Maintaining a healthy Christian marriage requires a three-fold approach that addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Here are some tips to get healthy - physically, emotionally, and spiritually - in marriage:
Physical health: Take care of your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and go for regular check-ups. Encourage your partner to do the same, and support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices.
Exercise Together: There are so many ways to do this! You can go to the gym together (highly recommended!), bike together, run together, kayak, surf, etc! Some of our favorite pastimes together are kayaking, mountain biking, and taking walks on the beach! If you go to the gym separately, be sure to be careful of this one. So many ways for the enemy to tempt one spouse or the other when working out at the gym alone!
Diet together - Help each other out on this one! We know of a couple that started the Keto diet together and it's been such a fun adventure for them to learn how to make new meals and stick to it as a team! Recently, my husband started a variation of the carnivore diet, and even though it's not quite the right fit for my body, I do a variation of it. It's fun for us to find new creative ways to support each other in this new healthy choice!
SLEEP...TOGETHER!!! I can't even stress enough how important it is, if at all possible, for couples to go to bed together! Even if you aren't snugglers, crawl in that bed together and spend some time decompressing with each other for a few minutes. This is a big complaint of spouses - that their spouse doesn't come to bed when they do and they miss this time together.
2. Emotional health: Communicate openly and honestly with your partner, following the biblical principles of love, respect, and forgiveness. Practice active listening, show empathy, and validate each other's feelings. Learn to express your emotions constructively, and avoid criticism, defensiveness, and contempt.
Open communication - Sometimes it can seem so much easier to shut down and not discuss the hard things but those things just build up and leave you with a lot of anger and resentment down the road!
Communicate with respect - sharing how you feel about something with your spouse in a snarky or rude way will NOT help your marriage be healthy! Taking a deep breath and asking yourself, "how would I want my spouse to talk to me" before you begin communicating can help you be more respectful in conversation. Remember that your spouse is made in the Image of God! They are valuable (even if you don't feel this at the moment) and deserve to be treated with kindness & respect.
Active Listening - This is a lost art for sure! But that's okay because we are bringing it back through our Adventures in Marriage Programs! In these marriage classes, we teach couples how to listen to each other with empathy and how to really hear and understand one another's feelings (not just words). Many couples say it's the first time their spouse has really heard them in years and it transforms their marriage! If you don't know how to practice active listening, sign up for a class at www.aimclasses.org
3. Spiritual health: Grow in your faith together as a couple, by studying the Bible, praying, attending church, and participating in fellowship with other believers. Encourage each other to develop a personal relationship with God, and to live according to biblical principles of love, grace, and righteousness.
Growing in Faith - This can be such a beautiful part of your marriage! It's the hard times that grow your faith, not the good times. Leaning into the Lord together during these difficult times will make your marriage stronger!
Worship Together - My goodness! I don't even know where to begin on this one! Worshipping with my husband has been one of the greatest joys of our 27 years of marriage! Sometimes we go to Christian concerts, but mostly we get to worship together at church weekly! It is such a gift to our marriage and can be for yours as well.
PRAY with each other - This is another part of our marriage classes! We encourage couples to pray together and the feedback on this is beautiful! Couples are so blessed by praying together in their marriage. This is something we have learned to do nightly (when we go to bed together ;-) (see above) and we love it!!! Many times, we are absolutely exhausted, but we almost never miss doing this. It will bond you as a couple in a way that you can't even begin to imagine!
Lastly, prioritize your marriage relationship, and make time for each other on a regular basis. Seek wise counsel and support from trusted Christian friends, mentors, or counselors, when needed. And always remember to honor God in your marriage, by putting Him first and seeking His guidance and blessing.