A strong marriage may seem simple and easy from the outside looking in, but in reality, there are many factors that must work together in harmony to create a stable, lasting marriage. It’s complex, yet so simple–but each element is essential for your relationship to thrive. In this post, we’ll explore 5 important layers of a good marriage: characteristics that will carry you and your spouse through many happy, fulfilled decades together.
A critical element of any successful marriage is the foundation of a solid friendship between you and your husband or wife. Becoming friends with your spouse before (and after!) you begin dating will give you a deeper understanding of him or her as a person. Not only will you have a well-rounded acquaintance with your spouse beyond the romantic relationship; you will have a greater ability to view him or her objectively.
Friendship strips away the illusions and expectations that can come with dating strangers, replacing them with a deeper authenticity and an enhanced ability to be vulnerable and real together. It implies that, once married, you’ll seek one another for companionship–and that you can be each other’s confidante. And while it’s healthy and good to have friendships outside of your marriage, you’ll have the security of knowing who you can turn to first.
The bond that spouses forge as friends is an invaluable anchor for the marriage relationship.
Sometimes we face challenges as we move into new phases in life (like becoming a newlywed) that might make us feel unsafe or insecure. This kind of insecurity is a very normal, natural part of transitioning into being a married couple. It’s important to recognize and identify factors early on that cause you to feel vulnerable, and discuss them with one another. Opening up and sharing your fears will help the two of you overcome them.
In order to be truly connected to one another, you and your spouse must both feel safe in your relationship. Emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual safety are all essential to a thriving marriage. If any aspect of safety is threatened, so is the very essence of the person.
When you perpetually lack safety in your marriage, you will both wither.
If you are experiencing abuse in your relationship, that is absolutely not normal. If your spouse is a danger to your safety (not just physical!), seek help and do not remain silent. With the assistance of a trusted counselor and a support system, you are capable of bringing balance and safety back into your life.
When you and your spouse share a deep-rooted faith, you’ll have a far greater ability to weather any storms that you face. The ability to pray, worship, and lead your family together in God’s path is yet another binding tie that will strengthen your marriage continually over time.
Faith will carry you through difficult times; it will persevere through seasons of waiting and silence, and it will burst with joy when prayers are answered with blessings.
Faith will multiply your capacity to love, die to self, forgive, give generously, and serve. You and your spouse will help one another remember that there is a divine Creator who is in control, and that He is the one who has the power to hold your relationship and your family together, even when the outside world seems to be falling apart. A shared, sincere faith will bind your hearts closer as you build your life.
What an amazing blessing to be able to experience sex with your spouse. You’re the only two people on earth who know one another at this level. And the layers of marriage leading up to this one (friendship, safety, and faith) make intimacy so much sweeter.
Friendship allows you to remove the barrier of artificial perfection and lets you be who you truly are with one another–a wonderful way to let your guard down for sex, especially as newlyweds. The layer of safety allows you to trust one another fully with your bodies for this very personal time together. And the layer of faith will serve as a constant reminder that your intimate moments are truly sacred, in every sense of the word.
Finally, the ability to laugh together and to have fun–silly, unbridled, inner-child FUN–with your spouse will help you to stay happy and fulfilled. You’ll be able to lift one another’s spirits, unravel tension during a difficult time, and exponentially enhance the good times if you know how to have fun together. A great sense of humor can defuse almost any tough situation, and if you can find something to laugh about together, you can take the edge off of many of life’s annoyances.
Incorporating fun into your marriage, your life, your family, and your intimate moments together will create memories that you’ll share for a lifetime.
A happy marriage is a multi-layered work of art, with many factors working together to make it so. Focus on each area with your spouse, strengthening your relationship, and you will reap the rewards many times over.