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When we marry, we don't exactly start with a clean slate, but it is an important chance to set 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 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:

Make devotions part of your routine. 

One of the most beneficial habits is to spend time together in devotions and prayer. Prayer together has a way of knitting our hearts together and strengthening our relationship. Shared spiritual practice is the number one indicator of a lifelong marriage. 

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. 

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. Time together away from the stresses of everyday life will keep you relationship fresh.

Decide to be an encourager. 

Dr Phil is fond of saying that we should start our day by thinking about how you can make your spouse's day better. We will be blessed as we choose to bless each other.

Stick to a spending plan. 

That means first creating a plan, and then sticking to it. Not only does it keep your finances under control, it gives you the chance to discuss together how you want to prioritize your mutual resources. 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. 

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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