course, a truly solid marriage takes much more than luck, but in the spirit of lucky 7s, let's look at seven tips to help
Saturday's brides and grooms look beyond finger-crossing en route to cultivating a lasting marriage.
Marriage may not be what you think it will be.
spouse has different expectations of what a marriage will be like. More often than not, these expectations just aren't realistic.
Premarital counseling - A requirement by many pastors - is a great tool to help couples work through their differing opinions
of what married life will be like before the vows are made. But consistent, ongoing and honest communication will need to
continue throughout the relationship - as will mutual love and respect.
Get on the same page financially.
is often the number one cause of conflict in a marriage. Couples should sit down - before they are married or soon after -
to work out a budget they both can live with, and again set clear expectations for their marriage. This will allow a couple
to save, deal with unexpected expenses and charitable giving, and still allow them the freedom to plan for "fun expenses."
Sex & intimacy.
is an important part of any marriage, but an area that couples are often afraid to discuss openly. Couples have varying sexual
appetites and desires, so they can't compare themselves to other couples or what appears "normal" in television and movies.
Each couple will have their own unique "comfort zone." Often, dysfunction in a sexual relationship has a lot to do with a
couple's overall health. Even though you may not want to admit that your sex life has fizzled, it may signal a deeper issue
and should not be overlooked.
Develop a plan for resolving conflict.
couples have conflict, and it's OK to have disagreements in a marriage. However, verbal or physical abuse is never healthy.
Husbands and wives should never attack each other with statements like "I hate you" or "I wish I never married you." Instead,
they should deal with disagreements quickly, attack the problem not the person, stick with the subject at hand and remember
it is more important to maintain the relationship than win the fight. Couples should always strive to keep their disagreements
in private -- to argue in public can humiliate a spouse, making him or her become defensive and less likely to reconcile.
What happens when we "fall out of love"?
who define love as that weak-in-the-knees feeling that comes on a first date occasionally will wonder if they still love their
spouse. Romance is only one type of love in a marriage. At times, spouses may feel like they don't even like each other anymore.
Unconditional love must always be the foundation of your marriage -- not romantic feelings, which can come and go. Successful
married couples are those who develop deep friendships with their mates: They laugh together, cry together, do things they
love together. Couples that have happy marriages often see their spouse as their best friend.
A marriage takes three.
many couples, their faith is a common bond in their marriage. Faith can help Strengthen couples when they are faced with overwhelming
stress in their lives, and churches can provide young couples a supportive community (especially for couples living far from
family). It is important to look at spiritual matters before getting married to be sure both spouses agree how God will factor
into their marriage.
Children are stressful on a marriage.
the sleepless nights, endless diaper changes and constant feedings, couples quickly realize that having a child is one of
the most stressful and intense moments in their marriage. That baby eventually will sleep through the night, but then it's
carpools and soccer practice. When children arrive, couples need to be prepared to make sacrifices, period. The addition of
children changes marriage forever, and there is never a time when maintaining a loving, lasting marriage is more important.It is possible to have a marriage that truly lasts until "to
death do us part." But it will take much more than luck. It will take persistence, hard work and lots of honest communication.