At the nine-year mark in our marriage, we hit a bit crisis. Tom wasn’t speaking to me and I had no idea what was wrong. A good Christian counselor by the name of Dave Peterson helped me come up with these 10 Steps to a Happy Marriage. They did not come about, however, until a few after our marriage was restored.
Step #1: Remember what brought you together in the first place.
Step #2: Think about the things that you enjoy most about your spouse.
Step #3: Make a list of the things you do like, and thank your spouse for those qualities at least once a week.
Step#4: Make a list of the things that drive you crazy about your spouse. Put that list in a place where you won’t dig it back out. That list belongs to God.
Step #5: Ask yourself what you did to contribute to the problem. You are either working toward a solution or you’re keeping the problem alive. Be honest with yourself.
Step #6: Avoid exaggerations, statements like “he/she never” or “he/she always”… These are exaggerations and therefore untrue.
Step #7: Don’t get caught up in the blame game. Focus on what you can do to make things better. If you don’t see results right away, maybe it’s because the other person feels manipulated. Give it time. It took about 2 1/2 to 3 years for my husband to realize I was genuinely trying to change (and yes, I needed to). We both were at fault but the only person we can fix is ourselves, and we need God’s help to do that.
Step #8: Don’t nag, criticize, complain, or whine. The book of Proverbs in the Bible has a lot to say about people who murmur, gripe, grumble and complain. In fact, in the book of Exodus, God swallowed up a whole generation of Jews (His chosen people) because they refused to be thankful for His guidance, protection, and provision, but instead focused on what they didn’t have, and how hard the journey was.
Step #9: Learn how to have fun together again. Get re-interested in some of the same things. Participate with each other, and be thankful.
Step #10: Do what you did before you got married, while you’re married, in order to stay married.
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.