5 Habits of Effective Marriages
It was in the midst of one of those ineffective, unhealthy cycles in our marriage when I finally decided the craziness was not worth it, and I was willing to do whatever it took to build a healthy marriage. So I began to investigate what made marriages healthy, what practices were couples doing that helped their marriages, and how couples make it through years of marriage together enjoying their marriage?
Here is what I noticed:
Habit #1: “We over me” thinking. One habit I noticed rather quickly from couples was a team mentality. Regardless of family dynamics within the home, these couples worked as a team. I saw this in couples where a wife was a stay at home mom and in couples where the husband and wife both worked full time careers outside of the home. The roles and responsibilities didn’t make or break the marriage, the mentality of “we over me” did. These couples worked together for the good of the marriage, not just for their own good. These couples sacrificed self gain for growth together with each other. They served each other selflessly instead of seeking selfish gain from their spouse.
Habit #2: They’re friends first. Healthy marriages are built off of many traits, but the foundation of each marriage I watched began with a solid friendship. These couples laughed together, spent time doing activities together, shared their lives with each other and genuinely enjoyed their spouse. They each independently had different interests and friends, but when they came together they enjoyed time together, made memories together and laughed with one another. It’s hard to build a healthy marriage with someone you don’t enjoy, so being able to enjoy each other, regardless of our quirks and differences goes a long way in building a lasting marriage.
Habit #3: They communicate for understanding. Every marriage struggles to some degree in the area of communication because we are different people, with different communication styles, different frame of references and different viewpoints. But one habit of the marriages I encountered was that even in their communication, each spouse sought to understand the other. Communication wasn’t used as a tool for manipulation or to garner control or overpower their partner and prove a point. When conflict would arise, they each sought to understand the point their partner was trying to communicate, they gave the benefit of the doubt, and they each sought resolution instead of proving a point.
Habit #4: They build a tribe. Whether it was cards with friends on Friday night, a Wednesday evening church choir club, or a long standing movie night tradition, so many of the couples I’ve watched who have thriving marriages had a tribe of friends in their lives who spoke life into them and into their marriages. Not simply drinking buddies or co-workers, but healthy friendships that sought to build them up individually and as a couple. How important it is to live in a healthy community, where you know you’re not the only one struggling through the trials of life and have a support system when things go awry.
Habit #5: They didn’t stop having sex. It’s so interesting, particularly in the church culture, how little we talk about sex in marriage. Marriage is exactly where we should be talking about and practicing sex! The world screams to us all the time about sex outside of marriage, and yet the trend is that once peopel get married they stop talking about or having sex, when God designed it to be the opposite. Sex is designed by God to unite and unify a husband and wife, and if we want to have healthy, effective marriages, sex plays a huge role in that process.
Christian couples, in particular, ought to be having the very best sex lives, because within the safety and security of marriage we are free to express our sexuality safely. Couples who keep thriving and growing in their marriage know that the relationship changes through the years, intimacy alters and adapts, but regardless of the season of life they are in they make room for sexuality and intimacy in their marriage, they guard it and they enjoy it with their spouse.
Are there more habits and qualities that make healthy marriages, absolutely. This list is hardly exhaustive. And if you haven’t noticed, I never even brought up the issue of spirituality and the binding agent that it can play into a healthy marriage. But don’t be deceived––just because a man and a woman are Christians, doesn’t mean they’ll have a good marriage. Likewise, I know some amazing couples who have phenomenal marriages and they are not people of faith.
I didn’t include the role of faith in this article, not because it’s not important, but because I wanted to hit on the habits we build within our marriages that help us be intentional in thriving, and these habits can be built regardless of our spiritual beliefs. Add in the power of God to these habits and watch how incredible your marriage can become!
Wife Step: Choose one habit you need to work on in your marriage and begin implementing behaviors to add life to your marriage.
Natalia Drumm is a writer, speaker and teacher with a passion for building community and engaging women in the Word of God. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they are raising three little boys in their home town of North Port, FL. Natalia and her husband serve in their local church as marriage small group leaders and life group coaches. They have a passion for healthy marriages as they have seen the restorative power of God in their own marriage and family.
Natalia is an assignment writer for Lifeway Women and serves as the Bible Study Content Editor at Living by Design Ministries. She also volunteers at Proverbs 31 Ministries on their proofreading team and leads a COMPEL Discovery Group. Natalia writes over at www.nataliadrumm.com where she creates devotional study books on issues relevant to womanhood and living in the fullness of God’s design for womanhood.
When not writing, or serving at church, Natalia spends her time running, reading and enjoying a good Netflix binge. She’s also not be one to turn down a cold Coke and hot chocolate chip cookie.