Column,  Family

9 steps to a happy marriage

By Dennis and Thammie Sy

We came back from a bridal shower of a friend and one of the highlights of the night was for us to give some advice to the soon-to-be couple. This is what we came up with that night, and we sum it up with the word H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S.

H- ave a clear vision for your marriage.

How do you want your marriage to look and be like?  Vision is the picture of your purpose as a couple. It is coming into this relationship with the goal of doing something that would benefit both of you and the others around you.  Early on in the marriage, we crafted our vision statement as a couple. We both decided that we want to be married friends until we are old. We have seen so many couples who grow old not having a thriving relationship. Because of that vision, we have implemented action steps to make it happen. Some of those steps we will share in this article.

A- ppreciate more than criticize.

The latter is easier to do, but the former feels better and actually yields much more results. And even when we criticize, we do it constructively and lovingly. Our appreciation level should be higher than our expectations of each other.

P- ray together.

The act of prayer is learning to look to God for strength and guidance more than looking to myself or my spouse for the solution. It is to acknowledge that to make a marriage work, I need divine help. It is re-centering the marriage on how God wants our marriage to be – selfless, sacrificial, and fulfilling.

P- ay attention to each other’s needs and desires.

Pay attention” is the key word here. We need to hear out what’s in the heart of my spouse. Most men find it harder to express their feelings, so wives need to know how to get into their husband’s heart so he can open his soul to his wife.

I – nspire your partner to dream big.

You have the incredible privilege of being your spouse’s number one fan; being the president of his/her fan club— with front row seats and VIP passes to all the great things that he/she will be doing! In the same breath, you also have the power to crush all those dreams. In which case, you both end up just watching from the bleachers. More than anyone in this world, you have the greatest capacity to influence and inspire your spouse. Spur each other on to do greater things.

N- ever stop trying out new things.

Having a routine and having responsibilities don’t have to be boring. It’s really up to both of you. Find creative ways to build your relationships by doing new things together like you used to when you were still dating and getting to know each other. It could be as simple as doing groceries together, going to the gym together, or making food trips as a couple.

E- njoy sex.

In the book Good Marriage, Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee emphasize the importance of sex:

“It is very important for all couples to find ways to protect their privacy, to cherish their sexual relationship, and to guard it fiercely. Richly rewarding and stable sex life is not just a fringe benefit, it is the central task of marriage. In a good marriage, sex and love are inseparable. Sex serves a very serious function in maintaining both the quality and stability of the relationship, replenishing emotional reserves, and strengthening the marital bond.”

S- erve each other.

You are in that marriage to serve and build up, not the other way around. The best marriages are made of two people serving each other’s needs. Put each other first, and you’ll realize the marriage of your dreams. Remember that for any relationship to succeed, we have to accept that it’s not all about us. More often than not, it’s about others.

S- avor every moment, even those that seem insignificant.

Marriage is one new union! Every moment together is a blessing and is made to be a joy. Don’t just let those moments pass you by. Find the joy in the smallest things. The little pleasures make up the greatest memories in marriage.

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