Twenty Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great
December 1983

“Twenty Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great,” Ensign, Dec. 1983, 64

Twenty Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great

1. Night and Morning Prayer … to say thanks, to ask for help in your marriage and family, to worship together.

2. A Weekly Planning Meeting … to discuss the calendar, talk over needs and problems, decide priorities and next steps. (Write decisions in a journal, including goals and discussion topics, and reasons for each.)

3. A Daily Phone Call or Personal Conversation … to say “I love you,” to touch base, to discuss the day, to show you care.

4. A Weekly Date … to a favorite park, a concert, the library, the gym; or staying home for a candlelight dinner, a game, or a mutual hobby.

5. Patience Regardless … of missed meals, tardiness, forgotten favors, a thoughtless remark, impatience.

6. Daily Service … helping with house or yard work, mending a piece of clothing, taking a turn with the sick baby, fixing a favorite meal. (Write it down. Do it!)

7. A Budget … to tie down income and expenses, help set financial goals, and give you control over your finances.

8. Listening … not only to what is said, but also to what is meant.

9. Regular Attendance … at church—and where possible—the temple.

10. Daily Scripture Reading … to learn the gospel, to receive inspiration for yourself and your marriage, to become more like Jesus.

11. Working Together … caring for a garden, painting a bedroom, washing the car, scrubbing floors, building a piece of furniture, writing a poem together, team teaching a class.

12. Forgiving Each Other … always learning from each other, trying a different way, being the first to make peace.

13. Courtesies … like saying please and thank you, not interrupting or belittling, not doing all the talking, continuing the niceties of courtship.

14. Soft and Kind Words … of tenderness, compassion, empathy.

15. Learning Together by … reading to each other, discussing ideas, taking a class.

16. Respecting … opinions, ideas, privacy.

17. Supporting Your Spouse’s … Church callings and righteous goals.

18. Caring for Your Spouse’s Family by … enjoying their company, praying for them, serving them, overlooking differences.

19. Occasional Gifts … such as a note, a needed item—but mostly gifts of time and self.

20. Loving with All Your Heart. “Thou shalt love thy wife [thy husband] with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her [him] and none else.” (D&C 42:22.)

  • Richard W. Linford, father of eight children and an operational auditor, is bishop of the East Millcreek Utah 11th Ward.

Illustrated by Bill Swenson