Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

10 Tips for Proper Marriage Maintenance

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
A car engine needs a tune up
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Does your marriage need a tune up? Try these tips for a marriage maintenance weekend.

I once heard that the best way to keep your car running well for years is to have the oil changed regularly.

I ignored that advice when I was younger and always wondered why my cars wore out so quickly. But I’ve taken my last two cars in for regular maintenance, and they both lasted over a decade and kept going strong. The mechanics do a “100-point inspection” each time the car is in for an oil change and let me know what’s working well and what needs attention. It’s not always cheap or convenient, but it’s worth the investment.

Your marriage is a lot more valuable than your car; doesn’t it deserve regular maintenance, too?

My wife, Diane, and I started doing annual “marriage maintenance” several years ago. It has taken a lot of different forms, but the purpose is always the same: to stop, look under the hood, see what’s working well, what needs attention and what changes are necessary. Life can create a lot of wear and tear on a relationship, so taking time to get your marriage back to peak condition is critical.

A maintenance retreat

We realized early that it was tough to do marriage maintenance at home. There were just too many distractions. It would be like having your mechanic work on your car while you were running errands. We needed to get away and make our marriage maintenance time special, so we rented an inexpensive hotel room by the beach. That gave us the chance to take long walks along the sand, talk, go out for coffee and enjoy being together.

My wife planned our first getaway. I thought it would just be a weekend away, and maybe we’d talk about our marriage over dinner one night. When we got there, she had prepared a printed agenda covering multiple areas of life — mental, physical, social, spiritual and financial. I wasn’t ready for that, but we trudged through it. It was a rough attempt at maintenance, but at least we connected.

Now we still prepare an agenda, but it’s woven throughout a weekend of casual, relaxing activities. We leave our computers at home, turn off our phones and leave the TV off. We’ve talked ahead of time about what we’d each like to do and build that in as much as possible. Our mission is simple: enjoy each other and talk about how we can enjoy each other more in the year ahead. If we achieve that goal, all the other details tend to fall in place.

Making a list of topics and thinking of things to say about each one can be tough. We’ve discovered that the marriage maintenance weekend is easier if we each come up with questions in advance, combine them and print them out. We do this a week or so ahead of time so we can think through our responses and jot them down before our time away. We don’t discuss them until the weekend begins.

Once we arrive at our destination and settle in, we read our first question — and we both give our initial response. Then we’ll take a walk and keep the discussion going. Our goal is to hear each other’s heart and look through each other’s eyes — not to defend our position. After each discussion, we might cover one more question — then we take a break and do something different to clear our minds.

Ground rules

Before the retreat, it’s good to agree on some basic communication rules. Those could include things like:

  • Listen completely without responding in defense.
  • Only ask questions to clarify what they said, not to manipulate the discussion.
  • Finish by asking the other person if they feel understood.
  • Acknowledge emotion as it comes up (“I’m feeling frustrated when I hear that.”) instead of making accusations (“How could you feel that way?”)
  • Repeat the goal often during your weekend: Getting an honest look at your relationship and coming up with a plan to make it better in the next year.
  • Remember: It’s about working together for a better relationship, not deciding who’s right and who’s wrong.

Discover the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Marriage

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take a free marriage assessment to identify the key areas where your marriage could use improvement and the tools that will help you strengthen your bond with your spouse. Take the free assessment!

Your 10-point inspection

Here are 10 questions you can use to build your weekend. Use them as a template or replace any of them with your own relevant questions. Don’t feel you have to get through all 10. It’s not a school assignment; it’s a structure to work together on your relationship. If one or two questions take your entire marriage maintenance weekend, that’s OK. You can always plan another weekend a few months later if needed.

Start with these questions and rearrange them in the best order for you:

  • What do you think is going right in our relationship?
  • What do you want our relationship to look like a year from now?
  • Are you happy? What does that look like?
  • What’s one thing I could do differently to be a better spouse?
  • Are you proud of us? Why?
  • Do you feel respected by me?
  • What do you need from me that I’m not giving you?
  • What’s your dream — if money, time or circumstances weren’t an issue?
  • What’s my blind spot?
  • What do I do that makes you feel the most loved?

The prescription

You’ve spent the weekend diagnosing and celebrating your relationship. Wrap it up by prescribing three things you’ll focus on and exactly what action steps you’ll take. Instead of saying, “We’ll spend more time together,” say, “We’ll go out for dinner every Friday evening and review the best parts of our week together.” Keep your goal simple and make midcourse corrections as needed.

Is it worth it? It has been for us. After 43 years, our relationship is stronger than ever. It’s not always easy, but regular marriage maintenance has resulted in this: We still like each other.

Time for an oil change? Put it on your calendar; you’ll never regret it!

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!