5 Ways to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great

Do you have a good marriage? What would it take to have a great marriage? Here are five ways you can take your marriage from good to great. #marriagegoals #womenlivingwell #messybeautifullove

Today we have a guest!

rosilind profileRosilind is an American girl married to a Bosnian guy who lives in a small village just outside of Zagreb. They have two crazy boys who are as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn’t writing, she is dreaming up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. She writes at A Little R & R.


Rosilind writes:

An article on Facebook grabbed my attention recently. The writer was addressing the growing rate of divorce among a segment of the church few anticipated would ever have such struggles – the couples who had chosen courtship over dating.

You see, I remember when the whole debate of dating vs. courtship began. I was a teenager then. Fast-forward fifteen years and we have discovered that no matter what term you choose to use: dating, courtship, “going out”… you will face conflict. Conflict is simply unavoidable in any relationship.

Conflict in and of itself is not a bad thing. Quite the opposite, it can prove to very useful in helping to shine light on a new perspective of a discussion, reveal hidden flaws in our character, or drive us to a healthy form of compromise.

What makes conflict useful is our attitude and approach when we are faced with it.

In her book Messy Beautiful Love*, Darlene Schacht shares a story from her marriage that I instantly related to. She shares how her husband, while getting a bowl of cereal, was frustrated by the dirty dishes in the clean dishwasher. Bad grew to worse as one little thing after another drove him to further annoyance. She is then presented with a choice. Will she take the conflict to a new level of anger, or diffuse it with grace?

I will be the first to admit (and my husband would quickly agree) that I am only just learning how to approach conflict from a healthy perspective.

I am by nature a pleaser; therefore, conflict is something that frightens me to death. I will bend over backwards to a dangerous breaking point before I will even consider confrontation. Even then, I will gladly take an exit, if I can find one.

Marriage has helped me discover how to approach confrontation and conflict from a healthy standpoint, and to not allow it to fester inside of me.

It all comes down to how we communicate.

5 Ways To Take Your Marriage from Good to Great

1. Control our Thought Processes

Healthy communication first begins with healthy thoughts. Yes, we communicate to our own hearts first – and that communication becomes a filter through which we communicate with our spouses. If we are to have healthy communication, we must communicate with our hearts and minds in a healthy way.

2. Control our Emotions

If our emotions are not held in check, communication will break down every time. Men do not experience emotions as we do; and many men are frightened by female emotional outbursts. Frankly, many of our outbursts spring from a desire to manipulate in order to gain an upper hand in the conflict. But if we wish to have a great marriage, we must make the conscious choice to fight fair, and a fair fight must be free from manipulative and out-of-control emotions.

3. Keep Infection Out

In chapter 8, Darlene shares an illustration from her pug Bailey. Overlooking a fold near her left ear, she had failed to keep it clean and an infection set it. Our relationships can easily become infected with little things that first annoy us. If left unchecked, the annoyance rubs a sore spot in our hearts, which then becomes an angry wound filled with a dangerous infection that spreads until the entire relationship is sick.

To keep our hearts free from infection, we must do as Darlene does with her sweet puppy – we must do regular heart checks. We must allow the Word of God to cleanse us daily, allowing His truth to shine on those areas where dirt and grime have crept in

4. Forgive Every Time

Oh, dear sister – we must forgive. Unforgiveness is the result of infection that has been allowed to run rampant in our hearts. It becomes a cancer that eats away at our souls until we are riddled with pain and disease. The only cure for unforgiveness is humility that recognizes the depth to which we have been forgiven by Almighty God.

Once we realize just how much He has extended the loving hand of forgiveness to us, we will be able to extend that same forgiveness to our spouses and bring our damaged relationship to a place of health and vibrancy.

5. Extend Grace

Have you ever stopped to consider how much grace was needed to bring you to where you are today? When you came to Christ, what was your life like? If you are like me, you needed multiple wells of grace to empty the gunk from your life, cleanse it and then fill it with the love and joy of Jesus.

Since we have been given this grace in such abundance, how can we afford not to extend a small portion to our husbands who work so hard to care and provide for the home? Sure, they aren’t perfect. Neither are we. That is what grace is there for, to provide a bridge from our place of condemnation to a haven of forgiveness and love – even when we don’t deserve it.

This type of communication isn’t easy. It requires sacrifice. Having been married less than a decade, I am only just now learning this.

Reading these two chapters of Messy Beautiful Love *opened my eyes to the myriad of mistakes I have made in such a short time, yet having put these 5 steps to the test in my own marriage has made an enormous difference in the tone and atmosphere of my home.

