Everyday Habits for a Happier Marriage

Paul Dean
Paul Dean

It’s usually not a good idea to listen to the world’s advice on how to have a happier marriage. We’re told to buy gifts, spice things up, take trips, or other things along those lines. Gifts often lead to a “what have you done for me lately” attitude. Spice hardly works on something that’s rotten. And the problem with taking a trip is you bring yourselves along. These things don’t really fix relationship problems. But there are some habits you can develop that will serve to make your marriage happier.

Talk About the Things of God Together

First, talk about the things of God together. True happiness comes from knowing God, and you know Him better by spending time with Him. Talking about the things of God with your spouse serves to draw you closer together as you draw closer to Him, because He’s at work. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy theological study, though that might be for you. You could study the bible, use a devotional, talk about a Christian article, discuss a biblical worldview on something that’s going on, or discuss how God is working in your life. It could be any number of things. Just develop a habit of talking about God together.

Examine your Heart

Second, examine your heart on a regular basis. Your heart is desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). We’re called to examine our hearts for any number of reasons, not the least of which is we don’t truly know what’s in our hearts until we examine them through the lens of Scripture (Heb. 4:12). When you see sin in your heart, put it off, and replace it with a godly habit pattern. Paul talks about these things constantly. Put off lying, and put on truth-telling. Put off anger, and put on forgiveness. Put off stealing, and put on hard work. You get the idea. And, you do these things only through the renewing of your mind: by saturating your mind with the Scriptures (Col. 2; Col. 3; Eph. 3; Rom. 12).

Resolve Conflict Quickly

Third, resolve conflict quickly. One of the purposes of marriage is sanctification. It reveals the sin in our hearts. That’s why we examine them, and when sin comes out by way of conflict, we must resolve it. We do that by confessing our sin to God and to our spouse, and repenting. We say, “I was wrong,” and we commit to not sinning in that way again. It’s a constant battle, but that’s the battle! We also have to forgive. If your spouse repents, you forgive. That means you won’t allow the sin to come between you; it means you won’t dwell on it; it means you won’t gossip about it; and it means you won’t bring it up again, especially in a future argument. And, be the one to initiate the conflict resolution. Swallow your pride, and honor God and your spouse. You’ll avoid bitterness over time and have a happier marriage if you’ll get into the habit of resolving conflict – quickly!

Challenge One Another Spiritually

Fourth, challenge one another spiritually. This is not a time to pull out a laundry list of things you don’t like about your spouse and have at it. I’m talking about helping your spouse if they’re doing something that’s detrimental to them spiritually or is bringing reproach on Christ. Give each other permission to lovingly and helpfully challenge in this way. It’s not easy, no one really likes it, but it’s so beneficial!

Pray for One Another

Fifth, pray for one another. All of these things are an attempt to get God in on your marriage, and prayer is essential. God works through prayer. He hears, and He answers. He alone can change the heart. And, it’s hard to be mad at someone for whom you pray. It’s also hard to pray for your spouse without being convicted of your own sin.

Prioritize these things in your life. Make them habits. Do these five things every day, and your marriage will be happier.

Sign up free for "True Worldview News," a weekly e-mail newsletter highlighting relevant news stories affecting Christians. Dr. Dean’s comments on selected stories along with editorials are included. The newsletter also features True Worldview, a twice-weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Dean and his daughter, Christi Johnson.


Originally published May 10, 2020.