What Makes a Good Marriage?

wedding rings

(Photo Credit)

Last week I started this series by laying out what the Church teaches about marriage. This week I’d like to reflect on what makes a good marriage. Michael and I will be married nine years come August, so I’m no means an expert, but I am going to share some of the things that work for us.

1. Praying together. Father Patrick Peyton used to say that “the family that prays together, stays together.” He was referring specifically about the rosary – and we should pray the rosary with our families – but we certainly can and should pray in other ways too. Like going to mass together each week, praying the scriptures, or other vocal prayers. The quickest and easiest way to have a happy and lasting marriage is to put God at the center.

2. Praying for each other. During our personal prayer we should remember to pray for our husbands. We also shouldn’t be afraid to ask them to pray for us!

3. Communication. We all know that good communication is essential in any relationship, especially marriage. It is important to make time to talk to each other about the “big” stuff: finances, our children, our dreams, etc. It is also important to communicate the “little” things as well, such as a change in schedule or plans. Finding a system that allows you and your husband to stay on the same page will go along way in avoiding misunderstandings and bickering.

Let me just say here that Michael and I are both introverts and I have a definite tendency to hold things in. We have to make the extra effort to communicate and it’s not always easy. However, that effort is so worth it and it makes a huge difference in our relationship!

4. Forgiveness. Stuff happens. Our husbands can (and probably will) hurt us, either intentionally or not and either in a big way or not. And we can (and probably will) hurt them at times. And sometimes a lot of little hurts (whether real or imagined) can fester and add up to a huge thing. The best thing is to clear the air right away and not let the little things get big. We have to pray and we have to let go. We have to make the choice to forgive.

5. Time. The greatest thing we can give someone we love is the gift of time. I know finding time can be so hard. Believe me. Michael took me out on at date last Saturday and it was the first date we’ve had in about a year! While out, we decided that we are going to make a point of going on a date at least once a month, even if it just means taking a ride for 30 minutes. We find time for what is important to us, so make the time to be together alone as a couple – if only for 5 minutes!

As an aside, if you are having trouble with time management, I highly recommend Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews. (That’s an affiliate link posted on my review.)

6. Acceptance. Many people, either consciously or unconsciously, go into a marriage hoping to change something (or somethings) about their other half. The truth is you can’t and if you try, it can cause bitterness in your marriage, either within yourself or your spouse. It’s not our job to change our husbands, it’s God’s. We need to accept our spouse and love him unconditionally, with God’s grace.

With me, it was money. I am a minimalist. I don’t spend money lightly and like my life and surroundings as simple as can be. Michael, well, he likes to spend. He was a bit of a big spender before we got married and it caused some problems for us when we did get married. I was handling the bills at the time and I remember I would get so angry when he spend money, especially when he would forget to tell me about it. I started getting resentful and bitter toward him. Thankfully, during prayer, God convicted me in prayer and realized that I am the one who needed to change. Michael agreed to take over the bills and we discovered Financial Peace University. It made a big difference in my attitude and I let go of trying to form Michael into my ideal. (And, ironically, he has cut his spending tremendously and able to appreciate my frugality!)

7. Enjoy your marriage! Don’t take yourself or your marriage too seriously. In the midst of all your responsibilities do try to have fun! You married your spouse for a reason, so keep those wonderful qualities your spouse possesses forefront in your mind and heart.

Your turn. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. What qualities do you think makes a good marriage?

(Linked to 7QT.)

Comments

  1. Fantastic list!
    I think we often forget to pray for each other, or even ask if there is something they’d like you to pray on their behalf.

    Also, avoiding discussions for fear of hurting the other person can lead to more problems in the long run.

    Finally, failing to see the good in your spouse when their faults seem to be blinding you leads to problems as well.

    Ultimately, you can only change yourself and leave your spouse to God.
    Laura O in AK…recently posted…The Priest and the PeachesMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Good points, Laura. Avoiding difficult conversations absolutely do hurt more in the long run, but many couples want to avoid confrontation. I know I’ve done this way too many times.

      Thanks for the reminder to see the good in your spouse. When you live with someone for a long time it can be so easy to see the faults!

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