I recently got married to a wonderful young lady. About a month prior, I shot a note to the Apologia staff and asked for their best marriage advice. Here's some of what they had to say. Oh! almost forgot. Be sure to read to the end to find out about a contest!
- Remember Your Courtship: Never forget why you fell in love with her
- Overlook Where You CanUnless it directly contradicts God, being right isn't as important as being happy
- Be Willing to Listen and Speak Humbly: Okay, I would say that the key to marriage is communication and being willing to walk both ways down the two way street.
- Share God's Perspective on Your Marriage: Read the book, When Sinners Say I Do. The very first chapter is always a thorn in my side. "The state of my marriage is a direct reflection of my theology!" Wow, just go ahead and cattle prod me some more!
- Be Slow to Speak, Especially When Disagreeing: Learn when to keep your mouth shut. You will have fights, but you need to bridle your tongue in these instances. Don't just say the first clever, hurtful thing that pops into your head. The words can never be unsaid.
- Anger Doesn't Last a Day Between You: "Do not let the sun go down on your anger". I know that you could not possibly imagine being angry with one another, but it does happen and one of the best Biblical rules that we set forth from the start of our marriage was not to go to sleep mad with one another…..even if it takes working it out all night. Have we been perfect at it…no, but when we have kept to this mandate from scripture, it has more than served and blessed us and even been an example to our children.
Think About What's Best for the Marriage: I would also suggest that in all your dealings with each other, either you both win, or you both lose. Don't ever think that you can unilaterally win a disagreement. It's a zero-sum game all right, but it's all or nothing for The Marriage - not to one of you as against the other. I've seen too many steering their boat onto the rocks because they just want the last word, the closing argument, the crushing retort, the final decision. How can two parts of one whole be in competition against each other? Don't think in terms of winning and losing v. one another — "If she gets her way, then I don't get mine, and I'm the loser" — but ask, "How is The Marriage scoring? Is this conversation going to strengthen or weaken The Marriage? If I press for the advantage here — even if I'm sure I'm right — will it make this a stronger Union or will it dent it or drive it off course?" And always listen for God's voice in the concerns — and criticisms — of your wife.
Heed Your Wife: My counsel: listen to your wife's counsel. She loves you and wants to see you grow and will probably offer some great advice through the years. Be wise to listen and get past the "hurt" in order to see what she is pointing out that you are most likely blind towards. In doing so, you will be amazed at how much you will grow personally, professionally, and spiritually. And make sure you read His Needs, Her Needs by Harley.
Keep Hedges: Put up hedges in your home so that your home is a haven from the rampant immorality found on television, the Internet and movies. Not saying ban those things, but a good filter on both the Internet and TV and strong movie standards will protect from impurities that have wrecked many a marriage. Hedges are also a good idea in relationships with others. By putting your relationship with your spouse second only to your relationship with God, you might have to offend someone once in a while. But no earthly relationship matters more.
No Jokes at the Spouse's Expense:Think twice (even three times) when you go to criticize your spouse. Sometimes what we perceive as "I meant it as a joke." is miscommunicated. Treat your spouse's family with respect–even when your spouse is angry with them, treat them respectfully.
Three Closing Gems: (1) Pray TOGETHER. I love the intimate times when my husband and I pray together to our Savior. Praying for each other, praying for our kids, family, friends together—well there is just something special about it. (2) Talk favorably about one another. Too many times, I hear friends of mine "jokingly" put their husbands down about something. It's easy to do; especially if you are frustrated about something they did/didn't do. But, in the end it is hurtful and not funny to all. (3) Massages–give them often.
A Word from You? What marriage advice would you add to the list? Do you have any of these guidelines in your home? Contribute something to this discussion by October 28, 2011 and you will be entered to win a copy of The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason. We are giving 3 copies away and you could be one of the recipients!