The power of noticing good things in your relationship is incredible. Keep a list of what you appreciate about your spouse and your marriage — especially if you’re supporting a friend through a divorce.

Some couples surprise each other with little notes of what they appreciate about each other. One wife said that it blessed her greatly to see that her husband had jotted down, “I love how committed you are to our family — running kids everywhere, working full time and still finding time to be there to listen to our daughter when her boyfriend broke up with her.”

Look for the good things

When you’re looking for good things, you’ll find them. It cheers the human heart to focus on the positive things happening in life instead of concentrating on the negatives and things that are lacking.

Surround yourself with people who are willing to fight for your marriage

Become a part of a marriage small group

Few things are more reassuring than being around other couples who are willing to be vulnerable about their marriage relationship. Others in the group can offer hope, encouragement and support to those who are struggling. They can pray for one another as they encounter difficulties or blessings. And they can also redirect a member of the group if that person is dishonoring his or her spouse or marriage.

Care for your marriage every day

Some married people believe they can focus the majority of their attention on careers, kids or personal pursuits. They don’t realize that a strong marriage needs time and attention each and every day.

Marriage is like a living entity that each spouse is 100% responsible to care for. Feed your marriage by spending quality time with your spouse, maintaining a commitment to work through conflict in healthy ways, experiencing fun adventures and having great sex. Talk to your husband or wife about areas that are lacking and then develop ideas about how you can strengthen the weaknesses.

During flu season, you’re at higher risk for an acute illness. You can be intentional to strengthen your immune system so you’re less likely to get sick. In a similar way, when a friend goes through divorce, you’re at a higher risk for divorce. However, you can be intentional about strengthening your marital immune system so you don’t catch the negativity. By doing this, your marriage will become even better than before.

Erin Smalley serves as the strategic spokesperson for Focus on the Family’s marriage ministry and develops content for that department.

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