Blessings from Croatia,
Rosilind, www.rosilindjukic.com | www.missionalcall.com

Thank you Rosilind for being with us here today!

Join the Discussion 

1.) Is your marriage good or great?

2.) Which of the 5 ways is the easiest for you?

3.) Which of the 5 ways is most difficult for you?

This post was a part of the

Messy Beautiful Love*Book Club!

Messy Beautiful Love Cover


  1. My marriage is good, but bordering on great!
    1. We agree on almost every parenting issue
    2. We physically attracted to each other 🙂 **wink wink**
    3. He likes to cook and I hate it. I like to do laundry and he hates it. Every body wins.
    4. We can tolerate the same level of messiness. Messy house? Ok. Dirty house? Not good.
    5. We make each other laugh. A lot. And we don’t hold grudges.

    1. His dad was very lazy. My Dad is extremely hard working. This creates a gap in what he and I expect from his role as a husband/father/home-maintance guy. This is our main problem. All the rest is just details.
    2. He’s not a christian (I wasn’t until 2 years ago)
    3. He’s not very affectionate but he’s brutally honest.
    4. I’m a fighter, he’s a flighter.
    5. He is obsessed with sports. I haven’t watched a proper television program is years (happy to have netflix! lol)

    1. Chantelle, I can empathise with you on some of these issues…especially the expectations of my husband. It caused serious problems in my attitude for years. My dad was like yours and was diligent in taking care of our home. My husband tends to procrastinate a lot and wait until things get to crisis point…which as you can imagine drives me crazy. If I can offer one word of advice? I learned the hard way that grumbling about it didn’t change things, focusing on it gave it too much control over our lives and remaining silent was causing bitterness to eat away inside of me.

      Now, I leave reminder notes stuck up on the fridge with things that need to be done and my husband promises to get at least one done on the weekend. I praise him a lot when he gets stuff done and make jokes about how attractive he is when he’s in his handyman role 😉 ;)…it has worked so much better than my old ways! Okay so that wasn’t one word of advice 🙂 By the way my husband’s a flighter and I’m a fighter too. Hang in there!

      1. Thanks, Lisa! That’s a great idea.
        Since becoming a follower of Jesus a little over a year ago I have found out marriage to be much happier in the laziness perspective. Sometimes I still get angry but instead of yelling at him I go for a drive and yell at God ‘change my attitude!! Change me!!! I’m not perfect!!!’

        It helps me to think of my short comings before I go nuts on him.

        I have found that if I need something done I will hire it out. I ask him a few times then I just hire someone. When he gets the bill he usually changes his tune pretty quick! Lol

        1. I have been married to my second husband for 9 years and he to is a procrastinator. Our house is in crisis mode and finally this year he decided he has had enough of the crisis.

          We both had very messy divorces and I am a child of severe abuse so there is a lot of baggage that we have both had to deal with while learning to live together.

          I have started taking charge of the Honey do list and I have learned a lot about home improvement. I have also discovered that I LOVE to build things!

          So when he sees me take charge of the to do list he does jump in and help, but he also likes to “Take Charge” but I let him. Then we get the job done and we make memories all at the same time!

          1. Wow ladies, I love convos like this!

            I have learned (in my very short 7 years…so obviously, I am no authority on the subject at all) that every marriage is so unique and while there are set ways to do SOME things, how they play out in each marriage can look so different.

            My husband works a very hard job, never limited to 40 hours, and he is on a 3-shift rotation. So, our home functions very differently than most. We don’t usually have family meals, and he usually starts projects when he’s on 1st shift that get put off while he’s recovering from graveyard. He is a bit of a procrastinator, too.

            I learned early on – purely by accident – that he likes it when I take charge. It really helps him, because many times he’s too tired to think about doing things like dealing with the phone company or ordering something we need. And he actually likes it when I get a little assertive and tell him to get something done that’s been sitting and waiting for a while. This is totally out of my nature….but is very much the culture of the country I now live in (which IS his culture). To some, this would seem like I am not submissive at all…when in fact, going out of my comfort zone to hand out an order or two is what he really wants in a wife.

            Crazy, isn’t it?

    2. Love these 5 things you shared. Marriage is definitely both amazing and challenging – the challenging part is taking two very different cultures and creating a new, united one from them. I think the first step is seeing what those differences are and then creating a plan to get from point A to point Z. It sounds so much easier than it is in real life though.

