We must retrain our thinking and understanding of what marriage is and what its participants responsibilities are.
Our marriages should resemble the joint-heirship relationship between Christ and His Chruch.
Marriage is a power-filled union God uses to teach us how to love an imperfect person unconditionally. Often, over the course of marriage we lose sight of this. We lose sight that marriage is about learning from our partners; learning how to love more unconditionally; learning how to serve and give of our ourselves; learning how be become less focused on “my goals”, but focused on “our goals”; learning that everyday is a choice to grow into one-flesh with one agenda. When you are of one mind and one flesh your choices will only seek to benefit your union and not your individual selves; this is the example shown to us by Christ. While we are all still unique individuals, we are encouraged to become one with Christ as he is one with God the Father. We must learn how to choose love.
Follow Christ – Cliche? Maybe, but there is much truth in this. This means that when you are at odds with your spouse, don't attempt go into worship before God. Scripture teaches us first to reconcile. Learn to live out Biblical teachings as if your spouse was your brother or sister in the Lord. Often we treat others with more grace and mercy than our spouses.
Grow Together – Want to go back to school? Want to start a business? Want to take up a new hobby? Desiring a lifestyle change? Well, don't do it on your own. Remember, in a marriage you are one team, one entity, one flesh. It's okay to have individual interests and skills as long as they do not sabotage, threaten or otherwise go against the goals of your marriage.
Vacation – Taking time away from the rat race is vital for any married couple and well worth the investment. This does not mean you have to break the bank. A simple weekend getaway or a full day outing can sometimes do the trick. Spend this time reflecting, dreaming, praying and getting to know each other more.
Have Sex...Often – Physical intimacy is an important part of reinforcing your soul/spiritual tie to your spouse. The feelings and emotions experienced during sex not only encourages procreation, but it also gives a glimpse into the level of passion that our God loves us with. Love your spouse with the same pleasure and intensity.
Communicating Clearly – Women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Have you ever said “it's fine” when it wasn't. “I'll be home soon” when you have no idea when you'll be home. Perhaps you told your husband “I love you” or asked “can we cuddle” and he heard “let's have sex.” Maybe you told your wife “it's not that big of a deal” or “relax” and she heard “you're not important, I don't care.” It's important to say exactly what you mean and to only interpret what your spouse says in the context they say it in. If unsure, ask them to clarify or ask probing questions.
No Judgment – There are times your spouse will need to know that although you don't agree –you understand. Not just the head nodding understanding, but listening intently and offering positive affirming feedback. Avoid saying things like “whatever,” “you always,” “you make me.” Practice more of “tell me more,” “I'm here for you,” “I like it when you.” Everyone needs to know what thy are thinking and experiencing matters and merits attention.
Gender Appropriate – The wife will deal with females, and the husband will deal with males. While this may not always be possible, having this as a rule of thumb serves as a protection from outside invaders. You may also make up your own rules.
Sacrifice Yourself – Relationships are 50/50...right? No, sometimes they are 100/0, 75/25...and sometimes 50/50. Whatever is needed to maintain a healthy relationship is the amount you should give. When your partner needs encouragement and support, or if there is a need in the family/marriage that you can contribute, run to fill this need. You are a shareholder a co-owner of your marriage.
Touch, Touch, Touch – Holding hands, caressing, hugging, kissing, sitting closely, silent eye contact, playing footsie, cuddling and other forms of intentional touching should be practiced every day. This type of touching communicates and affirms that the person is needed, wanted and desired; it is a type of validation touching
Choose To Love - When Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane knowing the peril to come he uttered “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” The very next verse in Luke tells us that an angel came to strengthen him. This is an illustration of how we, though facing difficulties, ought to choose love. You may not feel the physical feeling attributed to love, but that does not discount its power. Choose to love and apply it to your marriage in order to see its power.