Habits, disciplines, and traditions are everything in a marriage. The regular patterns and behaviors of your relationship—the actions you take on a daily basis—will predict your future success.
Good habits don’t happen by accident. Research has shown that it takes around 60 days for a new behavior to rewire your brain, turning it into a new habit. It starts out unfamiliar and new. Two months later, it can become your default setting.
Marriages don’t succeed because of chemistry or good luck. They succeed because a husband and wife are willing to put in the time. Creating an emotionally healthy marriage takes work.
Here are the four habits of emotionally healthy couples:
1⃣ Praying together and trusting God. Early in our marriage, Karen and I prayed a little on our own, as individuals. But we didn’t pray together until around four years into our marriage. That changed everything. Making a habit of taking our worries and anxieties to God, together, brought peace to our marriage.
Today, we don’t worry. We don’t allow anxiety into our home. When it comes up, we hold hands and pray. Our list of worries becomes our prayer list. At night, we sit on the back porch and talk. If something comes up that makes us feel stressed, we give it to God. This should become a habit in your marriage.
2⃣ Resolving negative feelings daily. There’s nothing wrong with anger, as long as the anger is fleeting. That’s why Ephesians 4 says not to “let the sun go down” on anger. Today’s anger is part of life. But yesterday’s anger is deadly.
Every marriage gets angry, but a healthy marriage doesn’t let it fester. When something comes up, communicate about it. Get it out. Share what bothered you or what hurt your feelings. Listen and try to empathize. Process those emotions with your spouse and work to resolve them rather than dwell on them. Love stays when anger comes and goes.
3⃣ Having fun together and being best friends. You and your spouse fell in love having fun together. You dated. You talked. You laughed. You allowed each other into your world. Marriages start to go dry when that fun disappears. Take sex and fun away from a marriage and you have a business relationship.
Date nights are essential for healthy relationships. It means your kids aren’t going to dominate your lives. It keeps work and bills from sucking the fun out of your marriage. Even if you have to pack your own dinner or scrimp and save, find a way to get by yourselves on a regular basis so you can enjoy each other.
4⃣ Building close relationships with other believers. Finally, it’s important to cultivate individual relationships as well as relationships with other couples. Choose those friends wisely, because bad decisions run in packs. Couples who spend time with ungodly or immoral couples tend to end up with ungodly marriages.
Or in other words, if your friends don’t value their marriage, then you probably won’t value yours. Your friends are your future. You can love everyone with the love of Christ, but your closest relationships need to be the kind that build you up. You need the support of strong believers.
Healthy couples are people of prayer. They let go of negative feelings. They are each other’s best friends. And they are deeply connected with other Christians.
What habits do you need to pursue to improve the health of your marriage?
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today