What plans have you made to have a successful marriage? Couples plan and plan for a wonderful wedding, yet how many give much thought and effort into how to plan for a lasting and loving until death do us part marriage?

Tips to ponder!

1. Have realistic expectations for your marriage: I have heard marriage compared to eating with chopsticks; it looks easy until you try it. The honeymoon feeling can cover up some of the things you may find irritating later in marriage. If I could tell married couples only one thing, it would be without a doubt, to expect their marriage to be different than they had planned and thought it would be. Unrealistic expectations can ruin the hopes and dreams of what is really just a normal stage of getting to know each other better in a healthy relationship. Those dreamy eyes of your partner can excuse the fact that they are regularly late to go out to dinner and those magical kisses can dismiss a messy house that later makes you want to blow a gasket. Knowing ahead of time you will have growing pains throughout your marriage will help when you notice these little things bothering you.

2. Commit to lifelong relationship: Make this decision right now for your relationship and it will help when you are faced with disappointing times in your marriage. A strong marriage is not build only on happiness (although there will be much of that), it is built on a commitment to one another. Your spouse is going to change physically and emotionally and you will change in their eyes also. Make a commitment to your spouse to help them through the sicknesses, financial stresses, disagreements and unforeseen issues that can end up strengthening a loving bond as you tackle them together.

3. Realize you were made differently: It is easy to see our physical differences. He wears a size 11 men’s shoe and you wear a size 8 women’s shoe. We do not expect our spouses to wear our clothes and shoes; we accept that we were made different on the outside. However, in a marriage we can get mixed up into thinking we should each want to snuggle, kiss, socialize, spend money and look at situations the same. God has given each of us special characteristics to fulfill the purpose of our life. Understand we were made to think and act differently and there will be times in your marriage you will have differences of opinions and a friendly lets just agree to disagree attitude will be needed to lighten the air.

4. Have a plan to resolve conflict. It is important when faced with a conflict to have a workable tool designed to help you through your issues. In my book, Kissing and Cooking for Couples, I compare this process to a game of best ball in golf. Even though I only play golf occasionally I believe it is a great example. In the golf game two people are a team, (just like in marriage) using each other’s strengths (or balls) to win the game. You play off each other’s best shots. The same is true in compromising. You both throw out ideas and use each other’s best points to move on. When you get the ball in the hole you both win no matter who makes the shot. When you come to a workable compromise, you both win, no matter who came up with the idea. You don’t win by challenging each other; you win by working off each other’s strengths. You either both win in marriage or you both lose. (Kissing and Cooking for Couples provides a detailed seven-step process to get from a conflict to a compromise.)

5. Spend quality time together: We live in a busy world. We are busy working, watching TV, on the computer, spending time with the kids, doing chores, enjoying our hobbies along with many other things that occupy our time. How many of us have had best friends that are now past acquaintances because we didn’t stay in touch? Plan to spend special time each week alone. Go out for dinner, a movie, a motorcycle ride, swing in a hammock, go for a romantic walk, kiss and cook together, or just simply do something that will lighten your spouses load. Don’t let other less important things get in the way of your relationship, and if you feel they are more important than re-evaluate what is really important to you and your family. I believe the old saying is still true: we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.

Marriage is a great and rewarding gift to be shared with the one you love, but it is also one of the hardest things you will ever experience. Knowing that almost 50% of today’s marriages end in divorce can give you the head start into realizing that couples don’t only need to plan for a wonderful wedding, but also for a wonderful marriage. I suggest reading at least two relationship books per year. Here are a few I have really enjoyed: The Five Love Languages, The Love Dare, and of course, my new book Kissing and Cooking for Couples. Learn all you can from others and incorporate what fits into your marriage.

We can mistake love as a magical thing; it simply happens because it’s love. Yet we have been told over and over again by speakers and on plaques: “Love is kind, patient, doesn’t envy and doesn’t seek its own way.” Hmm, sounds like there is something for us to consider in our own behavior for its success. Have a ritual on Friday mornings while driving to work – reflect about how you’re doing with enhancing the romance in your life. So, start planning the daily kisses, talks, hugs, and other surprises to start a fulfilling life with the one you have chosen to share your life with.

Blessed Living and Loving, Kim Reutzel
Best selling author of Kissing and Cooking for Couples, a recipe to add spice and romance to your relationship in and out of the kitchen. Essentially two books in one, it includes both tips to a heavenly relationship and 12 date nights. For more information visit. www.kissingandcooking.com

If you would like to use this article in your publications - include the tag line.

Author's Bio: 

Kim Reutzel, is a relationship and life stylist. She is the president and founder of Inspiration for Women Ministries, a non-profit/non-denominational counseling center to encourage women and their families. She earned a master’s degree in Clinical Christian Counseling. She is a regular columnist for Womeninc magazine and Has a relationship and life style blog. She has been a featured guest on radio talk shows and will has just release her best selling book, “Kissing and Cooking for Couples, a light hearted faith based book to add spice and romance to your relationship in and out of the kitchen. Kim has been married to Del for 25 years and has two grown children and one grandchild.