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Experiencing a strong, vibrant, and healthy marriage didn’t stop with your marriage vows and the commitment you made to each other on your wedding day—it goes beyond that in the way you live out your commitment to each other in your day-to-day lives. Continuing to learn about the other person and discovering new ways to love and appreciate them, adds joy, excitement, and reminders of why you married them to begin with.

Even when things are going well, it’s important to continue working on your relationship. 

Marriage is an opportunity to minister to your spouse. When you focus on walking out your role to love, respect, and care for them, you’re better equipped to parent your children and minister to others. When we prioritize and take care of our marriage relationship, other areas and relationships can grow in health as well.

Marriage Is Ministry

Strong marriages are a reflection of God’s love for the world. It identifies us as disciples of Jesus., The apostle John recorded the words of Jesus: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35, NIV).

A few verses prior to these, Jesus demonstrated how to love others by humbly serving them. True love stems from a servant’s heart. Happy couples share their gifts and offer selfless, sacrificial love to one another and to others. Happy couples stay close to each other and close to God—through good times and bad. It’s not easy, but following these marriage fundamentals will help.

What Makes a Strong Marriage

Certain relationship principles help support lasting marriages. Here are some keys to a healthy marriage:

  1. Start with yourself. When differences and disagreements persist, it’s easy to focus on what your spouse is doing to contribute and what you’d like them to change. Remember, every marriage consists of two flawed humans. It takes courage to assess your own weaknesses first. Taking responsibility for what you can change—yourself—is essential for a growing, healthy marriage. If there’s an uncomfortable grain of truth in your spouse’s complaints, being willing to make a change can encourage your spouse and build trust.
  2. Pray together. It seems simple, but prayer is powerful. It is true and enduring relationship advice. Regardless of whether you’re feeling happy and joyful or angry and resentful, praying together connects you and your spouse, and praying for one another changes your heart. If you’re not already doing it, talk to your spouse about starting a prayer habit. Life gets busy, priorities shift, and prayer keeps God at the helm of your life and your marriage. His guidance and love will bring stability and comfort.
  3. Communicate often, clearly, and respectfully. Open communication allows you and your spouse to share needs, desires, and concerns in a way that you feel heard. Assumptions or unspoken expectations can lead to hurt, disappointment, offense, and resentment. Speak up often and quickly, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Clearing the air helps you find a way forward. How you communicate is more important than what you say. Be respectful and clear. When they can tell you care, what you have to share will be easier to hear.
  4. Forgive easilyAs in any relationship, forgiveness in marriage is vital. When you feel hurt, slighted, or angry, talk it out before resentment can build. Was it a deliberately harmful pattern or an atypical slip-up? If it’s a small annoyance, let it go. If it’s something bigger, try to learn more, calmly state your concerns, and listen closely. Allow your spouse to share their perspective without interrupting or getting defensive. Avoid drama, finger-pointing, or accusation. Keep an open mind, listen to understand, resolve to improve, apologize sincerely, and communicate honestly to ease tension and build connection.
  5. Be patient. Building strong marriages takes time as you get to know each other. Be patient with your spouse and yourself. If one approach doesn’t work, talk with your spouse about another. Take the time needed to really listen to your spouse and allow them to process and share without quick judgments. Give and receive grace for each other’s faults and shortcomings. Despite setbacks, if you’re both giving it your best, God sees your heart and will bless your dedication.
  6. Practice thankfulness. Focus on what’s right with your spouse and thank them for it. Notice and appreciate the little things they do. Focus on the positive things about them. It helps improve your attitude and outlook and will improve the atmosphere of your relationship and home. Begin small and pay attention to the difference it makes. Rather than gossip or chronic complaining, criticism, and nitpicking, try practicing thankfulness. 
  7. Remember, it’s not always personal. Everyone has bad days, vulnerable spots, and times when words are carelessly spoken, and frustrations are vented. Give your spouse space to unwind and a chance to express frustrations—about work, traffic, or disappointments—without being personally offended by emotions or taking them to heart. Likely, it doesn’t have to do with you. When your spouse has a bad day, it’s an opportunity to minister to them by being a safe place to open up.
  8. Stay active in a Christian community. Having regular Christian fellowship with friends, family, and church members strengthens your faith and provides support. During seasons of change, growth, or challenge, trustworthy, God-fearing friendships are those we can rely on to offer prayer, help, and encouragement when we need it most. Christian community can provide a sense of belonging and the knowledge you’re not alone.
  9. Enjoy each other and have fun! Don’t forget to have fun and laugh together in the day-to-day responsibilities and stresses. Prioritize just spending time with each other. Suggest ideas for a date night—like trying a new restaurant, taking a class, or participating in an activity—and take the initiative to plan it. Your spouse will thank you. Create memories. Share inside jokes. Watch comedies. Laughter relieves stress and strengthens bonds.

When Marriage Stress Gets Out of Hand, Ask for Help

As good as intentions may be, chronic or escalating conflict may require compassionate and objective Christian marriage counseling. Don’t bury unresolved resentments or try to “white-knuckle it.” A professional counselor can offer an outside perspective, personalized support, guidance, and tools.

If you’re in an abusive relationship or have serious problems—such as addiction or affairs—it’s especially important to seek professional help right away.

Living Healthily Ever After

Marriage is and can be a beautiful reflection of God’s unfailing love for us, His church. Start by applying 1-2 of the keys you may not already be doing and commit to working on your relationship with your spouse. Begin viewing your relationship with your spouse as ministry—one that allows you to share and reflect God’s love, and one that allows you to be better equipped to minister to others around you. 

Christian Healthcare Ministries

One stressor in marriage can be finances and financial decisions. Medical bill costs can be an unexpected stressor and are a significant source of debt in the U.S. Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), the original health cost-sharing ministry, is designed to come alongside you to meet these needs—it’s Christians helping Christians with each other’s medical expenses. Learn more today. Visit

Kristen Miller
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