Every marriage, no matter how loving, goes through occasional rough patches, but these hard times can draw you closer together instead of pushing you apart. The difference lies in building a strong, stable foundation together that can weather the storms of life. Here are some key strategies to build a fulfilling and happy marriage.
1Communication is essential
What is not communicated is not shared, and what is not shared ends up distancing people. Distance leads to division, and this disunity can end up extinguishing the connection between two people, until they feel like strangers to each other.
2Respect and admire each other
These two elements help couples to avoid conflicts, because conflicts tend to arise when spouses stop thinking well of each other. When this happens, the next step is disrespect, which starts with words and gestures and can lead to physical disrespect, and even domestic violence.
3Don't run away from difficulties, and accept your differences
To try to solve problems, the first step is to identify them properly. If difficulties are silenced, what started off small will grow out of proportion and will lead to a crisis.
Differences between spouses will always exist. People are different, and men and women are also different from each other. Our differences make us complementary, and help us to grow and enrich each other. Knowing and respecting differences is a way for spouses to grow in appreciation of each other.
4Dedicate time, patience and tenderness
A person who is always in a hurry won’t be able to perceive what their spouse is going through, or allow his or her heart to be touched by the presence of others. Those who truly love, dedicate time to their beloved, and learn to be patient so as to listen and understand. If spouses give each other time and are patient with each other, tenderness will spontaneously well up in their relationship as an effective demonstration of love.
12 of Pope John Paul II’s best quotes on love, marriage, and family
5Make time for physical affection
Physical and sexual intimacy is necessary for a couple. It’s not the main priority, but it’s one of the basic conditions that define a marriage, and it’s a need that must be met. The sex life of a couple requires effort and dedication, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for spouses to give themselves to each other, renewing their marriage vows each time they come together.
6Respect each other's freedom
The fact of being “one flesh” cannot be interpreted as fusion and confusion between husband and wife. The spouses live together, but at the same time, each one retains his or her individuality and unique personality. For this reason, couples need to establish the scope of each person’s freedom and respect those boundaries.
7Distribute tasks and roles in a balanced and flexible way
Couples need to identify the qualities and abilities of each spouse and distribute daily tasks according to these characteristics, without allowing the weight of daily life to fall on only one of the spouses. The couple must always add to each other, never subtract; multiply, not divide; choose what unites, not what divides.
8Be true companions to each other
Marriage means company and communion. It’s fairly common to find couples who love each other and are great parents, but seem to be missing something: They’re not real partners. One has not yet become an inseparable companion of the other.
Spouses must be generous to open their intimacy and share it with each other. When a bride and groom become truly close companions, the gift of intimacy overflows and a joy of life arises. This joyful closeness can be perceived from the outside and will truly express the couple’s union of dreams, desires, expectations, fantasies, feelings, plans, thoughts and memories.
4 Surprising lessons learned in 4 years of marriage