This year, my husband Benjamin and I celebrated 16 years of marriage.
Let me tell you, we’ve come a long way since it was just him and I.
After years of Benjamin working as a professional athlete, moving dozens of times, and now raising seven amazing kids together, we’ve learned a lot about keeping our marriage strong.
The truth is, life can feel really overwhelming.
There are so many things that pull and tug at our attention and our time. So how do we keep our marriages thriving while trying to raise kids, reach goals, and work well?
Now, by no means do we have this down perfectly. 16 years later, we definitely still disagree. We still argue. And God is still teaching us things about each other and ourselves all the time.
But there are a few things we’ve learned about how to navigate and strengthen a relationship from year to year.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your marriage strong.
1. Set goals as a couple.
A few years back, we started using our anniversary to reflect and set goals as a couple and as a family. Why not dedicate some time together to seeing how far your relationship has come? Discuss where you’re at and make necessary changes, or stay the course and plan for where you want your relationship to be in the future.
2. Have honest conversations with your spouse.
One of the biggest battles for many couples is having open, honest communication. Can you commit to talking with your spouse about the things you’re struggling with or issues you want to work through together? It can only ever get better when you talk about it. Discuss things that are going on with your kids when you’re alone with your spouse. And be sure to always talk about things that are tough when you’re not in a bad mood. The more you practice honesty with each other, the easier it becomes with time.
3. Remember relationships are like a journey.
Even after 16 years, we’re still growing, changing, and learning things about each other. You and your spouse probably are too! Marriage is a lifelong commitment – it’s a journey. And you really do have to take things step-by-step and day by day as spouses, partners, and parents. Give yourself grace, and give your husband grace too.
4. Always celebrate your anniversary!
This might seem silly, but seriously you guys. Celebrate your anniversary! I don’t care if you’ve been married one year, two years, 20 years, or 100 years. Celebrate your anniversary. Every year you have with your spouse should be honored. Whether you go out to dinner, take a trip or just eat a nice dinner at home, mark these moments as a testament of God’s faithfulness to you.