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As a pastor and author on marriage issues, I’m often asked, “What does it take to make a great marriage?

It’s a great question, and while there’s no shortcut to building a solid, lifelong relationship, the recipe is simpler than we might think. I’m going to take EVERYTHING I’ve learned about marriage from my years of research and ministry and boil it down into the simplest description possible. Here’s what it takes to have a great marriage…

If you take everything you need for a great marriage, and boil it all down into only four vital components, I believe it would be these four below. If you’re missing any one of these, make it a priority to strengthen it. Even if you’re strong in three of these areas, missing ANY one of these is enough to sink a marriage, so don’t overcompensate in one area as a substitute for the absence of another. Deal with the issues. Don’t make excuses; make solutions.

Your marriage will thrive when you have a committed focus to growing together with your spouse in these four areas:

1. Faith

The first component of a great marriage is faith. As a follower of Jesus and a believer in the Bible’s teachings, I’m firmly convinced that if you will build your foundation on this foundation, you’ll be able to weather any storm life throws you way. Some of the deepest frustrations in marriage can happen when a husband and wife aren’t equally committed to their faith. This is the point where people like to disagree and debate with me the most, but I’m more convinced than ever that the strongest marriages have the strongest faith. To help you grow in this area check out these Ten Bible verses that changed my marriage.

2. Friendship

The strongest marriages have a strong friendship at the foundation. When the friendship aspect of the marriage is overlooked, there’s an emptiness and a loneliness. The best marriages exist between best friends. For more on this, check out my wife Ashley’s great post on 6 ways to become your spouse’s best friend.

3. Partnership

Marriage also requires strong partnership. The key word here is Unity. Unified “partners” share common goals, household duties, parenting responsibilities and a focus for creating a shared legacy which will outlive them both. For more on ways to build a strong, unified partnership with your spouse Listen to this FREE audio clip from my iVow audiobook.

4. Intimacy 

Friendship and partnership are both important but without consistent and mutually-fulfilling sexual intimacy, the marriage will be missing a vital component. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it! For more on this, check out our online course on sex for married couples (by clicking here).

As a NEXT STEP, have a conversation with your spouse and ask, “Which of these four do we do best and which of these four have the most room for improvement?”

For more tools to help you grow in these areas and develop a rock-solid marriage, check out my bestselling book iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage which is now also available on iTunes as an ebook download for iPhones and iPads by clicking here.

For daily encouragement you can also connect with me on Facebook by clicking here and also connect with my wife Ashley on Facebook here.

If this post encouraged you, please share it using the links below so we can encourage others too!

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