When it comes to giving marriage advice, I don't claim to be a marriage expert -- but I do count myself blessed to be married to my husband (for 8 years and counting!). I am also blessed that I can rely on the wisdom of more mature married couples around me -- my parents, and my 'titos''and 'titas' in my extended family, as well as in our community.
Speaking of our community, recently, as part of our 33rd Anniversary Celebrations, my husband and I joined thousands of other couples in renewing our marriage vows. It was a testimony to the beauty and sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony; it was also an attempt to break the Guinness World Record of the most number of couples to renew their vows.
Truly, it was a heartwarming sight to see the couples around us at the Luneta Grandstand pledging their commitment to love, honor and cherish each other. I loved that our three kids were there, too, as we renewed our vows! Most of all, I love how our marriage has grown stronger through the years, despite all our imperfections, weaknesses and trials.
So, whether you're newlyweds or a married couple with more experience, do allow me to share a few things you can do to strengthen your relationship with your spouse:
1. Keep your 'love triangle' strong.
Your marriage should be in the form of a 'love triangle' -- an equilateral triangle with God at the top center 'corner.' Strengthen your relationship with Him and with each other by keeping the lines of communication open -- with God through prayer, and with each other as a couple through daily conversations and weekly dialogues.
Also, don't forget to continue getting to know each other even after you are married. I don't think there is a way for us to ever fully know someone, even if we have been married to that person for what seems like forever. So have fun in exploring each other's lives, interests, dislikes, etc.
The same goes for God too -- pursue Him, get to know Him on a deeper level. Your marriage -- and your individual lives -- will surely be the better for it!
Photo from The Youth for Life - Y4L Facebook page
2. Don't sweat the small stuff.
This may be easier said than done but when it comes to your marriage, don't focus on the small things that may irritate you (e.g. he leaves his dirty socks lying around, or she snores when she's asleep). Don't nitpick either, and focus your energy and efforts instead on the bigger 'issues' or concerns of your family.
When it comes to the 'small stuff,' sometimes the best thing to do is -- in the immortal words of Elsa in Frozen -- "let it go."
Does your husband not bring you flowers anymore every single day, like he used to when you were still dating? Let it go.
Does your wife forget to prepare your favorite dish because she was too tired taking care of the kids so she was only able to heat up the leftovers? Let it go.
Of course, if there is something your spouse does that really, really bothers you, you can also try talking about it with him or her -- in a calm, collected manner, of course.
My husband and I, as newlyweds
3. Cherish the 'now.'
Married people (present company included) sometimes take advantage of their spouses by not cherishing their presence and the present.
We are too preoccupied with our mobile phones and gadgets, and forget to gaze into the eyes of our loved ones when they talk to us. We want to know what's in our News Feed more than the news our spouse has to share with us at the end of a long day at the office.
I admit I am guilty of this many times -- focusing more on social media than socializing with my husband (and my kids!). Thank God then for second chances -- every day is a 'second chance' actually; a chance to forget our gadgets for a while and cherish the 'now' with our loved ones!
Of course, the things I've mentioned here are just part of the 'tip of the iceberg' -- there are certainly a lot more things couples can do to strengthen their marriages. Do you have any suggestions you'd like to share? Leave a comment below or send me a Tweet @tinasrodriguez!