Relationships are difficult. Being married to someone knowing it is headed for eternity can feel exhausting when we can’t seem to get on the same page. If we are willing to work at our relationships, we can have unity instead of discord, peace instead of sorrow or angst. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Marriage is the rock foundation, the cornerstone, of civilization. No nation will ever rise above its homes. Marriage and family life are ordained of God.” Is it any wonder that attacks on the family unit have become stronger than ever? Since marriage and family life is patterned after the Father’s plan, then we can know these inspired relationships hold eternal blessings, power, and joy. Our marriage relationships are worth investing the time and effort into.
With all the demands on family time, how can you work on this important relationship? Here are a few ideas that may help.
Before you do anything, you ought to get the kids out of the house so you can focus on one another without distractions. Be committed to dedicating time to be together. Put the phones down and be together. That might feel uncomfortable for a bit, but it will be worth it.
- Use a personality quiz to help you understand one another better. The 5 Love Languages is a wonderful resource for couples as well as the Color Code. But no need to stop there. The internet is full of resources to help you determine how you can recognize your traits and learn to work better together.
- Spend stress free time together doing something you both enjoy. Whether it is cooking, fishing, hiking, reading, driving, playing, or laughing, having down time will help you enjoy being together and nurture your love for one another. Doesn’t every relationship need a touch of fun? Dating was fun because it wasn’t constantly stressful with daily demands.
- Play games which help you get to know each other better. There are so many board games and card games out there that just ask questions. Those answers could help you understand your spouse a bit better. Perhaps their answers were different years ago. What has changed? Have their hopes and dreams changed at all? How can you help one another explore new possibilities individually and as a couple?
- Serve one another. You might write messages on the mirror, leave a love note in the car, help with chores or things that burden your spouse down. Go to a soup kitchen together on occasion or find other ways to better someone’s life or the community. www.Justserve.org is a great resource. President Benson added from the same talk, “The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth.”1
- Listen to conference talks, podcasts, other study materials that touch on something you want to improve together and set goals. There is something unifying and beautiful in a spiritually edifying discussion. Share your excitement and love for sacred texts and what you are learning in them. You will walk away with a renewed light and appreciation for one another.
With all the chaos in the world, we need to fortify our homes and relationships. We are creating our places of safety and peace. How much effort are you willing to put in to create a stronghold within your four walls? You and your posterity will forever be grateful for all the time and energy you put into this important work.
“Fundamentals of Enduring Family Relationships”, President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1982 General Conference