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8 Keys to a Strong Marriage (Especially after Kids)

Are you praying for a strong marriage?  Do you often wonder what it takes to begin building a strong marriage foundation so that when life gets hard your marriage lasts?  Today we are blessed to have a guest share some strong marriage tips, but first…

Common Questions About Having A Strong Marriage

People write to hopejoyinchrist.com every day asking questions about how to have a strong marriage.  Now what they might say something like this:

Explain the elements of marriage that make is successful.

How can we have a happy marriage?

What is the secret to a happy marriage?

Do you have marriage tips for the wife fighting alone?

All of these can be answered by sharing about laying the foundation for a strong, healthy, godly marriage. I will tie those questions into five.

  • What are the 3 most important things in a marriage?
  • Are There strong marriage quotes that can motivate me?
  • What is a powerful marriage?
  • What are 5 traits of a successful marriage?
  • Are there strong marriage Bible verses that can help?

What Are the 3 Most Important Things in a Marriage?

“And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NASB

If only we could narrow down a list of things that make a marriage last forever.  In truth, I believe we can say there are 3 things that we must have to have a strong marriage.  

  1. God must be at the center.
  2. Commitment to the covenant.
  3. Community to hold you up.

Read more about how to be a godly wife –14 Characteristics of a Godly Wife That Will Save Your Marriage

Are There Strong Marriage Quotes That Can Motivate Me?

These are quotes about a strong marriage that inspire and encourage me.  They are from men I respect who had amazing marriages to prove they could speak into marriage.  

“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

― Gary L. Thomas, Sacred Marriage: Celebrating Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline

“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.”

― Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

“My wife often said that ‘a good marriage consists of two good forgivers.’”

― Bily Graham
Make no mistake, building a strong marriage is a choice you make each day.   This choice involves living out the characteristics of a strong marriage intentionally.   Click To Tweet

What is a Powerful Marriage?

People ask about what a powerful marriage is all the time.  What I hear is that they long to see their marriage make a Kingdom impact.  To see that walked out it is critical to understand the Biblical reasons for marriage.  

So often we go into marriage to fulfill our own happiness.  God however designed marriage for far greater things.  

Read more here about the 10 Biblical Reasons for Marriage That Still Apply Today

What are 5 Traits of a Successful Marriage?

This is a question I like to reframe.  We have to understand what success is to know the traits of a successful marriage.  

Many times, people come to me believing a successful marriage is one in which divorce is not the end.  I would argue that that is not success at all. 

Success can be defined as – accomplishing a purpose.

What is the purpose of marriage?  

God often compared our relationship in marriage to our relationship with Him.  We can believe He has a purpose and so what we should be asking about are the traits of a godly marriage:

  1. Submission to God
  2. Bible Study
  3. Prayer
  4. Fasting
  5. Realistic Expectations

Dig in deeper about these 16 Characteristics of a Godly Marriage – A Successful Marriage in God’s eyes. 

Are There Strong Marriage Bible Verses That Can Help?

The unspoken key to a strong marriage is of course knowing God’s word and hiding it in your heart.  There are many many strong marriage Bible verses that can help with this.  Tabatha will share many in the article below, but I also want to give you a list to pray through.

Find a strategy to create prayers for marriages in trouble.

Learn how to fight for an unequally yoked marriage.

Here are 30 free verses to help build a stronger marriage today. 

Now, 8 keys to a strong marriage (especially after kids) from Tabatha, the author at A Joyfueled Journey.

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A Joyfueled Journey’s Story of a Strong Marriage

During our blissful months of dating and on into the honeymoon phase, I firmly believed that my husband and I could weather any storm that came our way. We deeply loved each other after all, and like every 24 year old knows that’s all it really takes to build a strong marriage, right?

Imagine my surprise when that newlywed stage ended and I discovered that marriage isn’t simply held together by love.

Yes, our decision to love is the foundation of it all, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Actually, there’s a LOT more to it than that. My marriage is far from perfect because my husband and I are far from perfect. However, ten years in, God has graciously taught us a thing or two about what it takes to make a marriage last.

What Makes A Strong Marriage?

What makes a strong marriage?  There are many characteristics of a strong marriage, but I believe there is one in particular that we pay far less attention to than is necessary.


When we approach marriage through the humble lens of grace, forgiveness, trust, and accepting the fact that we don’t have it all together God can begin to work. The “triangle analogy” is the perfect picture of God’s design for marriage. When a husband and wife (horizontal) are faithful to pursue their Creator and Savior (vertical) above all else they will naturally draw closer to one another as well.

God can use the trials in life as well as those in marriage to ultimately point us to our desperate need for a Savior. He alone can offer an unexplainable peace amidst the trials and hope to carry us through. Only through Jesus can our marriage be truly whole.

