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Dale R. Goodman, Ph.D., D.MiN. 

Enriching relationships to thrive

How to Thrive in Married Life by Dr. Dale goodman

How to Thrive in Married Life 

(c) Dr. Dale Goodman

It's not easy building a thriving marriage. Sadly, most marriages are surviving, not thriving. Through my own marital experiences and counseling others, I have identified several ideas for thriving.

God wants you to have a joy-filled married life. Remember, marriage is for a lifetime. So, if you do not feel your thriving, keep working on it. God will help you. Get help if you need. But do not give up. It may be in the last quarter of life or decade where your marriage bears much fruit. So, stick it out. Research backs this up. The fact are the facts. You will be better off working on the issues, than looking else where for your illusion

Avoid mind reading.
If you are not sure what your spouse is saying, ask. Don?t assume you can read his or her mind. This can lead to many misunderstandings and fights. Why wait to the end of a fight to figure out what someone is trying to say? At the front end of your communication process, probe for more clarity on your assumptions.

Becoming is a process.
It takes two to tangle. Use your differences to complement each other. Be willing to flex with your differences, and to extend grace. Oneness is about two people moving in the same direction of life together. Becoming is a process, not an event.

Be willing to change.
Your marriage will be a refining tool in the hands of a loving God. God wants to make you better, more complete, whole. Whatever edges need filed down or knocked off will often come through your spouse. God uses a husband and wife to sharpen each other. Stay humble and remain teachable!

Commit for life.
Marriage is for life. It is a journey of a lifetime. Your commitment is a covenant between you and God. It is a binding agreement, with few exceptions, to honor each other till God calls you home.

Create boundaries.
There will always be some well-intentioned people who interfere inappropriately with your marriage. Let no one, including in-laws, friends, work, sports, technology, television, or recreation intrude on your marriage. Forge out healthy boundary lines, learn to say no, and stand your ground in defending them.

Enjoy.
God wants you to have a joy-filled marriage. It will not be perfect, and at times it will be painful. Strive to enjoy each other, date each other, walk with each other, and listen and share dreams with each other. Enjoy the gift God has given to your marriage: your spouse.

Finances are a team sport.
You are to become ?we? with your finances. Work together as a team and maintain a budget. Avoid and/or minimize any extensive debt. Be good stewards of what God is providing for you.

Forgiveness must happen.
This will not always be easy; however, it must happen. The toxic poison of unforgiveness can flat line a once promising marriage. A healthy marriage will require humility, grace, and the constant effort to forgive and to press on. Nine important words: I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me.

Get help for your addictions.
Substance abuse and sexual addictions will eat at the heart of a your marriage. Get help and stay with it. No marriage will ever become healthy with these in the mix.

Give thanks.
Be mindful to thank your spouse for what he or she does. Who will thank you for the work that you do around the house unless you express your own gratitude? Don?t take for granted what the words ?Thank you!? can do for the health of your marriage.

Healthy lives, healthy marriages.
Take care of your body, you only have one. Strive for good nutrition, exercise, sleep, leisure, and balance. Your health is so important. Take care of yourself and each other to maintain a healthy marriage.

Know your roots.
Your family system has impacted your life. If you came from a loving, secure home, most likely you will be this way in your marriage. However, if your home was fragmented, inconsistent, and unhealthy, it could create conflict. To have a healthy marriage, both partners need healthiness. If you see yourself in unhealthy patterns of relating, consider seeking a mentor, a coach, or even a counselor.

Laugh daily.
There is always one clown in the marriage. This role is vital for helping to turn the corner on many things that could blow up. Be quick to laugh, and slow to react. Live, laugh, and love one another for a lifetime.

Let go of your hurts.
You will be crushed in your marriage. No marriage can escape the bonehead things we do that cut deep into the core of the heart. Once hurt gets embedded in the soul, it may take time to remove the toxicity. Be quick to reveal your hurts to one another, and to reconcile and restore your relationship.

Live with integrity.
Maintain the highest level of integrity with each other. It will pay off. Your sins will have a way of finding you out. Be an open book with each other; keep nothing of question from each other. Honesty will always be the best policy.

Love God more than your spouse.
This is a tough one. We look to each other for love, yet often fail to deliver. The good news: God?s love never fails. No one can love the way God can. Look to God for your first love. His love will diminish your over-dependency on each other. Spend time with God, praying often and meditating on his Word.

Sex is not everything.
There is so much emphasis on sex in our culture. It has its place, but it?s meant to be the ?sweet icing? on the marital relationship. Your ongoing friendship will be a factor in building healthy sexuality. While sex plays a vital role in a marriage, don?t let it be your focus. A healthy sex life is maintained by an awesome friendship.