Anyone getting married should read this so that they start the marriage off right.
My husband JC and I have been married for over 20 years and have four kids (ages 30, 28, 18, and 16), so we’ve been through it all. Additionally, my parents had been married almost 50 years at the time of my father’s death, and my grandparents had been married over 54 years at the time of my grandmother’s death. I’ve had the blessing of getting really great advice for years and now I’m adding a few of my own things (that are more modern – like cell phones LOL). I sincerely hope that this helps anyone that reads it to have a better idea of how your marriage can last!
Laughter is King!
One of the biggest reasons I married my husband (besides the fact that he cooks and was a firefighter) was because he makes me laugh. Even in the darkest times and the hardest struggles with each other and in life, our laughter together had made it easier.
Know that your husband is a man. Since you are a women, you will NEVER think alike.
Just knowing this helps me to know why he makes stupid decisions (lol). Men tend to want to walk away and think it through and come back to apologize, while women tend to want to talk things to death!
Even when you are mad at your husband, love him even in that moment (fyi – this is very hard!)
Even when I dislike my husband intently (i.e., he spends a fortune on the 15th fishing pole, etc.). I choose to love him even when I’d rather choke him. In choosing to love him, the dislike fades from that moment.
Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling.
This isn’t easy. My husband will call me even when I’ve told him I’m taking our daughter to the doctor. Clearly I can’t answer the phone in the waiting area of the doctor’s appointment. But I will go outside, answer with “honey, you know I’m at the doctor’s office”. Then he’ll apologize and tell me the very unimportant thing that he had to tell me about. But this way, I’ll know he will call me even when I call at an inconvenient time. The only two times we won’t is if we are driving or in church. BONUS TIP: When possible, try to keep your phone off when you’re together with your spouse
Make time together a priority.
Always plan for a “date night” without the kids. This enables you to have uninterrupted time with each other and to catch up through the busy week. Sometimes our date night is going grocery shopping if we have a busy week. It still strengthens the relationship!
Surround yourself with friends who are positive and support your relationship.
When you are surrounded by positive people and people that support your relationship, you won’t have negative views or people who take every opportunity to tear you and your relationship down. Over the years, we have stopped hanging out with people who didn’t fit this and it strengthened our relationship!
Pick your battles!
There is never a winner and a loser and sometimes fights are over being heard and not just being right. Don’t argue over everything, only argue over the things that really matter to you.
When he’s down, you be strong and when you’re down, he should be strong.
From the beginning, my husband and I do this for each other. We got this advice from our grandparents and parents. My husband even 20 years later, when I’m worried will say, “It’s going to be o.k.” Even if I don’t believe him, sometimes just his saying so will enable me to take a deep breath.
The bedroom is very important to a marriage. Don’t take arguments into it and make it a priority.
It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it.
Remember that marriage isn’t 50/50 — divorce is 50/50.
It’s normal for each person in the marriage gives more than the other and different times. When a person in the marriage feels like they are always giving more, problems will happen. But if you both strive to give 100% at all times, you are always going to get through.
Life is not greener on the other side
When you are struggling, everyone else’s marriage will look better than yours. But, you don’t see the other couples struggles or private troubles and issues. Stop looking outward and what you may be missing and look inward to what you have.
Always put your husband first!
My mom and dad taught me this one. They always put each other over my brother and I. Now don’t get me wrong, our needs came first (food, clothing, love, etc.) but they showed it and told us that they were first to each other and my brother and I came first. My mom always said, we will raise you to be good citizens, but then you’ll leave to live a life of your own and we will be left with each other. If we don’t put each other first, we won’t have anything left of our marriage when you kids leave home. This is a big secret to a long marriage.
Don’t keep secrets from each other.
This is really important — even if you lie about little things like purchasing those amazing shoes, that can lead to biggers things because you’ll make a habit of lying. Remember that secrecy is the enemy of intimacy and lies break trust, and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage.
Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands, and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives.
This is so true and you’ll see the rewards of this when you children get married and pick amazing spouses. I’ve been fortunate enough to see this in my older children and it’s such a blessing!
Never consider divorce as an option.
Never ever say “fine, then let’s get a divorce”. Even though it’s an instant way to let him know you are unhappy, you may hear back, “ok – let’s do that” one day. If you don’t make it an option from the beginning, you will instantly find ways to work around or through arguments and issues because there is no easy way out.
Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online.
I’ve seen this time and time again with friends. They talk to everyone about how bad their spouse is or how he did something “unforgivable” and over time that erodes the trust and love and eventually negative people will encourage them to leave and they divorce. Always be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader, even when you don’t particularly like then in the moment. They are the one you chose and you need to choose how to support and love them, not bash them.
Always wear your wedding ring.
It’s a sign to others that you are married and a sign to your spouse that you love him. I’ve even had friends who tended to lose their ring after taking it off to wash hand and such, tattoo a ring on their finger – now that’s commitment.
When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time.
BITE your tongue! That’s how you handle nit picking or bitching at your spouse. Be creative when you want to do so, and find something nice to say instead. It’s not easy but that’s the commitment you made the day you got married. Griping about shortcomings or injustices on a regular bases to your spouse over time will tear him down and make him insecure. It will also do the same to your marriage.
I am not perfect. And, neither is my marriage or my husband , but we do work day in and day out on each of these tips to strengthen our marriage. I wish you the same success in your marriage!!
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If you aren’t engaged, but reading for a friend – feel free to share this blog with someone who could use these tips — Thank you!! xoxo *Jen