Stop Comparing Your Marriage to Someone Else’s and 4 Other Ways You Can Improve it Today

If only he would   ___________, then our marriage would be better. 

Ever thought anything like this?

I have.

It’s so easy to blame any marriage problems we might have on our spouse. The truth is, though, marriages are built by two people, and marriages are torn down by two people.

It’s rarely ONLY one person’s fault, and because of that, we need to stop focusing on what HE needs to do differently and start focusing on what WE can do differently.

(*The exception to this advice is for any of you in abusive marriages. In this case, I highly recommend you read Sheila Wray Gregoire’s post called 10 Truths about Emotionally Destructive Marriages. You don’t need to work on you. You need to get some place safe, away from the abuser who resides in your home.)

For the rest of us-those of us who aren’t in abusive relationships-here are 5 ways we can work on our marriages today.

We can’t control our spouse’s actions. The only person we can control is OURSELVES.

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Marriage:

1. Get your relationships in their appropriate order.

What I mean is that God is supposed to be our #1 priority. Then our spouses. Then our children. If our marriages are struggling, it’s highly likely something has gotten out of order.

Robin Sigars, the preaching minister at my church, said that if your marriage is struggling, “you don’t have a marriage problem. You have a God problem.”  

On the other hand, when we seek God with all of our hearts and then (after that) seek to bless our spouses, our marriages will likely become much stronger.

2. Stop comparing your marriage to someone else’s marriage.

Steven Furtick once said that one reason we struggle with insecurity is because “we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”

We think we’re getting the full picture when we look at other people, but we’re not. We’re only getting to see what someone else wants us to see.

Think of it like an iceberg. We see the very tip of the iceberg above the water, but there is so much more below the surface of the water we can’t see.

3. Fight fair.

 I shared a post (with a printable) at The Mom Initiative with some rules for fair fighting. I encourage you to read that post and download the printable Fair Fighting Contract.

4. Start loving and serving your spouse.

 We have it backwards a lot. We think we have to feel love to behave loving toward our spouses.

In reality, when we DO loving things, our feelings often follow.

One thing to consider is how your spouse feels loved and what his love language is.

There are 5 primary love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

Ask him how he feels most loved. Then intentionally do things that make him feel loved.

Don’t wait for your FEELINGS. They’ll come along after you start DOING!

5. Forgive.

Ruth Bell Graham said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

Forgiveness, as Max Lucado put it, is “unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner!”

Forgiveness is not condoning the sin or ignoring the behavior but instead refusing to allow someone else’s mistake to hold you captive.

Doing these five things might not fix everything in your marriage…BUT doing these things will go a long way at strengthening it!

Let’s talk: What other things would you add to this list?


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Lindsey Bell
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity, a devotional book for busy moms. She's also a speaker for women's events, a blogger at www.lindsey-bell.com, and a stay-at-home mother of two. She's an avid reader and a lover of all things chocolate. You can find her online at www.lindseymbell.com.