After more than 30 years together, Chris and Linda Padgett have learned there is no such thing as a perfect couple.
But a few simple things can help most Christian marriages be better.
The US-based speakers and authors have helped hundreds of couples through their Catholic pre-marriage apostolate and are founders of the Center for Holy Marriage.
They say that while every marriage is unique most can benefit from keeping five things in mind.
“Number one is for each person to have their own faith journey, that is at the core of any Christian relationship,” said Mrs Padgett.
“Many times I’ve been able to fall back on that faith and trust that Chris has faith also …”
“Often couples are not on the same page with that, and it doesn’t matter so long as they both have their own journey with the Lord in order to have a foundation together.
“Many times I’ve been able to fall back on that faith and trust that Chris has faith also, and if I have a problem with him I can say to God, ‘Can you talk to him about it too?’.”
The Padgetts believe that many people put effort into caring for themselves and their spouse but neglect the needs of the spirit.
“This spiritual component is as important for my marriage as my mental wellbeing and my physical health,” said Mr Padgett.
They then advise that couples share aspects of their faith with each other, even if it is as simple as praying together before a meal.
“If they have grown up in different denominations there will be much in common, so try to find where those lines converge and emphasise that,” said Mr Padgett.
“Then when they get to a place where they have to have a conversation about differences they have a united basis for it.”
Tip three is communication.
“Not just communicating, but learning how to properly communicate with one another is very important,” said Mrs Padgett.
Four is laughter, “a great gift to a marriage”, and fifth is forgiveness.
“We’re always going to need to be quick to forgive even if we can’t fully understand …”
“A lot of couples are very good at keeping their list of each other’s offences up to date,” said Mr Padgett.
“In some ways we have to have an amazing ability to just forget and let some things go. We’re always going to need to be quick to forgive even if we can’t fully understand everything about our spouse.”
They suggested that some couples will need help from a third party such as a counsellor or pastor.
“We always encourage people to find help if they need it because it’s out there, it’s just like going to the doctor when you need to,” Mrs Padgett said.
Chris Padgett will visit in Sydney in May. For information and to register for events see www.trybooking.com/CEPXJ