It is hard to believe Susanah and I will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary this June. God has been so incredibly good to us, and I feel tremendously blessed to call her my wife! Marriage is awesome! With God’s help, we can enjoy every moment and every season. Here are some biblical principles that I pray will help you have a more enjoyable marriage.

Keep your running shoes.

The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. (Song of Solomon 2:8)

 Determine to chase your spouse forever and pursue and own their heart. Keep your marriage fun! Enjoy their intellect, pursue them physically, understand them emotionally, and inspire them spiritually. Be real, but keep attempting to “put your best foot forward” for the most important person in your world—your spouse.

Be a grace giver.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. (Luke 6:31-33)

 Anticipate that your spouse will disappoint you, and be ready in your heart and mind to love and forgive them the way Christ does. Instead of exposing weaknesses, offer acceptance. (Never of sin, but of a sinner that needs grace.) Your spouse will need your love the most during the moments that they are less lovable. And giving undeserved love is your best opportunity in life to be Christ-like.

In our marriage, we have found this principle to grow sweeter over time. The more someone loves and forgives you, the more you naturally cherish that person back. People treasure relationships that allow them to be completely vulnerable and transparent, while affirming that they are truly loved and accepted. Someone once said, “Acceptance is the optimum environment for growth.” With that in mind, if you’re looking for your relationship to grow deeper, create an atmosphere of total acceptance.

Choose to be one flesh.

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:6)

 Everything you have should be jointly owned, managed, and operated. Share everything: possessions, accounts, passwords, schedules, families, problems, goals, and dreams. A married couple should not have a “his and hers” mentality—everything is forevermore “ours.”

No doubt, we could all find exceptions to this rule. My parents have been very happily married for decades now. One of the things they may attribute some of their happiness to is the very fact that in their backyard they have a “his shed” and “hers shed.” Just imagine the problems this solves! The goal here is not to have total control over each other’s lives, but to have access to it. Being open and honest with each other is key to closeness. This also involves owning and sharing in the responsibility of each other’s trials. When one goes through a season of poor health, the loss of a family member, or financial setbacks, these trials are given to both individuals to be carried as a team yoked together. Shouldering trials together brings about a closeness that cannot be discovered through any other means.

These three basic tips for marriage are more than the backbone of a good marriage; they are principles worth going back to again and again. These things don’t just happen; they require intentional actions that cultivate an atmosphere of fun, closeness, and oneness.