I know that I still have much to learn in regards to being a wife, but I am grateful for the grace God offers to gently lead us and the truths He provides in His Word. Marriage (especially after kids) takes work, but the fruit of our labor is a sweet reward. A strong marriage is beautiful indeed.

Related Post: 6 Tips to Create A Fruitful Marriage Relationship

8 Keys To A Strong Marriage

Although we are not as consistent in some of these areas as we’d like to be, these strong marriage tips below have helped us keep our focus when we begin to lose sight of what truly matters in life.

My husband and I still have our rocky moments, for we are both sinners living in a broken world. But when a marriage is built upon the truths of God’s Word instead of our ever-changing emotions we can remain steady even in the midst of the trials.

Let me share 8 of the biblical keys to a successful marriage that we have learned.

  1. Pursue Each Other
  2. Turn Off The Electronics
  3. Remember That You Are Not #1
  4. Talk Openly and Forgive Freely
  5. Regular Date Night
  6. Play Together
  7. Realize You Have an Enemy
  8. Pray Together For A Strong Marriage

Pursue Each Other

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

Genesis 2:24 NASAB

Pursuit comes rather easily to those falling in love… And not so much as the busyness increases and the stressors of life press down on your marriage.

If I neglect to push myself at the gym and work my muscles beyond their current capacity I will never gain muscular endurance or mass. Those muscles have to be worked beyond their limit and even torn in order to gain strength.

In much the same way, a strong marriage will never “just happen”.

It takes effort.

And it takes hard work.

It takes commitment and devotion.

And at times it takes denying ourselves comfort in order to do what is best for another. 

One small way to begin building a strong marriage foundation is by intentionally pursuing your spouse. It may not always be convenient or your preference, but it is more than worth it. 

Think about how your spouse receives love and then go for it! You could:

  • Surprise him with a favorite treat or special night out at his favorite place just to let him know that you’re paying attention to the details.
  • Softly whisper in his ear that you’re available after the kids go to bed (FYI this one is always a safe bet, ladies 😉 ).
  • Coming up from behind him for a hug or stealing him away for a kiss.

Choose something to let him know that you still only have eyes for him and that he alone is more than enough. Let him know that he is loved.

Turn Off The Electronics

Being a mother has brought more joy into my life than I can even put into words, but after a busy day of “moming” and a mile-long to-do list I’m usually more than ready for some peace and quiet and a break at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, this means that sometimes I reach for my phone or open up the laptop to wind down. This can take its toll on a marriage if we allow it to become our default each evening.

I strongly encourage you to take a break from technology in the evenings. Maybe set aside one day per week to shut it all down after dinner. If you’re wondering what to do instead… spend time with your spouse!

  • Have conversations like you used to when you were dating.
    Cuddle up close and relax together.
  • Try a game night
  • Set aside this time to do a couples devotional together.

Remember That You Are Not #1

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?”

James 4:1 NASB

We live in a culture that glorifies self. We’re bombarded with the message that we should follow our hearts and do whatever it takes to make ourselves happy.  All of this with little regard for the consequences or how our actions may negatively impact or hurt others in the process.

Sweet friend, this is a lie from the pit of hell, and this kind of mentality will destroy a marriage and family.

A marriage that is built upon pleasing ourselves is one that will crumble from the very beginning.

Marriage is about placing another’s needs above our own with no strings attached – this is the very definition of love. When both spouses look at marriage this way it is truly beautiful beyond words.

I’d like to encourage you to put your spouse first. Speak life into them. Find one way every single day to share words of encouragement, a sincere compliment, or go out of your way to do something kind to tangibly show your love. Remember that you are not here to serve yourself.

Related Post: Words of Affirmation for Him: The Best Gift for My Husband

Talk Openly and Forgive Freely

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”

Ephesians 4:26 NASB

My husband and I took a lengthy questionnaire at the end of our premarital counseling. We didn’t do so hot in a few of the categories, but to the delight of our pastor we somehow nailed “communication”. I cannot even begin to explain how beneficial this open communication has been to keep our marriage strong.

Now, if I’m honest, there are still times when I fail miserably at this and we waste precious time being upset with one another. There is such healing in letting go of our pride and coming to each other with gentleness.

Related Resource: Workshop – 10 Simple Marriage Communication Exercises to Help You Reconnect Now


So many arguments and disagreements can be avoided when we simply approach our spouse with a humble heart instead of making assumptions and harboring bitterness.

Please remember that you married a sinner, and YOU are a sinner. We will fail each other at times. It’s up to us to make the decision to forgive (as we’ve been graciously forgi ven ourselves) and move forward. Obviously, some hurts run deep and need to be addressed in greater detail (perhaps even with a counselor involved), but please don’t allow bitterness to take root in your heart.  

