By Dr. Randy Carlson

There’s something sacred about keys – you just can’t throw them away. Keys open things. While working with couples for many years, I’ve found three of the keys to unlocking a thriving marriage. These keys are vital for any relationship to thrive.

1. You have to challenge your assumptions

We live in a world of assumptions. Your assumptions are what you believe.

  • What do you believe about people?
  • What do you believe about the world?
  • What do you believe about God?
  • What do you believe about marriage?

When Donna and I married 40 years ago, we had certain assumptions. I assumed we’d have no issues around values because we were both believers. But I soon learned she values some things differently than I do.

We shared an assumption about children – that we would have kids when we wanted to have them. We assumed it would be our choice. God had other plans, and we went through a period in our lives when that assumption proved false and God taught us through it.

If you refuse to challenge your assumptions, those assumptions can rule your life.

2. You have to express your intentions

Probably the greatest expression of your intention is on the day you get married the vows that you say to each other. Think about your wedding vows. Think of them not only as a vow but also as an intention of your heart.

Interestingly, after the day we get married, we very seldom express our intentions again. Have you ever, since the a you exchanged vows, sit down and said, “I want you to know my intentions in our marriage today.” And then you proceeded to declare your promises of faithfulness and love. Do you know how powerful that would be if we restated our intentions on a regular basis?

3. You have to manage expectations.

 Expectations are larger than reality and always result in disappointment.  When our individual conflict, it creates a problem in our marriage.  If my intentions establish certain expectations that are not met, it is going to create disappointment.



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