Developing a strong moral base in early marriage can set you up for a successful future as a couple.

Moral Lessons for Early Marriage

by Anna Green

Early marriage is a time when many couples learn not only how to live with one another, but also how to grow as a couple and create a healthy new family unit. Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, each couple can benefit from learning moral lessons that can help you grow both as an individual and as a couple.

1. Exercise Forgiveness

Although your spouse may hurt your feelings, behave in ways that upset you or frustrate you with his bad habits, do not cling to negative feelings. "Forgiveness starts with a mental decision," explains author and relationship expert Rose Sweet. Instead of holding grudges, choose to let go of your anger. Instead, show your spouse understanding, empathy and compassion. In short, when problems come up, talk about them calmly, figure out a solution that will prevent such problems in the future and then leave your anger and negativity behind you.

2. Love Fully

Love is an important moral value to bring to your early marriage, explains the organization Focus on the Family. Actively loving your spouse can not only foster a sense of stability in your marriage, but also keep your feelings of romance alive. Whether you express your love verbally or show it through kind gestures, let your spouse know that you care about him and are committed to showing him affection, intimacy and partnership. Showing this love is particularly important during the tough times that will inevitably come up as you build your new life with your spouse. That said, Focus on the Family reminds couples that a moral grounding of love does not mean glossing over problems. Rather, it means communicating and solving problems as a couple.

3. Give Yourself Freely

Although relationships should have a balance of give and take, let go of any selfish habits and try to meet your spouse’s needs. Offering your time, a listening ear, moral support and affection can strengthen your bond and set the stage for a strong marriage. While a loving spouse will also give himself to you freely just as you are, acting selflessly, without expecting anything in return, can provide a good basis for a marriage built on generosity. Indeed, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia found that married couples who "embrace an ethic of marital generosity that puts the welfare of their spouse first" are happiest. Elizabeth Marquardt, spokesperson for the project, described marital generosity being as simple as "making [your spouse] a cup of coffee" or giving your partner "a back rub after a long day."

4. Make Sacrifices

A successful marriage often requires personal sacrifices. As a newlywed, you no longer have just your own needs to worry about. To make sure that you and your spouse and can meet your financial, emotional and spiritual needs, you may need to sacrifice some of your own time and desires for the betterment of your marriage. In the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," researcher Benjamin Carney stated that sacrifice involves more than just saying you are committed to a marriage; it means making difficult choices, both large and small to make the marriage work. For example, if you take a yearly vacation with your best friends, you may need to give this up so that you and your spouse can put the money toward a down payment on a house. Similarly, it might mean moving to be closer to a spouse's parents or changing jobs to create more time to nurture your marriage, for instance.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

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