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9 keys to a healthier marriage

By Christian Healthcare Ministries
tips for a healthy marriage. CHM

Experiencing a strong, vibrant, and healthy marriage doesn’t stop with your marriage vows. The commitment you made to each other on your wedding day goes further than a one-time promise. Continuing to learn about the other person while discovering new ways to love and appreciate them adds joy and excitement.

Even when things are going well, it’s important to continue working on your relationship.

Marriage is an opportunity to minister to your spouse. When you focus on walking out your role to love, respect, and care for them, you’re better equipped to parent your children and minister to others. When we prioritize and take care of our marriage relationship, other areas and relationships can grow.

Marriage is ministry

Strong marriages are a reflection of God’s love for the world. It identifies us as disciples of Jesus. John 13:34-35, NIV says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus demonstrated how to love others by humbly serving them. True love stems from a servant’s heart.

Happy couples share their gifts and offer selfless, sacrificial love to one another. They stay close to each other and close to God – through good times and bad. It’s not easy, but following these marriage fundamentals will help.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

– Ephesians 5:1-2 [NKJV]

What makes a strong marriage

Certain relationship principles help support lasting marriages. Here are some keys for a healthy marriage:

  1. Start with yourself. When differences and disagreements persist, it’s easy to focus on what your spouse is doing to contribute to the problem. However, it’s important to remember that every marriage consists of two flawed humans. It takes courage to assess your own weaknesses first.

    Taking responsibility for what you can change—yourself—is essential for a growing, healthy marriage. If there’s an uncomfortable grain of truth in your spouse’s complaints, being willing to make a change can encourage your spouse and build trust.

  2. Pray together. Prayer is powerful. Regardless of whether you’re feeling happy and joyful, or angry and resentful, praying together connects you and your spouse while changing your hearts.

    If you haven’t already started, talk to your spouse about making prayer a habit. Life gets busy, priorities shift, and prayer will keep God at the helm of your life and your marriage. His guidance and love will bring stability and comfort.

  3. Communicate often, clearly, and respectfully. Open communication allows you and your spouse to share needs, desires, and concerns. Assumptions or unspoken expectations can lead to hurt, disappointment, offense, and resentment. Speak up often and quickly, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Clearing the air can help you find a way forward.

    Additionally, how you communicate can be more important than what you say. Be respectful and clear. When your spouse understands that you care about communicating with integrity, what you have to share will be easier to hear.

  4. Forgive easilyAs with any relationship, forgiveness in marriage is vital. When you feel hurt, slighted, or angry, talk it out before resentment builds.

    If it’s a small annoyance, perhaps it’s something to let go. If it’s a bigger offense, try to learn more about the context, calmly state your concern, and listen closely to their response. Allow your spouse to share their perspective without interrupting or getting defensive. Avoid drama, finger-pointing, or accusation. Keep an open mind, listen to understand, resolve to improve, apologize sincerely, and communicate honestly to ease tension and build connection.

  5. Be patient. Building strong marriages takes time as you get to know each other. Be patient with your spouse and yourself. If one approach doesn’t work, talk with your spouse about exploring another. Take the time needed to really listen to your spouse and allow them to process and share thoughts without quick judgements.

    Give and receive grace for each other’s faults and shortcomings. Despite setbacks, if you’re both giving it your best, God sees your heart and will bless your dedication.

  6. Practice thankfulness. Focus on what’s right with your spouse and thank them for it. By noticing and appreciating the little things they do, it will help improve your attitude and outlook, including the overall atmosphere of your relationship and home.

    Begin small and pay attention to the difference of practicing gratitude. Rather than entertaining gossip or chronic complaining, criticism, and nitpicking, try prioritizing thankfulness.

  7. Remember, it’s not always personal. Everyone has bad days, vulnerable spots, and times when words are carelessly spoken. Give your spouse space to unwind.

    Providing your spouse with the ability to express frustrations without being personally offended by emotions can strengthen your relationship. Oftentimes, the challenges of everyday life don’t have anything to do with you. When your spouse has had a bad day, it’s an opportunity to minister to them by being a safe place for them to land.

  8. Stay active in a Christian community. Participating in regularChristian fellowship with friends, family, and church members strengthens your faith and provides support. During seasons of change, growth, or challenge, God-fearing friendships are those we can rely on.

    Biblical community can offer prayer, help, and encouragement just when we need it most. It also provides us with a sense of belonging and the knowledge that we’re not alone in the difficulties of life.

  9. Enjoy each other and have fun! In theday-to-day responsibilities and stresses, don’t forget to have fun and laugh together. Prioritize just spending time with each other.  

    Suggest ideas for a date night—like trying a new restaurant, taking a class, or participating in an activity—and take the initiative to make a plan. Create memories. Share inside jokes. Watch comedies. Laughter relieves stress and strengthens bonds!

When marriage stress gets out of hand, ask for help

Despite good intentions, chronic or escalating conflict may require compassionate and objective Christian marriage counseling. Don’t bury unresolved resentments or try to “white-knuckle it.” A professional counselor can offer an outside perspective, personalized support, guidance, and tools.

If you’re in an abusive relationship or have serious problems – such as addiction or affairs – it’s especially important to seek professional help right away.

Living healthily ever after

Marriage is and can be a beautiful reflection of God’s unfailing love for us, His church. Start by applying 1-2 of the keys in areas where you’re seeking growth, and commit to working on your relationship with your spouse.

Begin viewing your relationship with your spouse as ministry—one that allows you to share and reflect God’s love while empowering you to be better equipped to minister to others around you.

Christian Healthcare Ministries

One stressor in marriage can be finances and financial decisions. Medical bill costs can be an unexpected stressor and a significant source of debt.

Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is the original health cost sharing ministry designed to come alongside you to help lift the burden of eligible medical expenses. It’s Christians helping Christians with each other’s healthcare costs!

Don’t be left out!

Sign up to receive our exclusive Building a Better Marriage course, full of fun questions to ask your spouse and a special video series.

Christian Healthcare Ministries
Christian Healthcare Ministries and its members help carry the load for their brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting the spiritual values outlined in Galatians 6:2.