BY Dr. Josh Kruse

5 Simple Ways to Make Your Marriage Better

God deeply cares about you and your marriage! He wants you to thrive in your marriage by showing love to your spouse and helping each other become more and more like Jesus. Here are 5 simple ways you can strengthen your marriage.

1. Be filled with the Holy Spirit

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”  Galatians 5:22-23a.

What a difference it would make if you added some love, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control to your marriage? God says that all who are thirsty can come to Him and drink. His Spirit will fill you to overflowing!

Imagine how your days might look if you woke up each morning and spent time with God, asking Him to fill you with His Spirit and help you see ways to show His love to your spouse.

2. Ask Them When They Have Felt Most Connected to You, and Do Those Things

In couples counselling, I often ask, “when did you feel most connected to your spouse” as a way for them to hear what draws their partner to them. The risk is that we don’t know what helps our spouse feel connected, so we either don’t pour in anywhere at all, or we lean into ways of connecting that have a limited impact.

In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman says that people often love out of their primary way of receiving love, but it may not be their spouse’s way of receiving love. If we’re being super practical, don’t spend a lot of time and energy in areas with little return. Focus your love towards areas that are most impactful to them.

Follow up your question with, “what was it about that time/event/action that was impactful for you?” This helps you understand what they took from it, which can help you further understand what made it so special to them. Once you know what makes them feel loved and connected, lean into these ways of loving.


“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Proverbs 16:24

How you say something is just as, if not more, important than what you say. Our nervous systems are primed to notice conflict and negativity. It helps us stay safe in this world. When we pick up on a negative tone, our brain moves into a level of alertness to look for additional negativity and move into fight or protective mode. We’re typically not consciously aware of it, but it is often going on under the surface.

You have the power to raise their alertness or help reduce their alertness through how you engage with them. If this is a struggle for you because you are passionate or sometimes edgy, then use the Power of the Pause. As soon as you can catch yourself, take a breath, think through what message you want to give, then approach calmly.

4. Feelings Before Fixing

“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
James 1:19

Here’s an oversimplified depiction of our psychology.

We have parts of our brain and nervous system that can think, feel, and sense and they are interconnected. When we are activated/triggered/alarmed/upset, our body produces a reaction such as a racing heart, knot in our stomach, tension, heaviness, and more. With this, we can experience fear, sadness, anger, hurt, loneliness, etc. We also have a myriad of thoughts, conclusions, judgments, and reasoning for the situation. We’re pretty complex.

The more upsetting a situation is, the less access we have to our reasoning and logic. This is because emotions flood the brain and need addressing before the logic centers kick into gear. So, when your spouse is talking about an upsetting situation, your listening and emotional understanding will help open up their ability to add more reasoning to the situation. However, if you try to add reason and logic while they are in an emotional state, you will contribute to greater upset (if you haven’t already seen it, then try it, you’ll find out pretty quick).

5. Assume Good Intentions

Is it possible that when they forgot to pick up milk on the way home that they weren’t trying to upset you? I’m not saying that it isn’t upsetting–I’m saying that it might not have been their intention. We do careless and at times hurtful things, yet rarely are they done with the intent to hurt or upset.

So, if they have upset you in some way by their actions or inaction, then before casting judgment, ask them to help you understand what happened. Share the impact it had on you, and if it was an honest mistake, show them mercy.


Please check out our Counselling and Marriage Classes should you need support.

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