Because of the work that we do, Lamar and I have been able to talk to hundreds (if not thousands) of couples about their marriages. And the one thing that we have found is that those couples that consider themselves to be “happily married” are intentional about making their marriages work. This means that they purposefully take actions toward ensuring that their marriage is healthy and that their spouse is happy.
And so with this new year approaching, it is so tempting to make a long list of resolutions that you may or may not be able to keep. However, the one resolution that I recommend that every couple make is to make a commitment to work on your marriage. That’s it… make a commitment to be intentional about making your marriage work.
Every year, Lamar and I commit to doing at least one marriage enrichment activity (although we usually end up attending many marriage workshops … but a lot of times we are working and not really able to relax and participate.) Last year, we attended the Better Marriages Conference that was held in North Carolina. Next year, we are attending our very own BMWK Marriage Cruise where we’re going to work on our marriage and spend some time connecting and relaxing on the cruise.
In 2014, don’t leave your marriage on autopilot. If you want your marriage to go in a more positive direction, then you need to take control and direct it there. Make a commitment to do something together as couple to improve your marriage.
Additionally, there are also things that you should be doing as an individual to be a better spouse. I’ve found that the more I work on myself, the better my marriage is. So here are 10 things I plan to work on all year round to be a better wife:
- Work on my attitude. I want all of my actions towards my spouse to be loving and respectful (even when I am hurt or upset about something.)
- Work on my communication skills. My spouse should not have to play guessing games. If I want something or if something is bothering me, then I need to tell him.
- Work on forgiving my spouse. Holding on to things for long periods of time is not healthy for our marriage or for me.
- Work on saying I’m sorry and asking for forgiveness. I’m not perfect and I need to do a better job of owning up to my mess and apologizing.
- Work on dealing with the baggage that I have brought into the marriage
- Work on not being prideful
- Work on not being selfish
- Work on saying thank you and appreciating my spouse more
- Work on being present in my relationship
- And finally, I am going to work on serving my spouse more. The National Healthy Marriage Institute says that one of the keys to happy relationships is putting your spouse’s needs before your own. This will allow you to create a “spirit of service” in your relationship, and “the antidote to selfishness is service.” It’s difficult to be selfish when you are serving your spouse — service forces you to put the needs of your spouse before your own needs.