I’ve learned a few things over the last 11 years of marriage. And one of the most important is that in order to thrive in your marriage, there are daily choices that need to be made. I don’t take for granted that I have a fulfilling, happy and amazing relationship with my husband. Is everything perfect? Of course not. But everything is perfect for us and our relationship.
We’ve seen a lot of marriages fail in the almost eleven years that we’ve been married. And every time we hear of another, it leads us to dialogue about our own marriage. We bring the focus and conversation to our own marriage to figure out how we always stay far away from that narrative.
I’ve talked about how we’ve had to grow up in our marriage, how we’ve learned to have a happy marriage, how to reduce conflict in our marriage, and even things we needed to learn how to let go of in our marriage. Through our highs and plateaus (cause I don’t speak life into “lows”), we’ve learned that our marriage is built on choices.
Here are the 5 choices I’m encouraging you to also make in order to thrive in your marriage daily:
1. Choose Love
When things don’t go according to plan, when you get hurt by the one who’s supposed to protect you, choose love. 1 Corinthians 13:13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Choosing love doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt or upset. It just means you choose to not to return hurt with more hurt.
2. Choose Respect
Respect proves that above all: differences, opinions, values – that you honor your spouse and their dignity as a person. No matter how strong we may feel about something, we’ve had to learn to de-escalate so as not to turn fear or anger into disrespect.
3. Choose Faith
I mentioned we’ve seen many marriages fall apart, or others that are struggling. But no matter what, we choose faith. We choose faith in our relationship, in our marriage, and in our relationship with God. We choose to have faith that no matter what the reports say about marriages struggling to survive, that we will choose to believe that we are the “exception to the rule”.
4. Choose Happiness
Contrary to popular belief, you are in control of your happiness. If you only read about negative relationships or don’t have couples in your circle that exemplifies a happy and thriving marriage, it will negatively impact your own relationship. Choose to exude happiness, to surround yourself with happiness and to give happiness.
5. Choose Your Spouse
When you got married, you and your spouse formed a team. While my husband and I have had to learn over time exactly what that meant, we now understand that we choose each other – always. No matter what goes on personally or professionally, I make sure I discuss it with my husband. I understand that decisions I make can impact him in some way. When it comes to kids, friends, family, my husband and I have to keep a united front. I have his back and he has mine.
You’ve chosen to get married. Now, choose to stay in your marriage, to fight for your marriage, and make the decision today to choose love, respect, faith, happiness and your spouse at all times.
What marriage choices do you make daily to make sure you and your spouse stay connected and maintain a thriving marriage?
This post was originally written for BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com.