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When we marry, we don't exactly start with a clean slate. Beginning life together is an important chance to set positive patterns that will last a lifetime. Brides and grooms each bring a mix of good and bad habits into the new home--meshing them well and thoughtfully planning for the long term are important. What good habits will you establish in your new home? What not so good habits do you want to quit? Will you encourage the best in one another? Good habits require some cultivating, but they will benefit your relationship in the long run. Here are a few good habits that we recommend:

Foster devotional habits

Make devotions a part of your routine. One of the most beneficial habits is to spend time together in scripture reading and prayer. Prayer together has a way of knitting our hearts together and strengthening our relationship. Shared spiritual practice unites a couple in shared love and purpose.

Enjoy technology-free mealtimes

Choose to eat together away from the TV or other electronics. Meals are an incredibly important social time for sharing about your day and discovering the things that weigh on each other's hearts. The TV can be relaxing, but it also robs us quality time together. Make eating in front of the TV an exception instead of daily practice.

Take regular date time

Make time to regularly get away from life's busy demands to have fun together as a couple. Even if there is no money for doing anything, get out of the house and have fun together. Enjoy a picnic or a bike ride. Take a walk or play frisbee in a neighborhood park. Time together away from the stresses of everyday life will keep your relationship fresh.

Lean into gratitude

Decide to be an encourager. Don't take one another for granted, but look for the positives and name them. Chose to see the blessings and offer appreciation for each one. It is easy to loose sight of the all the blessings we have been given when we are jealous of the blessings of others.

Stick to a spending plan

Sticking to a plan involves first creating a plan, and then committing to it. Pay attention to your expenses so that they do not exceed your income, and realize that talking/arguing about money is often a metaphor for talking your relationship. Not only does good collaboration keep your finances under control, it gives you the chance to establish your priorities.

We all bring baggage into marriage. How can your spouse help you be your best? Discuss together which habits you want to eliminate from your normal pattern and those that you want to incorporate in your life. Don't worry if you don't always get it right, keep trying. Some couples get frustrated when they can't stick to regular devotions and give up all together, for example. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water; give yourself credit for trying and work together to find the best routines for you.

 

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