love to endure.

I can not sit here and tell you that this is all a walk in the park but, it is worth it! Our aim isn’t to strive for a perfect marriage but a happy and fulfilling one. Feel free to like, share and leave a comment.  I am curious to hear your thoughts.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Shelisia

    This was such a GREAT read! I LOVE the 5 love language book and I certainly encourage EVERYONE to read it whether you are in a relationship or intend to be in a relationship or even just in general to understand people.

    You are sooooo right!!! Boundaries are sooo important!!!

    Forgiveness at times is harrddddd!!!! But its quite necessary. Holding on to past hurts benefit no one so its imperative to learn to let it go.

    Love is definitely a choice because sometimes life happens and we definitely won’t always feel in love but we have to be intentional and definitely choose love daily!

    1. Tonisha Payne

      I love that word Shelly, Intentional! we must practice making it a part of our way of life.

  2. Querida

    Beautifully written! People don’t see the work behind the scenes of marriage and these are great tips

    1. Tonisha Payne

      Indeed Que, they don’t. I also think that is why sometimes marriages are taken so lightly that a principle like forgiveness can be the determining factor of whether the marriage last or not.

  3. Tara Daniel-Palmer

    Love it! Love it! Love it! Couldn’t say it better Toni!! These are PROFOUND words and indeed true. AWESOMENESS!! Keep up the great work hun!! Love you both and may God continue to bless you both and keep the flames going. Cheers!!

  4. gizelleboncamper

    This was a great read. I remember learning about the 5 love languages. This truly helped my marriage, but I totally agree on keeping marital issues with your spouse because like you said you have to understand your spouse even through the good and bad. And forgiveness is so important, we must never let the past define our future in our marriage or else it would be a constant battle that we can not change.

    1. Tonisha Payne

      Thanks, Gi. I agree that the past should NEVER define the future of our marriages. Especially ones that can cause turmoil. Satan loves unhappy marriages and families and we must try our hardest to not let him succeed.

  5. Flor

    Great post. I especially like the part about putting your spouse first. It can be easy to drift away from each other when other voices replace or drown out the one of your spouse.

    You are so right about forgiveness, I have seen the power of this in my own relationship. It is oh so hard sometimes but I have to put my pride aside and forgive and let go in order to continue to love him as he does me.

    I be on the look out for the next one. 🙂

    1. Tonisha Payne

      I am happy that you enjoy the post. I like that you mentioned pride because it is something that often gets in the way of simple communication that can break or make your marriage.

  6. A'Kiesha Weekes-James

    Building was a great way to describe the process. I’ve experienced in my own marriage how being a nurturing builder is more effective than the opposite.

    We actually had to study the Love languages in a few of our premarital sessions and I think it was so insightful. It allowed us to find a stronger balance.

    Boundaries were something we began to establish while courting. I felt it made the transition to marriage a bit easier. No one felt stifled by the sudden onset and it defined the roles so eloquently… I support that 100%.

    My husband has always been more forgiving than myself. I have learnt alot from him. I think it definately helped me to grow.

    More than anything we have to accept that we made a commitment or choice to love. And we should do so without expectations. That way we’d know we made a choice to share in someone else’s life at no expense to the other person.. asking for nothing in return.. and that is the Love Jesus showed.. That I believe is true love.. unconditional..

    1. Tonisha Payne

      I love that you both set boundaries while courting. It was something that both LJ and I did as well and you are so right, it made the transition much easier. Jesus is indeed the greatest example of True LOVE!

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