Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

4 Keys to a Closer Marriage

39 Comments

Commitment to investing in our marriages yields a great reward, the sweet companionship of a life-long partner who is our best friend.

Dad’s love for his wife Carole was not the kind people stand in lines to see on the big screen, but it was real nevertheless. Real love took coffee to his wife in bed every morning. Real love did the laundry and grocery shopping. Real love took Carole to the hospital and cared for her when she got too sick to care for herself.

“You never realize how strong the bond with your mate is until that person is gone.”

That’s what Dad said when he lost his wife of 30 years, and hearing it made both my husband and I gulp hard.

Do we really value the marriage bond we share?

Taking each other for granted is easy when you slide into the routines of life: breakfast on the table at 7:30, a quick hug when he leaves the house, a peck on the cheek when he gets back, dinner, dishes, and wrestling the kids to bed.

Before you know it you’re hardly talking.

But God has something better in mind for our marriages:

Commitment to marriage. God intends for marriage relationships to be marked by oneness.

God intends for us to have marriage relationships marked by oneness. It takes a constant investment of time and energy for two separate people to grow close enough together to become one.

Let’s look at 4 keys to a closer marriage

Communication

Sometimes I struggle to put down what I’m doing to give my husband undivided attention. I bet you do too. But when you think about it, what could be more important than investing in your most significant relationship? A daily decision to focus on being attentive to your mate creates closeness over the months and years.

Setting aside special times to talk might look different for each marriage. Find what works for you. In her post “The Magic Five Hours for a Successful Marriage” Modern Mrs. Darcy writes about marriage researcher John Gottman’s  suggestion to come together for a 20 minute chat to debrief at the end of the day. Jose and I try to stay committed to a weekly date time. When we’re having trouble finding time to talk, we know that date time is coming up.

Prayer

Coming together to pray to the One who put us together strengthens the tie that holds us together.

My husband and I struggled for years to pray together consistently. Finally in our 14th year of marriage, we attended a Navigator’s Prayer Retreat for Couples. God convicted us of our need to make spiritual oneness a daily priority, so we started praying for 5 or 10 minutes at the start of each day. We’ve noticed that even 5 minutes a day contribute to our spiritual oneness.

Sex

This Texas woman is way too shy to say much about it, but I’ll never forget what my mentor said at my bridal shower 20 years ago. Older women were giving marriage advice, and hers was this: “Have lots of sex!” She said it right out loud right in front of everyone, and I about died.

She’s a wise woman. Sex builds intimacy, relieves stress, and even comforts the discouraged. (Now I’ve said more than I ever dreamed I would.)

Physical touch

Do you ever notice how the simple act of holding hands creates an instant bond? After reading an article about it, I’ve been reaching for my husband’s hand more often. Many experts attest to the importance of beginning and ending the day with a hug and a kiss. Physical contact feeds closeness.

Commitment to invest in our marriages yields a great reward, the sweet companionship of a life-long partner who is our best friend.

Busy work schedules and the demands of parenting can wear away at our communication, undermine our commitment to prayer, and lessen our desire for physical intimacy. But a commitment to investing in our marriages yields a great reward: the sweet companionship of a life-long partner who is our best friend.

Now it’s your turn: How long have you been married? What has helped you to grow closer to your spouse?

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Linking up today with these communities to encourage and be encouraged: Holly Barrett’s #Testimony Tuesday,  Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup,  Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory, and Kaylene Yoder with Grace & Truth.

photo credit: Tela Chhe, Creative Commons

 

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

39 thoughts on “4 Keys to a Closer Marriage

  1. Great post – and great reminders to cherish our spouse while we still have them, because you never know what life has in store. These are all great points for staying close and continuing to cultivate the relationship. Something that’s often hard to take time for as we roll through our busy lives.

    • Yes, Kathryn, ever since my Dad’s wife died, my husband and I have been thinking we’d better appreciate each other while we can! You never know. My step-mother was 73, not young, but certainly you’d never expect your husband or wife to die at that age.

  2. Good advice, Betsy! Next Wednesday will be my 21st wedding anniversary, and I love spending time with my hubby so much. We get so busy, and sometimes our time together is the last thing on the list. You are right, that needs to be a priority! Blessings, friend:)

  3. Thank you for these helpful reminders, wise and simple words x four is a great number – I can remember them!

  4. My husband and I have been married for ten years. It is so easy to get caught up in every day life, that we don’t have time to spend together. My husband and I work hard to make time happen for just the two of us. Great post. Thanks.

  5. Betsy, beautiful post! I know we need to work on praying more together – thanks for the encouragement today! Kim Stewart
    http://www.kimstewartinspired.com

  6. Betsy, I love this! Very good, sound advice for us. Marriage takes attention. I can’t count the number of times I put it on the back burner when my kids were toddlers. But after hours together in the hospital room when my youngest was diagnosed with leukemia, I remembered how much I liked BEING with my husband. Now we try to make more time for each other in regular life, and it’s so much fun! Thanks for your words of encouragement, because in this busy society we all need these reminders. It’s so easy to let the important things slip away!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Jennie. It IS so easy to put our marriage on the back burner. A crisis does draw us together. That’s great that you make time for eachother and have fun. How is your youngest one doing now? Is he okay?

  7. Right on, my dear friend. So true and I need to hear it often. Busyness robs those essentials.
    Love and blessings,
    Sandy

  8. It’s always a joy to stop in for a visit with you, Betsy, whether its #RaRaLinkUp or another. Gosh, I wish we could head to Starbucks and enjoy a hot cup of tea together. The chat would be enjoyable, I’m certain. But, until then…this was a wonderful post…again. Your godly wisdom nicely outlines specific examples pertaining to marriage, but I was drawn especially to the daily prayer comment. That is a prayer of mine that I hope will be answered soon. 🙂

    Btw, my hubby and I are heading toward our 21st anniversary.

