When my wife, Ashley, and I got married 15 years ago, we were young and in love, but we were also pretty clueless (me especially)! Along the way, we’ve had so many people share wise advice and life experiences with us, which has helped guide our family through good times and hard times. Through the years, we’ve been collecting some of the best marriage advice others have shared with us (and some we had to learn through our own mistakes).
We have one powerful and practical marriage tip for every day of the month. Keep referring back to this list to give a daily dose of encouragement to your marriage. These 30 timeless truths have shaped our marriage (#26 revolutionized how we communicate with each other)! If you’ll apply these 31 principles below to your relationship, it could make a life-changing difference in your marriage! These timeless truths have revolutionized our own relationship and they could do the same for you.
In no particular order:
1. Choose to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not just a feeling.
2. Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling, and when possible, try to keep your phone off when you’re together with your spouse.
3. Make time together a priority. Budget for a consistent date night. Time is the “currency of relationships” so consistently invest time into your marriage. There are no shortcuts. Building a strong marriage takes time.
4. Your friends will impact your marriage, so choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage and remove yourself from people who may tempt you to compromise your character.
5. Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage. Share moments of joy, and even in the hard times, find reasons to laugh.
6. In every argument, remember that there won’t be a “winner” and a “loser.” You are partners in everything so you’ll either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution.
7. Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It’s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.
8. Prioritize what happens in the bedroom. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it!
9. Remember that marriage isn’t 50-50, divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It’s not splitting everything in half, but both partners giving everything they’ve got!
10. Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone else.
11. Speak lovingly and respectfully to each other. Your words matter, but the tone of those words matters too. The tone of your words can set the tone for your entire marriage.
12. Don’t put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your kids or else you’ll end up with an empty nest and an empty marriage.
13. Never keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy.
14. Never lie to each other. Lies break trust and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage.
15. When you’ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly seek forgiveness. You should be quick to say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
16. When your husband/wife breaks your trust, give them your forgiveness instantly which will promote healing and create the opportunity for trust to be rebuilt. You should be quick to say, “I love you. I forgive you. Let’s move forward.”
17. Be patient with each other. Your spouse is always more important that your schedule.
18. Stay away from porn or anything that creates sexual fantasy apart from your spouse. Don’t just be physically monogamous; be mentally monogamous.
19. Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not his/her biggest critic. Be the one who wipes away their tears, not the one who causes them.
20. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places.
21. Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you’re always connected to your spouse and it will remind the rest of the world that you’re off limits!
22. Make your faith a priority. Pray with each other and for each other. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it.
23. Instead of nagging about your spouse, try bragging about your spouse! Focus on what they’re doing right instead of always pointing out what they’re doing wrong.
24. When you’re facing struggles, don’t blame each other. Instead, work together with mutual respect to find solutions.
25. Never stop flirting with your spouse and never start flirting with anyone else!
26. Don’t expect your spouse to read your mind. Clearly communicate your thought and feelings. Take time to talk to each other AND listen to each other.
27. Work together as partners. Never let your spouse face a struggle without your encouragement, partnership and support.
28. Don’t put your marriage “on hold” for the sake of your career, hobbies or any other pursuit. Don’t sacrifice your marriage in the pursuit of lesser things.
29. Consider your husband/wife in EVERY decision you make, because all of your decision will impact them in some way.
30. Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other!
For additional tools to help you build a stronger marriage, please check out our new resources at FightingForMyMarriage.com.
This article originally appeared here.