When two people make the important decision to marry, they do so with the intentions of living as close to happily ever after as possible. Sure, everybody expects some difficulty along the way but most couples expect that they will be able to overcome whatever challenges married life brings—they intend to stay in the marriages they start.

If you are soon to be married or have already tied the knot, always keep in mind that great marriages are not born, they are created. In order to love living married life, there are some things that should become and stay a part of your individual daily routines. Both husband and wife can play an important part in staying married if they:

Stay connected—Marriage experts say that spending 16 minutes a day in an open, connected way influences the way a couple feels about each other for the remainder of the day (even when they are apart). Those 16 minutes are broken down into four critical meeting times for a couple.

The first four minutes are in the morning when the couple first wakes up to start their day. To give each other a nice greeting, a warm hug or other comforting touch, to check in with how the other is feeling or what they plan for the day is all it takes to create the first connection. This establishes that they are each a priority to the other and affirms their status as a significant other in the eyes of their spouse.
The next four critical minutes are those just before a couple separates for the day to begin daily routines in which other things (i.e. work, school, ministry, etc.) or people (i.e. other family members or telephone contacts) will become their primary focus.

The next four critical minutes are when they return home from work related activities and greet each other. This establishes the re-connectedness that says, “I’m glad I have you and can be with you again after a long day.”

The last four critical minutes are those a couple share just before they go to bed at night. This could be another opportunity to give a simple, “I love you,” coupled with an interesting thing that happened that day. It’s always good to add some form of affectionate touching during these critical minutes to reconnect after having multiple less intimate interactions with others throughout the day.

If a couple carefully maintains positive and close interactions at these crucial times throughout the day, the remaining time they spend together, whether in person, by phone or just in mind, will have a more positive tone and will create the oneness of a satisfying marriage.

This marriage ritual, though simple, has profound positive results. Another strategy for a couple to stay married is to:

Stay directed—Just as every person has a purpose in life, every marriage has a purpose as well. When a man and a woman know the purpose of their union and its impact on children, extended family, community and beyond, they can better navigate through the ups and downs that come with joining two very different and individual lives in holy matrimony.

Creating a marriage mission statement together and committing to reach specific marital goals sets a standard for the marriage that reminds the couple of how and why they are staying married.

A marriage mission statement can be simple or complex but it must be written down and hanging up somewhere as a reminder of how the marriage looks and feels on the inside.

We, the Johnson’s, value, support, respect and enjoy each other daily. We love living our lives together and we maintain an honest and transparent relationship.

This sort of mission statement reminds the married couple that in all situations, they choose to value each other, support each other, respect each other and enjoy each other every day of their married lives. They also think living together is much better than living without each other and they choose to be honest with each other and transparent in their relationship.

Other ways a couple can focus on staying married are to stay protected, stay effective and stay reflective—all of which will be covered in part two of this article.

The wedding is just the beginning of a life-long marriage. The quality of the journey and the length of the ride can be determined with careful thought and planning by both husband and wife.

Plan to stay in the marriage tomorrow that you start today.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Torri L. Griffin, LPC, author of My Little Book of Wisdom, Volume 1: 52 Lessons I’ve Learned from Living Life, is a Love & Relationships Coach and practices marriage and family therapy at the Atlanta Counseling Center.

She is available for speaking engagements for groups of singles and couples. If you have any questions or would like more information about this or any other topic on LOVE, contact her at Wisdom@LoveLivingLife.com