Have you ever wondered what does it take to have a successful and fulfilling marriage? What have couples that have happy and fulfilling marriages figured out that struggling couples have not? They commit to making their marriage a priority! Let’s face it, whatever area of our lives (career, health, spirituality) that we focus on and give our full attention will be successful. Where we put our time, energy, and effort will grow and magnify, that is just the reality of it. Marriage is no different. If we want to have a successful and vibrant marriage then we MUST make a commitment to make our relationship a priority.
If your marriage matters and means something important to you then decide TODAY that you will fight for your marriage by making it a priority in your life. The meaning that we attach to our relationship (positive or negative) will determine how we feel about the relationship and we will act accordingly. If we are struggling in our marriage we begin to tell ourselves…we are falling out of love…my spouse doesn’t understand me….we are just different people now…things will never change….this marriage thing is just too hard. If we consistently tell ourselves this story over and over again we begin to believe that it’s true. We begin to see our marriage as a failure with no hope to save it. The minute we attach that meaning to our relationship, we quit fighting for our marriage.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1601 says this about marriage; “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
CCC 1603 says “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…God himself is the author of marriage…Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes…The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”
When we look at marriage from the perspective of the Catholic Church it changes everything. Sadly, many Catholics are not aware of or lose sight of the significant meaning of sacramental marriage. When we view, understand, and believe that marriage is something holy, created by God, raised to the dignity of a sacrament, and ordered toward the good of the spouses and the well-being of society…we begin to live out our sacrament with a sense of purpose and mission.
The proper perspective will help us think about our marriage in a different way and it will lead us to treat our relationship with the highest dignity. This perspective will help us make decisions that put our marriage first, not last. Meaning, you say no to the attitudes and activities that don’t serve your marriage, and say yes to making your relationship a priority. When your marriage is in a good place, everyone wins…your marriage, your family, and society!
Are you ready to pivot and start making your relationship a priority? If you desire a deeper connection with your spouse, consider implementing the 3 Cs to Happiness that will help you create a fulfilling marriage. Make a commitment to practice the 3 Cs to Happiness consistently, be intentional about growing your relationship, and strive to transform and build the relationship you desire!
- Commitment to Quality Communication – Make sure you are making time daily to connect with your spouse on an emotional level….cut out the superficial stuff…get down to what really matters in life (family, intimacy, spirituality, career, finances, in-laws, personal struggles and concerns, dreams and desires). It’s amazing how the quantity and quality of communication declines in a relationship after several years of married life, we simply take each other for granted and it shouldn’t be that way. If you strive to improve the quality of your communication (try to understand how your spouse “feels” about a given situation) you will connect on a deeper emotional level and that will spill into other areas of your relationship in a positive way (i.e. sexual relationship, empathy for your spouse).
- Connect as a Couple – A common error that married couples make after several years of marriage is that they stop making time to connect as a couple. They allow distractions and the busyness of life to make excuses not to spend quality time together as a couple to re-connect. It’s critical that you keep that energy and joy that connected you as a couple when you first started dating. Be creative and look for ways or activities that you can do as a couple that will bring some excitement and fun into your relationship. Surprise your spouse with an unexpected gift, write them a love letter and tell them how much your relationship means to you, be playful and laugh together (not enough couples do this), go for a walk and talk about your dreams/desires, read a book on how to improve your relationship and discuss what you are learning. These are just a few examples you can try but the key point is to get started!!
- Connect with Christ – An important element to creating a fulfilling marriage is to integrate spirituality into your relationship. Someone once said “we overestimate the natural and underestimate the supernatural”. That is 100% correct! If we really want to take our relationship to the next level, we MUST seriously consider connecting with Christ. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, “God himself is the author of marriage”, so why not turn to the author and creator of marriage for guidance on how to build a successful marriage. Connecting with Christ will fuel the love and passion in your marriage. Make an effort to attend Mass together as a couple/family, pray together and for each other, read scripture, and receive the sacrament of reconciliation for healing and forgiveness. Return to the sacraments and your marriage will receive the graces it needs to not only survive but thrive.
By practicing the 3 Cs to Happiness and focusing on making your marriage a priority you will reap the rewards of a happy and fulfilling marriage!