Every year, promises are made for the betterment of lives. People promise themselves everything from weight loss, job promotions, better health, quit smoking, quit eating sweets and a host of other promises for each area of life, but how many people are going to resolve to have a stronger, better marriage?

Please understand that just because you spend time improving your marriage, does not mean you have a bad marriage, it means you want to have a better one.

Too many people see others reading a book on marriage and assume they are having trouble, that is not always the case. There are some who want to improve their marriage each day so they can have the marriage God intended – one which serves each other and glorifies Him!

Many present-day marriages seem to struggle because people are spending more time planning the wedding than planning the marriage. Our society blasts the pictures of “fairy tale” weddings to our girls from the moment they can play house. Everything from music, the internet, advertising, and television informs our young ladies they need to have the biggest, longest and prettiest dress in town or their wedding will not bring the promised blessing of a beautiful wedding. Along with the dress, there must be a buffet of steak, lobster, and salmon, with at least 500 guests or the wedding cannot work. These images are destined to bring problems into marriages because the focus is on the one-day event, not the lifetime commitment.

I mean, have you seen the “Say Yes to the Dress” and the other shows? Crazy!

The thoughts go both ways as well. While many times the wedding is a lady thing, the honeymoon is usually thought of as a guy thing. Pictures of the honeymoon of a lifetime, with much chandelier swinging and never leaving the room, fill the stories and dreams of men as they approach their wedding. (Yes, ladies, it is what men dream of.)

Trust me, I am no marriage guru, but I would like to offer you a couple “Tips to Improve your Marriage” along with several of my favorite books on marriage. I hope you will seek to strengthen your marriage this year.

Tips to Improve Your Marriage:

Schedule Time for Each Other –In the midst of a hurried and mobile society it may seem like an exaggeration to schedule time for your marriage, but consider it for a moment. Many of us are so highly involved in our careers, our children’s school, church activities, coaching sports teams, working out, running and reading we might not have time for our marriages. Well, it is time to make time. Schedule a date night with your spouse or even some time to grab a cup of coffee. Make Time!

Pray for Each Other – You might already do this, but evaluate your prayer life. Stop praying about how God should change your spouse for your benefit and pray that God will change you both for His benefit! Do not pray about your spouse, pray for your spouse.

Stop Using the Word “I” – Try an experiment, when you are discussing your marriage, stop using the word “I.” (You may only use the word “I” when you are describing the mistake or fault you have.) Instead of “I” use the word “we”.” This simple change creates an encouragement and unity to build your marriage. Be sure when you use the word, “we” you are actually taking action together.

Have a Devotional Together – A devotional does not have to be a theological discussion of the variants of the Greek text; it may be a time where you read a passage and discuss what it means in your relationship. I have listed some marriage devotional books below. Give them a try and see how you can grow.

As I give these tips, I leave out the things I take for granted:

Telling your spouse you love them

Hugging and kissing your spouse

Going to worship with your spouse

and many more.

I give these tips in addition to what you do as a couple. Finding time and using that time to grow closer together is a quality many couples talk about, but they are only done when the bottom begins to fall out. Commit today to strengthen your marriage!

Here are some of my favorite books on marriage, outside of the Bible of course.

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Just my thoughts,

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