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Yes, you read the title correctly and no we are not kidding! You can have the marriage that you always wanted, but you need to realize that it is a very misconstrued relationship. There are a lot of preconceived ideas that we have going into a marriage (like it's easy) and while we're navigating this area, we find that it is a ton of hard work. Why is a marriage so arduous? It's pretty simple as compromising, mercy and forgiveness demand self-sacrifice, something humans relatively stink at doing. Additionally, marriage doesn't need to be about the big things like trips, material possessions and anniversaries because at the end of the day it's the little things that keep it hot when things turn frosty. When we take the simple steps over time to invest in our marriage, it can really bring a significant harvest for years to come. Are you ready? Here are 6 ways you can have the marriage of your dreams.

Spend quality time together.

Try spending time together to reconnect and find out why you came together in the first place. To keep any relationship going it's important to spend time together. Do something that you love doing together and don't put this on the back burner because you are busy. Going on autopilot is natural when our schedules are jammed with work and kids. But we need to carve out time for each other or the relationship will start drifting. In order to move forward as a couple, work on spending time doing enjoyable activities that bring you both satisfaction. Get a babysitter and take time off of work as any marriage needs time to reboot.

Become an active listener.

Listening takes some time to master and let's face it, most of us don't like it. There is nothing worse than your spouse not paying attention to you, even when they said they were listening. Think before you respond when things become heated as our emotions could lead us to say things that we regret. If you don’t have a response, tell your spouse that you need more time to think about it. Becoming a better listener can happen during your everyday conversations as well. You can remark about something your partner cares about and actively listen to their views and evaluations. "Deeply cares about that's bigger than the both of you—sports, politics, anything to get the ball rolling," Reader's Digest suggested.

Combat selfishness.

The Bible warned us about being selfish. Philippians 2:3-4 explained: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Well, we are all guilty of this mistake as we are human. However, when we start looking to make our spouse happier rather than focus on ourselves all the time, this can strengthen and empower the relationship. Self-Indulgence could be that you care more about a career than you do your spouse and so you brush them aside. These actions of self-regard have negative consequences that lead to strife and the other person withdrawing from the relationship.

Going to God.

We all go through tough times in our marriage and instead of going to people or to anger, we need to go to God. “When you are faced with something in your relationship or something outside your relationship--the best way to handle that is to go directly to God and go to the Word,” said Cookie Johnson, wife of former NBA star Earvin Magic Johnson. “We make our biggest mistakes when we try to handle it ourselves and not trust God to handle the situation." You have a choice when things become rough, so pray and go to God with the situation and ask Him for wisdom.

Show love.

Make it a point to express love even when you are mad at them. Love can melt icy partitions that have been mounting over time because of anger. No one is perfect in a marriage. There will be times that a husband or wife will disappoint each other or do something harmful, but you can correct it with love. Ephesians 4:2-3 said: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Run an errand, fill the gas tank or give them a day to relax with friends, since they work so hard. Show your spouse love and you will see your marriage grow!

Have fun.

It doesn't matter how old you are, having fun together can take the pressure off. Take a break from your serious side and see a comedy show, be goofy or just go out and be yourselves without judgments. Having fun together makes a strong marriage. "The skills couples need to keep intimacy alive in a long-term relationship aren't obvious because people don't talk about them," said Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids explained to prevention.com. You have permission to have fun and to stop being so serious!

Marriage can be a battle and it takes a lot of practice to keep it moving forward. To achieve this, you need to manage your marriage as a partnership because when you work as a team, you can build the marriage of your dreams, even when circumstances dictate otherwise. 
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