    • Congratulations on 21 years, Kristi! How wonderful. I’m praying now for your prayer together with your husband. We struggle to be consistent, but we mostly hang in there. Sometimes during vacation weeks, we get off kilter. It’s three steps forward, two steps back!

  9. Betsy,
    One of the things that I enjoy the most is beginning and ending the day with prayer. At night we then hold each other’s hand until we fall asleep. Thanks for an encouraging reminder.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  10. I love this – thank you 🙂 As a recently married wife I am trying to soak up marriage advice like a sponge! These points are all really helpful. Finding that time to pray together is so important, but has been very hard for us to do with his commute to work – but the 5 or 10 minutes a day is a good idea 🙂 Thank you for your honesty Betsy 🙂

    • Blessings on your marriage, Ruth! The newly-wed stage can be fun AND HARD! Hang in there. We find it simpler to set aside 5 or 10 minutes and actually DO it, than to make an ambitious plan that we can’t carry through with! May you enjoy your first years of married life!

      • Thanks Betsy! Yeah, we need to avoid those ambitious plans or we’d be forever planning and never doing! Thank you for your encouragement!

  11. Betsy, this was a joy to read. I am always looking for ways to build in to my marriage more and this speaks right to it. I celebrate these points and look forward to embracing many of them. Thank you dear Betsy. Love that you are a valuable part of the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    • Thanks, Kelly. We’re all looking for ways to build up our marriage because we all need it! I wrote this to myself, too. I’m always struck by how better marriages are something EVERYONE’s concerned about!

  12. Lord, thank you for Betsy. Thank you for who you made her to be. I pray you bless all she does today. That you multiply her efforts, that you prepare her heart to be loved and that you help her endure all things. May she feel overwhelmed by you.

  13. Great reminders Betsy! Why is it that praying with your spouse is so hard? I had the same issue for a while and once I got past it and we started praying together it truly did make a difference. Thanks!

    Hugs & Blessings,
    Monica

  14. What a lovely post, and some of the comments are so sweet. I was especially touched by the lady who wrote that she and her husband hold hands every night going to sleep.

  15. Betsy,
    This is GREAT! And I love how you just came out and said that stuff about “you know what”!!! It really is true! I was laughing out loud there! God is growing a boldness in me on the subject. He wants to use me to say way more than IIII ever dreamed, too! (Like an entire BOOK!) Thanks for these wonderful tips! Found you over at #TellHisStory!! 🙂 Nice linking up!

  16. What a great post, Betsy! Such wonderful advice. We’ve been married 36 years, but we are just now learning how important those daily prayers are and how sweet it is to start and end the day with a snuggle and a hug. And I hear you about being uncomfortable about the subject of sex! Especially coming off a whole month of the topic on our blog. I never in my life imagined using “naked” and “husband seeing me” in the same sentence in front of the whole world! Our weekly Couple Connect time makes such a difference in keeping the communication lines open and working through decisions and issues that arise. One thing is for sure–we can never stop learning about ways to improve our marriage! God always has something new to show us. Your words are a true blessing for all of us wives! Thanks, Betsy. Love you!

  17. You’ve certainly hit on the four areas I have the hardest time with in my marriage, Betsy. It’s a constant struggle to find the balance and keep it going…mostly it seems we teeter totter back and forth. I know communication is the key to it all…when I feel loved and appreciated, I’m more apt to reciprocate. Thank you for your wisdom here…always. And my husband would certainly agree with sex and physical touch…and your words are duly noted. 😉 Love you!

  18. I really appreciated this post! Having just walked through a very tough time in my marriage, I can tell you that you’re right on with these 4 important keys to building a stronger marriage! Thank you for linking up with us at Grace & Truth! I’m looking forward to reading more from you in weeks ahead! 🙂

  19. Pingback: Keys to a Closer Marriage + Grace & Truth {Week 9} | Satisfaction Through Christ

  20. Great words, here! Oh, how we need to work on these in my marriage. It’s a good one–but I would love more oneness with my man.

  21. I love this Betsy! I can not imagine not having my husband as my best friend, even on the hardest of days. I love him so much and even more so I know he is in my corner and a great supporter of anything God leads me to do! I am praying for you and your marriage right now! May it grown stronger than ever through Jesus Christ!

  22. What?! You don’t like to talk about the S word?!? Somehow I’m not surprised, but I love what you did say – it was on point and just enough! I would talk about it more except my mother reads my blog so that’s weird.
    Jim has lots of words and I don’t have many. So he comes to me throughout the day to tell me who he just spoke with on the phone or the next project up his sleeve (did I mention he works at home…) so I have to work to stop what I’m doing and make eye contact quite frequently. That’s a challenge, but I’ve been working at being more INTENTIONAL since that’s my word for the year.
    Let’s say I have been challenged!
    Great post, Betsy, sound wisdom! 🙂 Tweeted, pinned, scheduled to share, love ya!

    • Your mom’s reading your blog does change this, doesn’t it? That’s so sweet. I actually sent this to my dad, for him to approve, so that was a little weird…:-) I know what you mean about having a husband who works at home. Mine does too, and it can be a challenge, also with high schoolers who home school. (Well, my introverted one is now the only one at ho me.) When I’m desperate, I’ll announce, I’m going to be writing, so unless the house is burning down, please give me 30 minutes of time alone!

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