How to Make Your Marriage “Work”

make marriage work

Like your job, marriage is hard work at times. And like your job, it’s important to understand things like your mission, core values, and goals in marriage, too. Consider these six things you may embrace to succeed in the workplace, and think about how you might apply them in your marriage.

1. Know your mission.

The best businesses have a clear, big-picture aim that everyone rallies around. It’s what keeps them all moving in the same direction, even if they may have different roles to play. These aspirations should set a direction that unites and excites. Where is your marriage aiming? For Susan and me, marriage is a covenant, not a contract. It is ultimately a holy union between God, husband, and wife—one established to glorify God. We want to live and love one another in a way that honors and points people to Him.

2. Identify your core values.

A big picture can be seen better when it is well-framed. Core convictions, as I like to call them, define how you will behave or act. You probably know companies that emphasize being service-oriented, or where “the customer comes first,” or “we do everything with excellence.” At Family First, our core convictions are to be “truth warriors, humble helpers, courageous pioneers, and God-gazers”—these values shape what we do. They are also values that can apply to marriage as well.

3. Set clear goals.

The noblest of intentions have to be lived out amid the challenging circumstances of everyday life that can distract us. So it is important to have specific targets to aim for. Goals are measurable and tangible. At work that could be a certain number of sales calls, appointments, subscribers, applications, or closings. At home, it may be that because you know time together is important for nurturing your relationship, you schedule a weekly date night or time to exercise or read a book together. It may even be important to plan time for intimacy; that doesn’t sound very romantic, but when life is busy it’s easy for this kind of closeness to get squeezed out. This list of 7 Love Actions to Show Your Spouse may jump-start some other ideas.

4. Commit to teamwork.

The best workplaces avoid focusing on a few star players and recognize that everyone has an important part to play on the whole. They emphasize the need to help others succeed in their roles rather than just looking at them to make your job easier. In the same way, thinking “we” or “us” rather than “I” and “me” encourages selflessness. Teamwork covers every area of your life together— including money.

5. Welcome performance review.

Usually once a year, your work supervisor will give you an evaluation, affirm what you have done well and point out areas where you may need to improve. Some companies offer a 360 review where you can request anonymous feedback from all those you work with and around. Ask your spouse to review your performance. Here’s what I learned when I asked Susan, Did I Make the Grade in My Marriage Vows?

6. Pursue continuing education.

Things don’t stay the same in the workplace, and this is true at home too. People and circumstances change requiring a new understanding, new knowledge, and new skills. If your marriage is to grow, you need to keep feeding and nurturing it. Do you recognize areas in which you need to develop: becoming a better listener, resolving conflict, dealing with emotional and intimacy issues that may arise? Read a book, go to a conference or seminar, listen to a podcast, or talk with a trusted friend to grow as a spouse. Consider these 5 Reasons You Need Marriage Mentors.

Yes, work can be demanding at times, but you know the benefits of a job well done. By applying the same mindset to your marriage, you will enjoy so much more than financial rewards. You’ll be richer in ways that can’t be measured in just dollars and cents.

In what ways can you “work” at your marriage? Share your thoughts and experiences.

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