5 Keys to Loving Each Other (When Liking Each Other is Hard)

Christian Marriage AdviceToday guest poster Stephanie Shott shares with us ingredients to keep your marriage strong and loving.

My husband is my best friend. But it hasn’t always been this way.

Our journey hasn’t always been easy, but somewhere between the good, the bad, and the ugly, we discovered how to love each other through it all…even when liking each other was hard.

Marriages seldom come neatly wrapped in conflict free packages and our marriage is no exception.

Polar opposites with different passions and pursuits, our only real common denominator has been Jesus. And to be honest with you, He’s been the glue that has kept this marriage together when our hearts were weary with each other.

Marriage is like a great pound cake. There are certain ingredients that are absolutely necessary for it to be successful.

Today, I’d like to share five key ingredients I’ve learned over the past 27 years that has helped me love my man even when I was having a hard time liking him.

5 keys to loving each other when liking each other is hard

5 Keys to Loving Each Other (When Liking Each Other is Hard)

1. Laugh Together

Laugh at each other; laugh at yourself; laugh at your circumstances…but whatever you do…laugh together – a lot. There’s a wonderful bonding process that takes place when you laugh together.

I know it’s hard to laugh when you’re marriage is strained, but go out of your way to look for the absurd, crack yourself up, prank each other, watch comedies together…do whatever you have to, but laugh together. Think about it, when is the last time you saw a couple laughing their way to divorce court?

2. Respect One Another

Aretha Franklin is famous for the familiar song, R-E-S-P-E-C-T…All we’re asking…is for a little respect. Just a little bit. Just a little bit. They may be cute lyrics in a song, but respect is a basic human need…especially in marriage…especially for a man. Our husbands not only want our respect, they really need it. I honestly believe the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband found himself sitting at the gate because his wife believed in him. She supported him, she encouraged him, she respected him.

A wife’s respect can bolster a man’s courage and confidence and give him strength to fulfill his potential. A husband’s respect for his wife fosters security and assures her that he values her thoughts, her efforts and her opinions.

But respect doesn’t always come easily ~ especially when your husband doesn’t deserve it. But like love, respect is sometimes a choice you make and not an emotion you feel-it’s an action of your will.

If your husband has deep issues, contrasting values, or poor judgement, respecting him may be the last thing you want to do. But respect is one of those things we sometimes offer because we want to be obedient to God regardless of whether our hubbies deserve it or not.

3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

In the first ten years of our marriage, we argued about some of the most trivial things. Being polar opposites, our differences often sparked the fire, but our immaturity seemed to keep it ablaze.

I was the queen of making mountains out of mole hills, and he was the king of making matters worse with his words.

Does it really matter if he folded the towels wrong, didn’t take the garbage out the minute I asked, or left the toilet seat up? It’s funny how we find ourselves deep in battle and all of a sudden realize we don’t have a clue what we’re arguing about.

Choose your battles wisely, don’t sweat the small stuff, and you’ll find yourself laughing together and fighting for each other instead of with each other.

4. Manage Your Mind

Choose your thoughts wisely. As a Christian, you have the power to take your thoughts captive. It’s easy to focus on your feelings and your circumstances when you’re going through a rough patch in your marriage. Unfortunately, the more you fix your mind on what you’re going through and how you feel, the more difficult it is to move forward in your marriage.

It’s tough to move forward in your relationship when you’re constantly looking in the rearview mirror of your marriage.

Managing your mind doesn’t mean you gloss over difficult situations or that you don’t deal with conflicts, it just means you choose the way you think about them. It means when you’re angry, you don’t mull that thing over and over again in your mind. It means when you don’t really like your man, you choose to love him anyway.

Think About the Good in Your Husband

5. Pray for Your Man and Your Marriage

You know your husband like no one else does and you can pray for him like no one else will. If you see an area of need in his life, pray for him. If he is struggling with specific issues, pray for him.

It took me years to realize that one of my greatest callings as a wife was to not only pray, but to desire that my husband would be all God created him to be and to long for him to fulfill his God-given destiny. That should be a continual cry of my heart. It’s part of loving him well.

Pray for Your Husband!

Marriage isn’t easy, but you can choose to love your man even when you find it hard to like him. It’s a choice that is intentional. Powerful. And it works.

