I’ve been happily married for a little over a year and a half now. So to begin this post let me preface it by saying that I am not an expert on marriage and I don’t claim to be an expert on marriage. I have made my share of mistakes so far, just ask my wife. I am still working each day on being the best husband I can be for my wife.
I believe what I have to say will benefit your marriage if you will have a receptive heart, keep an open mind, and continue reading.
With that said, if I was given the opportunity to sit down with a couple before they said “I Do,” here is the advise I would give them.
1) Fight for the marriage not with your spouse.
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but every married couple out there will tell you, at some point in the marriage you are going to have a disagreement. Just think about it for a minute, you have two very selfish individuals joining together in a very selfless relationship, so there is bound to be an argument about something along the way. Now let me throw this out there and see if it sticks to something: There is nothing wrong with getting into a fight. In fact, I believe all healthy relationships have fights on the journey of marriage. Where it goes wrong is how you fight. When you start to attack the individual instead of attacking the issue, then you’re going to run into problems with your marriage. Remember the goal whenever you begin to have an argument with your spouse. In the end, you are called to build each other up not tear each other down. What would change in your marriage if the next time you had a disagreement with your spouse, you focused on fighting for the relationship instead of fighting with each other?
2) Always assume the best.
One of the most commonly read passages at wedding ceremonies is 1 Corinthians 13. In that passage, it says love never keeps an account of faults but always assumes the best. How would your marriage be affected if you just applied this concept? What if instead of pointing out your spouses shortcomings, you pointed out their achievements. What if instead of criticizing your spouse, you complimented them. The next time your spouse does something that you like point it out. Tell your spouse what you admire about them. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this will make in your relationship.
3) Spend time together.
Now it is good to every now and then get together with the guys or have a night with the ladies or even get away and have some alone time, but you need to make it a priority to spend time with each other. The only way that you’re going to get to know each other better, grow deeper in love with each other, learn about what makes each other tick; is to hang out together. You can’t be in a relationship with someone if you don’t have any relation with that someone. Intimacy comes from spending time getting to know the person you married. Cause believe me there is a whole lot you don’t know about the person you married when you marry them. So make a concentrated effort to get to know them. Schedule date nights together. Sit down at the table and eat dinner together. Find a TV show you both enjoy and watch it together. Plan an activity that you both love and do it together. You reap what you sow. In other words, you get out of the relationship what you are willing to put into it. So put forth the effort. Cause the whole reason why you got married in the first place was the fact that the two of you are better together.
4) Communicate and listen.
I put these two together cause I believe they go hand in hand. You can’t have good communication without listening. Probably 90% of the problems in marriages today can be solved through talking to each other and listening to what each other has to say. So many marriages fail because there were unspoken expectations going into the relationship. And so many other marriages fall apart due to the failure to listen to each other. Don’t be afraid to speak what’s on your mind. But remember to do it in a way that will lift each other up not tear each other down. Do it with the goal of benefiting the relationship not a personal agenda. Your spouse is your confidant. You should want to confide in them. They are your better half. You should want to listen to what they have to say.
I’ll leave you with this: focus on your marriage. Don’t concentrate on what others have. Don’t concern yourself with other people’s relationships. Don’t be jealous of what you see going on around you. Cause you never know what other people are going through. You never know what issues they are dealing with in their marriage. It might look like the grass is greener on the other side, but at the end of the day all that matters is what happens between you and your spouse. What would happen if each day you focused on how you could be a better husband? How would your relationship change if you concentrated on being the best wife you can be? How would our marriages be affected if we did one thing each day to become the spouse we were meant to be?