One of the great American traditions is to come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions. They usually don’t last long. If you’ve kept a New Year’s resolution beyond these first few weeks of January, I applaud you. If you haven’t, you are not alone. Some statistics state that only 8 percent of people reach their resolution goals.

Setting goals for your marriage is probably more important than any New Year’s resolution that you have had, but it is equally as hard. So how do we prevent ourselves from failing at our marriage resolutions?

At FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember®, you will learn excellent communication techniques, how to love and respect your spouse, and even ways to improve intimacy. But it is also incredibly easy and tempting to walk out of the conference unchanged. If you have never been to the Weekend to Remember retreat, perhaps you recall a time that you and your spouse had a great conversation or time together and walked away with concrete resolutions to improve your marriage. Did you keep those resolutions?

It is impossible to be a perfect spouse, but setting goals and striving to be better is important to maintaining a healthy marriage. Here are a few ideas to help you stick to them.

Remember who you are in Christ.

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage because there is no such thing as a perfect person. When you fail to be perfect—because we all do—remember that you have a gracious God who provides you with grace and mercy to love your spouse better each day. Understanding this will bring more love and forgiveness into your marriage as you learn to forgive because He first forgave us.

Write down your goals.

The Weekend to Remember gives incredibly helpful and practical tips on how to communicate, address conflict, and more. Perhaps your goal is to stop raising your voice when you are angry with your spouse or maybe it is to offer more words of encouragement to your spouse. No matter what your goal is, write it down with your spouse and vow to work on improving this part of your marriage.

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Schedule periodic check-ins.

Getting away from routines and the struggles of everyday life is important to any growing marriage simply for the sake of reconnecting. But it can also be a great time to check in on resolutions that you set.

Try to schedule a getaway at least a couple times per year. Whether this includes going to a Weekend to Remember or simply driving to a nearby town for the day, make sure these times provide alone time with your spouse to reflect on the last few weeks or months. Take time to read through your goals and talk about areas that you have improved or still need to change.

Open up to your community.

It is important to have a Christian community in your life because it provides accountability and support. This could be through a weekly Bible study or a good friendship. Make sure you open up to someone you trust about your marriage, both the joys and trials of it.

Admitting weakness shows strength and will only help your marriage in the long run. Whether you are struggling with very difficult issues, such as infidelity or a miscarriage, or if you simply want to improve communication in your marriage, there is no issue too large or small for prayer and accountability.

Rejoice and celebrate.

When you see improvement in your marriage (not perfection), do not forget to celebrate. Take time to praise God for helping you change your heart or your behavior. With every milestone in your marriage, remember how far you have come and rejoice in where your marriage is headed.

Resolutions are hard, but if your heart is in the right place, they do not have to fail. Striving to love your spouse like Christ is a continual journey. But it’s worth it. Step into that journey and write down your resolutions with your spouse today.

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