Just married couple, holding hands and walking in nature

10 secrets to a successful marriage (Article)

By Mitch Temple

Successful couples are savvy. They read books, attend seminars, browse Web articles and observe other successful couples. However, successful couples will tell you that they also learn by experience – trial and error.

Here are 10 principles of success I have learned from working with and observing hundreds of couples:

Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life pulls it away.

Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don’t know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.

If you do what you always do, you will get same result. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.

Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.

Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.

The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth – i.e. someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.

You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope – almost impossible. Often, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.

Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the “feel good side of marriage.” Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple’s vows of commitment: “For better or for worse” – when it feels good and when it doesn’t.

Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges, bringing up the past and remembering that they married an imperfect person – and so did their spouse.

A crisis doesn’t mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm you have to keep driving. A crisis can be a new beginning. It’s out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.

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Uncovering secrets to a happy marriage (Audio)

Best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn offers insights from research she’s conducted on what makes for a happier, more fulfilling marriage. She also outlines practical ways to develop a more Christ-like relationship with your spouse.


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cherishwife

Cherish your wife (Audio)

What does it mean to cherish your wife? Get some fresh insight about that on this 2 part broadcast as Doctor Walt Larimore explains God’s creation of Adam and Eve, and the male-and-female differences revealed in the book of Genesis. Seeing your wife through God’s eyes.

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Trouble in paradise

Reclaiming hope (Audio)

Tragically, one in every four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. And Christians aren’t excluded. On this 2 part broadcast, Counselor Leslie Vernick offers hope and practical help to women who feel trapped in destructive relationships. Discover how you can break free from emotional and physical violence.


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Couple giving two young children piggyback rides smiling

Maximising everyday moments (Article)

by Dr. Greg Smalley

It takes time together to keep a relationship strong and vibrant. We all “get” that marriage doesn’t have cruise control or an autopilot setting. The problem with most marriages isn’t that we don’t know we should spend time together; the problem is that we’re too busy.

Fortunately, the solution is simple. Instead of waiting for long, uninterrupted blocks of time to strengthen your marriage, take advantage of key moments that happen every day. I call this “maximizing everyday relationship moments.” Let me describe a couple of these potential moments:

Saying goodbye and hello
. On a typical day, one or both of you will leave the house in the morning. How you say goodbye to your spouse can strengthen your marriage. The key is to kiss your spouse before he or she leaves the house. I’m not talking about a pathetic kiss where you lean forward and barely graze your spouse’s lips. I’m talking about a real, five-second kiss! You’re not adding anything new to your busy plate; you’re just taking advantage of a moment that will happen anyway.

How do you greet your spouse when he or she arrives home at the end of the day? The key to maximizing this moment is to use attention, excitement and affection. Walk over, give your spouse a kiss and say, “Welcome home. I’m glad you’re back.” This sets a positive tone for the rest of your evening together.

Saying good night. There are at least two unique opportunities to strengthen your marriage when you say good night. The first is to express gratitude. Thank your spouse for something specific: “Thanks for being a great provider” or “Thanks for washing the dishes.” The other opportunity is to pray together. Imagine how strong your marriage could be if the last thing your spouse heard before falling asleep was you praying for him or her.

For more on strengthening your marriage, read Take the Date Night Challenge: 52 creative ideas to make your marriage fun.

This article appeared in the February/March 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine and was titled “Maximizing Everyday Moments.” Copyright © 2015 Focus on the Family. ThrivingFamily.com.

kidcentered

The kid centered home (Audio)

You feel like a cook, maid and taxi driver. Your kids sleep in your bed more than you do. And your idea of a date night is watching your kids run around a fast food playground. You have a kid-centered home. Pastor Ted Cunningham shares how you can restore balance to your home by concentrating on your marriage.


Navigating the Common Challenges of Marriage

Audio Broadcasts

Before you got married, you agreed upon the “big” things. But now that you’re married, little things bug you – stuff like chores and work schedules. Want to stop the petty disagreements? Dr. Gary Chapman gives practical advice to help you tackle those daily challenges as a team — with love at the forefront.

Click on the button below to play the audio broadcast.

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Marriage 1 minute broadcasts

Focus on the Family Africa produce a “Focus Minute” broadcast which gives some really great ideas, advice and encouragement to families in marriage, parenting and daily life.

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Audio : Bulk up your heart
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Audio : Ordinary Days
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Audio : Depression in men
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