Last week we talked about 4 reasons to invest in your marriage. Today, let’s talk about “investment strategies,” the things you and I can do that will “pay dividends” in terms of strong, healthy marriages. Although the list of investments we could make is long, I’ll just share the 6 strategies that have been on my mind this week. Then I’d love for you to share your favorite strategies in the Comments.
6 Investment Strategies for Strong, Healthy Marriages.
- Keep the lines of communication open and flowing. This seems almost too obvious to mention. But is it? Do we really communicate, or is it one of those things we know we should be doing? I admit this one is hard for me. I tend to keep things in my head, rather than putting them “out there” for discussion with my husband. Most of the time I don’t avoid discussing something on purpose – it just takes me a while to realize I need to talk about it. By then I’ve turned it around and inside out a dozen times, often making it into something that bears no resemblance to reality! So don’t be like me. Instead, establish regular, open communication as the default setting for your marriage. Ideally, set aside time to talk and listen to each other every day. Don’t use it as a gripe session, but as a time for both of you to share what’s in your heart and on your mind. Find a time that works for the two of you, and teach your children that this time is sacrosanct.
- Get your finances in order. While the previous strategy may have seemed too obvious, this one may not seem obvious at all. “Get your finances in order” sounds like a good idea, but is it a marriage investment strategy? I think it is. Money problems are a leading (some would say the leading) cause of stress in marriage. They can pit a husband and wife against each other and drive a wedge between them. So work together to avoid preventable money problems and to address the ones you can’t prevent. Check out resources like the ones created by Dave Ramsey, and use them to develop a financial management system that works for you.
- Establish a routine of enjoying time together. How often do you spend enjoyable time with your husband? In some families, the husband and wife are running so fast, they rarely slow down enough to enjoy each other. What needs to change in order for you and your husband to enjoy some time together? Is it simply a matter of scheduling it, or do you need to make significant changes, like controlling your family’s schedule ? If you haven’t established this routine as a couple, work together over the next few weeks to begin making it a habit. Take a look at these 21 ways to have fun with your spouse, or come up with your own list.
- Develop a common interest or hobby. One way to enjoy time together is to share an interest or hobby, something that gets you out of the day-to-day routine and allows you to have fun. It can be something you do at home or something that takes you out and about. For example, my husband and I have recently started riding bikes together. You can follow a sports team, hike, play tennis, search for antiques, or play board games – anything that’s fun for both of you.
- Devote time and energy to your sex life. One of the best ways to invest in your marriage is to invest in sex and intimacy. I’d even go so far as to say that a strong marriage requires a strong sex life – one that fulfills both the husband and the wife. It really isn’t optional – I’ve seen a marriage that seemed ideal in every other way fall apart because the couple didn’t enjoy an intimate, sexual connection. If you’ve struggled in this area, what can you do this week to begin devoting time and energy to your sex life? If that’s difficult for you, check out 7 Ways to Get in Touch with Your Sexy Side, Make Sex a Priority, or the Sex and Marriage Resources page.
- Pray together. If you share a common faith, pray together regularly for your marriage and family. If you don’t, pray on your own for increased communication and connection in all areas of your marriage. Either way, ask God to protect and strengthen the two of you individually and as a couple through the good and not-so-good times.
What is your favorite strategy for investing in your marriage and earning “dividends.” Please share it in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.