Related Post: 7 Steps to Thrive Through Forgiveness in Marriage

Regular Date Night

I remember reading a little piece of marriage advice that was thoughtfully written inside one of our wedding day cards nearly ten years ago. It simply encouraged us to never stop dating each other.

At the time I thought it was a kind tip, but one that most likely wouldn’t be a necessity for us. During our months of dating, even just a quiet evening having dinner or talking together at one of our places felt like a “date night” to us. In my mind we didn’t need anything special, we just needed to be together. Well, fast forward ten years and two sweet and strong-willed children later, and I can 100% vouch for this idea.

How Do You Have a Date Night As a Married Couple?

Intentional time spent together with our spouse is a must to build a strong marriage. And although children are a tremendous blessing, once they enter the picture that time together no longer comes as easily. In fact, sometimes it’s completely nonexistent.

I highly encourage you to find a reputable sitter that you feel comfortable leaving your kiddos with and purposefully plan at least one date night each month. It does not have to be fancy and can even be entirely free. If you have some friends with children around the same age as your own you can easily help each other out and watch each other’s children to save on money.

If an evening out isn’t always doable just plan a nice night together at home after the kids go to bed. There’s no wrong way here, just make an effort to spend time together and pour into your marriage.

Play Together

“moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.”

Ecclesiastes 3:13 NASB

What was one of your favorite memories from your time dating? Did it involve smiles or laughter? Were you playful together?

Somewhere along the way, as the busyness and responsibilities set in we can begin to lose our light-heartedness and playfulness if we’re not careful. Obviously, we all have unique personalities and some of us are more serious than others. This doesn’t mean that we should ever stop having fun together and enjoying each other’s company. Start a new hobby together. Get in some physical activity together. Flirt with each other.

Anyone who knows my husband would say referring to him as a “goofball” is an understatement. Some days I wonder if he has a single serious bone in his body. One thing that I will forever appreciate about him is that he still does anything to get a giggle out of me or make me smile as if he’s falling in love with me for the very first time.

Make each other a priority. Then make it a priority of your own to put a smile on the face of your spouse.

Related Post: 10 Ways to Have Fun in a Christian Marriage

Realize You Have An Enemy

We’re often very quick to acknowledge the existence of God (as we should be), but very few of us care to think too much about the fact that we also have an enemy. Satan desperately wants to destroy our families and marriages because of his passionate hatred for God.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

(Ephesians 6:12 ESV)

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

(1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

When we let our guard down and allow a million distractions to take over, we open the door wide open to temptation or a spiritual attack. To keep a marriage strong we need to faithfully seek truth from God’s Word and spend time in prayer each day to stand firm against the devil’s schemes, deception, and lures. Prayers for a strong marriage are key!

Related Post: How to Identify and Overcome the Attack of the Enemy in Your Home

Pray Together For A Strong Marriage

There is something powerful about a husband and wife on their knees before the Creator of the universe. God specifically tells us in Matthew 18:20 that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” What a beautiful reminder of the promise that He is close. He sees the hurts, trials, and joyful celebrations- and he hurts and celebrates with us.

The key here is to trust that He actually has the power to do something about the hardships that come our way. A strong marriage prayer is truly powerful. 

We may not receive the answers we are seeking when we come before Him with prayers for strong marriage, but we can rest assured that when we ask according to His will He hears and He is faithful. He knows what is best and is behind the scenes working it all together for His glory and our good.

Related Post: How to Become a Strong Prayer Warrior and Why

Will You Choose A Strong Marriage Today?

Make no mistake, building a strong marriage is a choice you make each day.   This choice involves living out the characteristics of a strong marriage intentionally.  

  1. Pursue Each Other
  2. Turn Off The Electronics
  3. Remember That You Are Not #1
  4. Talk Openly and Forgive Freely
  5. Regular Date Night
  6. Play Together
  7. Realize You Have an Enemy
  8. Strong Marriage Prayers 

These are just 8 strong marriage tips but they should be enough to get you started.  Which one will you focus on today? 

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Tabatha Hull

Tabatha is a stay-at-home, homeschool mom of two sweet kiddos and one lovable pitbull named Lucy, just trying to stay focused on what truly matters in life. She married her best friend 10 years ago and doing life together has been a wonderful journey. A few of her favorites include: hiking with her family, cooking, working out, cuddling with her dog, and all things peanut butter. For more information please visit her blog at https://ajoyfueledjourney.com/ where she talks about motherhood, faith, and healthy living. You can also connect with her via Pinterest @ajoyfueledjourney