These are just a few steps on our way to maintaining or regaining that loving feeling and one day, when you hurdle over the obstacles in your marriage, you’ll find that you love him more today than the day you said I do.

How do you keep your marriage strong? Share your story and encourage others.

 

stephanie shottStephanie Shott is the founder of The M.O.M. Initiative, a ministry devoted to making mentoring intentionally missional. She is an author and a popular speaker, who helps women live full, fearless and faithful lives. To invite Stephanie to speak at your next event, visit her website at www.stephanieshott.com. To find out more about The M.O.M. Initiative or to begin a M.O.M. Mentor Group in your area, visit www.themominitiative.com.

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Leave the URL of a marriage blog post you’ve written in the linky below. Here’s something exciting for the new year! I’m going to start highlighting my regular Wifey Wednesday contributors. I’ll start a contributor page, and every month I’ll highlight a new blog. So please link up! It’s a great way to get traffic and more recognition for your blog.

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Comments

  1. I love your wisdom here, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us. And thank you, Sheila, for your ministry here! I’m a big fan.
    Becky Kopitzke recently posted…He Called Me Beautiful, So I Cleaned the BasementMy Profile

  2. Thanks for hosting the link-up!

  3. I really like #5. It’s my favorite way to stay connected with my man. Praying is so powerful! It’s really hard to be mad at someone you’re praying for day-in and day-out (or at least STAY mad at). ;) I’ve purposed to grow in praying for my spouse this year. Praying for grace to be more faithful in this area!
    Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace recently posted…Your January Intentional Living ChecklistMy Profile

  4. Stephanie, as always, you share such great words of wisdom. Thank you, thank you!! The one that especially spoke to me was “manage your mind.” Your “mulling over” language convicted my heart immediately. I am so thankful I popped over here today!

    Blessings,

    Wendy Blight

    • Wendy, thanks so much for stopping in and taking the time to comment! That whole ‘managing the mind’ thing has been such a hard one for me to learn and to live out. Sometimes, I want to stew on that thing for a while. Marriage is such a journey and I still have so much to learn. ;-)
      Stephanie Shott recently posted…When I Feel Like I’m Stuck…My Profile

  5. After many years of marriage I finally (slow learner!) took to heart Ephesians 5;25-33 and began to try to love my wife as commanded by Paul in these verses. What a difference it made. I see her for the amazing gift from God to me that she is. I realise that God brought us together, For the past 18 months I have tried to put her needs first ALWAYS. The benefits are limitless, we rarely, if ever, argue anymore and certainly not over the small stuff. My love for this wonderful woman grows by leaps and bounds and I know that this love is mutual. We never leave the house alone before we tell each other ‘I love you’.. We want to ensure that the last words we speak are loving words because we never know when our parting may be the last parting. I am excited to see her when we meet again and I know that I am richly blessed to be her husband. We try to end every day by praying for each other aloud and thanking God for our marriage.

    • Great words of wisdom P…for both men and women! But women are responders, so she is responding to the way you love her and you both reap the benefits of an amazing marriage! And I love that you pray with your wife at the end of the day. There’s really nothing more intimate a couple can do than pray! Thanks so much for sharing today!
      Stephanie Shott recently posted…When I Feel Like I’m Stuck…My Profile

  6. As I keep saying, I think we completely underestimate just how important marriage is to God. And therefore, God will do whatever needs to be done to ensure that we learn how to be married right. Through His grace and strength only. Thank you so much for a wonderful post!!!
    Baby Mama recently posted…Day 16: When God Intervenes In Your Marriage…My Profile

  7. I just stumbled upon your blog and I really love it!
    I can’t stress point number 3. Although I’m not married (yet :) ) my relationship with my boyfriend definitely improved when we forgave each other for little things. Especially when there is already tension, it is a all too easy to let that one little nuance push you over the edge again.
    Andrea recently posted…Best Rated Bissell Canister VacuumsMy Profile

    • Andrea, I’m so glad you stumbled onto Sheila’s site! She consistently speaks to the heart of women on so many levels! You’ll definitely want to keep coming back for more! I’m a guest on her blog today, and Im so thankful you stopped in and commented! It’s so good to prepare to be a wife before you are one! So, you are one wise woman! ;-)
      Stephanie Shott recently posted…When I Feel Like I’m Stuck…My Profile

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