  2. Rosilind, this is wonderful! I couldn’t agree with you more on the 5 ways you listed. In my soon-to-be 18 years of marriage to my husband, we have learned the importance of each of these areas. We’ve learned how important our individual submission to each area was (and is!) necessary for a healthy marriage. It’s a life-long process of daily commitment in each area “until death do us part”.

    Walking in His Grace,

  3. Great tips! I think extending grace is the easiest for me, which is funny because it used to be the hardest for me! My husband is excellent at extending grace to me and others and I think I’ve learned by his example. I’d say my marriage is great!! We are newlyweds and enjoying every minute! 🙂

    1. Isn’t it wonderful (and many times) amazing to see how our husbands’ strengths help to strengthen our weak areas? The same has happened for me. It’s interesting because there are weaknesses in my life that I have battled with for years, that I am now starting to overcome because I could see how my husband responded so much better than me. I have learned so much from him!

  4. Rosilind…your write like an old married lady…and I mean that in a good way! 🙂 Such wonderful truths here. Like you, I took a while to learn some of them and learned them the hard way. Thank you Lord, that I did learn!

    I’ll be married 25 years next February and it has only been within the last five years that I have truly grown in our marriage by the grace of God! I would say that the last one is easiest for me…giving grace. Forgiveness I work hard on but I have practised this so much over the last few years. The first two…not so much! I have to battle with my inner demons a lot and that makes it difficult, but with God’s help I am improving!

    There are some really great reminders in Darlene’s book…things that I came to learn through hanging around her place and Courtney’s at a time when my marriage wasn’t doing so well. The things that I started putting into practice made such a huge difference to our marriage and my attitude and outlook. If I can say one thing to all of the other ladies here is that our hearts are what counts and our perspective…hang around at Time Warp Wife and Women Living Well and you’ll be blessed for it!

    1. Lisa – you cracked me up! And encouraged me greatly at the same time. Oh – I have also had to learn the hard way. I mentioned that a little in my review of Messy Beautiful Love. I think every one of us has to go through some deal of hardship – and even minor crisis – mainly because we’re human and some of us don’t seem to learn any other way. 🙂 But also, because it is in those hard times – the valleys and difficulties – that we are forced to face our own weaknesses and failures — and then we’re presented with a choice: to learn from these and grow so our marriage will be strengthened, or reject the opportunity and watch it wilt. I think Darlene’s book is such a clear picture of the first option and a testimony of how marriage CAN withstand great hardship…and grow to endure even the most difficult crisis! There is so much to learn from and glean from here!

  5. I have a great marriage but it followed an awful one (due to few of things you listed above).
    I appreciate my husband and our relationship so much more now that I’m in a marriage following God’s design rather than my own.
    Forgiving has been easiest for me probably… he’s such a stinker. He smiles at me and there is no way I can stay mad, even if I want to! 😉
    Infection is the hardest. It isn’t usually a problem but his mother and I were at odds for awhile and it was hard not letting that infiltrate our happiness.
    Luckily, through everything, he has been patient and God is answering our prayers for healing in my relationship with his mom.
    This is a beautiful article and reminder!

    God bless!

    Kristi @ FindingOurFeet.org

    1. Yes – you are right. Infection can be the hardest. It is also one of the sneakiest because so many times what we perceive to be a minor irritation ends up growing into a festering wound — and we don’t realize it because the process is slow. Many times we only become aware of it when it’s reached a danger point. This is why it is SO important to stay in the Word of God and in prayer – communion with him (not just shooting up prayers, but truly allowing the Holy Spirit to shine His light) because there are so many things we don’t see on our own. Of course, having our spouse and accountability partners helps, too — because they often see things we miss. God is so faithful to provide us those who can do as the Proverbs say: “Iron sharpening iron”, and keep us from allowing dangerous infection to set in.

  6. I think number four is so important. Bitterness can ruin a marriage if it allowed to take hold. I let my love for my husband be renewed everday. It is a new day and all past hurts and anger don’t belong in my today. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  7. https://timeforthirtyquestions.blogspot.com

    Check out my new blog with 5 categories of questions you can ask your spouse and answer too, for greater communication and commitment building!

    This came out of my parents divorcing late in life and when I wrote a blog to help us adult children, I realized many adults were worried about their own marriages because of the way their parents life together ended late in life. ( If they could make it that long and then have it end, how is my marriage going to make it?!)

    Thirty simple questions will take you far in understanding and growing closer!

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