Fourteen Christians came together for a brainstorming session to discuss the various factors that contribute to building and maintaining a successful marriage. Both men and women participated in this brainstorming session, and all participants were either currently married or married in the past.

Together, this group represented 350 years of experience in marriage. What follows are eleven (out of 22) observations coming from this group about what it takes to support a successful marriage:

  1. Don’t assign fault when trying to solve a problem.
  2. When a problem is hard to solve, take the long view.
  3. The approach to a disagreement must never be to win at any cost.
  4. Don’t dramatize problems or over-play your point of view.
  5. Look at your marriage as a journey with turns.
  6. After getting married, flirting with others is over.
  7. One of the best ways to assist communication is to pray together.
  8. Work to keep first things first; prioritize problems/issues for significance.
  9. Balance the need for personal and together time.
  10. Don’t involve your parents in your disagreements; you will move on, they won’t.
  11. It is much easier to love a spouse who is also your friend.

The approach to a disagreement must never be to win at any cost.

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Some things to do for the week

Day 2: Reflect on the message and scripture reading; journal if you like
Day 3: Pray for or meditate on what you think you need
Day 4: Discuss the message and scripture with your spouse
Day 5: Plan how you can best respond to the message
Day 6: Rest; don’t think about the message or the scripture; listen in the stillness
Day 7: Recommit yourself to your marriage

Applicable scripture listed under Discussion References.