I truly believe that love is a decision. Too many people claim to be unhappy in their marriage, because they are no longer in love. They have chosen that. No one, not even your spouse, can make you not love them. I love the quote by President Thomas S. Monson that says, "Choose your love, love your choice." Here is my choice:
What are some ways that will help me love my choice? It is important to know who your choice is and by that I mean that you need to know your spouse. Your spouse will be a different person 5 years into marriage, than who you married, so it is so important to continue to date and TALK to your spouse. Do you remember when you were dating before marriage and how you always put forth your best self, took that person to the best of activities, talked about important things, and forgave easily? Keep doing it!
As I thought how I could improve my marriage and be even happier (How could I be any happier?!), I constructed a list of things that need to be in marriage, things that I already have in my marriage, things that I need to improve, and things that I need to add.
Here is my list: -pray together –fast together –think of the other first --serve one another –support each other in endeavors -- there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing. –obey the commandments –substitute I and my with we and our ---family, not self at the core of decisions –kneel in prayer ---continue temple attendance monthly or more –confide in marriage partner always/first and in private conversations first –selflessness in marriage no matter how you think the other is doing on that level. –patience -- You have to always be on the same page, working together.
Here is a video on expressions of love!
I also want to share with you one of my very most favorite conference talks about marriage,
"The Eternal Blessings of Marriage" by Elder Richard G. Scott. I love hearing Elder Scott speak of his dear Jeanene. This is how we should all speak of our marriage partner. He truly believes and knows that she is a daughter of God and he knows that he is blessed by having her by his side throughout life's journey.
The next thing I wish to share is a key to happiness in life and definitely in marriage. We must be covenant keepers and commandment keepers. If we are not, we cannot truly be happy and we will see the faults in others and definitely in ourselves. If your spouse knew you were breaking covenants, they would help and encourage you to turn from those evil ways, wouldn't they? Everything should be open between you and your spouse; you cannot hide secrets from them as this will cause tension and unease in your home and in your marriage.
Seen this before? Well, it is one awesome way to have a happy marriage. If you forget God, you will most likely forget your marriage and it's importance. I would like to direct your attention to a lesson about this principle from LDS.org.
As I thought about marriage and how important it is to nurture and care for it I thought of cars. I thought about how when purchasing a car we try to find one that suits our needs and that will help us accomplish certain things. We usually want that car to last us as long as possible. Let's say that we have decided to buy a brand new car. It is great, no one has used it, it has new oil, gas, everything is in perfect condition and so we drive. We drive for a long time and we use that car whenever we need to go somewhere. For months it runs great. We put gas in it and it goes and we are able to accomplish all that we need to. Then, things start to wear out and the car starts to run poorly. We haven't maintained our car and given it what it needs. We totally didn't think about it's needs and that we needed to change the oil and check all the fluids, etc. The problems could go on and on until our car is completely worthless. Now, most likely enough things will go wrong and need fixing long before it hits the point of no return. The car definitely needs a tune up and needs a lot of attention.
This car is similar to a lot of marriages. We get married and we think this is it. Finally, we have arrives. We got what we needed. Let's be honest. Everything needs some sort of care. Your marriage is much more important than a car, so why not care for it and wash it up and change the oil every once in a while?
I would encourage anyone reading here to view a particular movie. This movie is so touching and has the right idea on this topic, about caring for our marriage and for our spouse. the movie is Fireproof and it is available on Netflix as well.
More highly encouraged resources: https://www.lds.org/liahona/2000/05/nurturing-a-love-that-lasts?lang=eng
(In regards to Chapter 3 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")