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7 Suggestions for the First 7 Years of Marriage


I’ve written previously about the first seven years of marriage. We don’t know why necessarily—I have some theories—but the years between six and eight of marriage are often the most difficult. It seems so many marriages fail in the seventh year.

It makes sense then that protecting the marriage during those years is critical. And it doesn’t take seven years. I have lost count of the couples who are struggling—and ready to call it quits—just a few years into the marriage.

The way a marriage starts helps to protect the long-term health of the marriage. I believe the attention we place on new marriages in our churches is critically important.

Based on my experience, I have some specific advice for new marriages. Our first seven years of marriage are long past, but if we had it to do over, there are some things I’d make sure we did as a couple to get a good, solid start.

7 things to do in your first seven years of marriage:

1. Recruit a mentoring couple.

We would find a couple further along in years of experience and who seemed to have a marriage like we wanted and ask to spend time with them. We tend to become like the people we hang around most. All couples could use mentors who can talk them through the rough patches that all marriages face.

2. Invest financially in the marriage.

Keep dating. It could be a sack lunch at the park or a five-star steak dinner or a weekend in Paris depending on your income level, but we would just do fun stuff. Stay active. Boredom is one of the leading causes of marriage failure.

3. Protect your budget.

The last one is important, but so is this one. You’ll need to balance the two. Debt causes huge problems in a marriage. And it’s easier to avoid as you build than after you’ve accumulated it. You don’t have to have everything now. (Let me say that again.) You don’t have to have everything now. It’s not the key to a happy marriage. But eliminating the major distractions is a key to a strong marriage. And money problems are a leading cause of marriage trouble. We would get an agreed upon budget (and that’s key) and discipline ourselves to live it.

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.