Can you imagine the effort and pain of building a marriage relationship? You put in many years of emotional, spiritual and even financial investment. Along with the relationship also come the blessings of friendships, families, children and even memorable experiences that can never be taken for granted. The big question is, how can we invest differently in our relationships so that they become more stable, and a source of real joy and fulfillment?As a couple, you can choose the direction you want your marriage relationship to take. Relationships that pass the test of time are those where the couples involved purposefully and consistently invest in, find out, and pay attention to those things that trigger growth rather than discontent. Here are a few things you can do this year to make your relationship more stable and grounded.

Choose to love your spouse unconditionally

True love is not just based on feelings. It calls upon us to accept and appreciate our spouses just as they are, with their strengths, weaknesses and differences. A marriage relationship is not supposed to be an arena for competition, but rather, an opportunity for complementing each other. We should be willing to make concessions and sacrifices for the survival of the relationship.

Do not take each other for granted

One of the worst enemies of marriage relationships is a situation where one of the partners feels that they are no longer needed or valued. Such a feeling might stem from the way they are treated, or whether their voice is being heard or not. It is very easy for the aggrieved partner to slowly start drifting away from their spouse. Meanwhile, if at one point you feel being taken for granted by your spouse, it is important to be honest and voice your concern. If not dealt with promptly, this feeling has the tendency of causing a sense of emptiness and lack of fulfillment in the relationship.

Be responsible and accountable in your behavior

If you expect your marriage relationship to grow and stand the test of time, then be ready to demand acceptable behavior of each other. You must commit to operate within certain expected standards and norms. And whenever one of you falls short of these norms, you should humbly be willing to be held accountable to your spouse. However, do not forget that nobody is perfect and there are bound to be disappointments, hurts and even differences of opinion as you endeavor to do this.

Always exercise self-discipline

Self-control is essential for a content and peaceful marriage relationship. It is the ability to restrain yourself and be in charge of your feelings and actions. It is believed that self-control can make all the difference between living a life full of satisfaction or regrets. Obviously, there will be ups and downs in the relationship which can stretch and swing you from one emotional state to the other. But self-control will enable you to stay level-headed and make sober decisions, and act responsibly in every situation.

Provide opportunities for each other to vent

It is healthy for our bodies to naturally expel toxic substances when we exhale or visit the bathroom. Similarly, our emotions also accumulate toxins: those negative feelings, pains and stress. A healthy marriage relationship should therefore have a mechanism of venting issues that are of concern to a partner. This will help you to avoid a pile-up of such unresolved issues which have the adverse effect of causing great pain, and consequently a rift in the relationship. Psychologists agree that venting is actually a healthy habit, as long as is it done in an appropriate manner and time. You need to be sensitive as to the time and place where such venting is done.

Be creative in the way you relate

A couple that is devoted to their marriage relationship will always discover new ways of making their bond stronger, regardless of how long they have been married. Sometimes as children come in and marital responsibilities increase, you stop doing those things that brought a spark into the relationship. With time boredom might creep in affecting various aspects of your relationship including sex. In order to keep the fire of your marriage burning, you should creatively and continuously treat each other in ways that would change the course of the relationship for the better. Always remember the first love.

In conclusion

Relationships have a direct bearing on the quality of life we are able to live. We should therefore be keen on how we build our marriage relationships. Unfortunately, says Steve Saccone, “Many of us often give less than optimal effort, focus, and intentionality on how we spend, invest, and give into our relationships.”