Every bride hopes for a meaningful marriage that stands the test of time. But just how do we get there? Especially in the midst of a culture that screams selfishness and expediency above loyalty?

I almost titled this post “3 Habits for Happy Marriages.” The urge to gloss over this subject and slap on a bright and shiny Pin-happy graphic was strong! But there is more to marriage than just being happy. Now, does my marriage make me happy? Of course! Am I married to the best husband on planet earth? A thousand times yes!

However, as any old married couple will tell you, there is always a little “worse” with the “better.” Sometimes a bit of “sickness” with the “health.” Happiness doesn’t always come easy. Meaning, however, can be a consistent thread through the fabric of a marriage. So let’s take an open look at what builds a meaningful marriage. Here are three habits that have the power to transform your marriage into one that lasts.

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The 80/20% Rule

In the book Love & Respect, Dr. Eggerichs gives a simple strategy to keep the focus on the positive. As you hit those bumpy patches in your marriage (because you will!), remind yourself that 80% of your relationship is enriching, loving, and meaningful. Then decide to let that 20% slide away. The key idea is to make a habit of searching for the good in each other. You find what you look for!

Choose Your Love and Love Your Choice

It might seem like a distant era, but not too much time has passed since our ancestors took part in arranged marriages. What a privilege and responsibility it is to choose your love. We put a lot of weight on this freedom to choose, but equal importance lies in the responsibility to love! As you travel through the ups and downs of marriage, remember you have meaning and purpose tied up in your spouse. You’re on a mission to give a beautiful partnership to another human being. What could be more meaningful than that?

Dream Big Together

What dreams and goals do you have for your marriage? Where is your family headed right now? One of the biggest joys in marriage is learning how to share and build dreams with your spouse. Make a habit, let’s say once a month, to spend a date night with your spouse dreaming and scheming! Nothing adds meaning like a shared purpose. Dreams are as simple as planning a slow family day next weekend or as big as setting a new business goal. Write down some short and long-term dreams, then pray, plan, and take action!

Meaningful marriage. It’s not the elusive creature you thought it was! Make time today to practice these three habits for meaningful marriages. And you know what? You just might create a happy marriage along the way!

Tell me, what habits build meaning and fulfillment in your marriage?