I wrote that title with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. Not because I don't feel I have any authority to speak on this issue, but because it sounds like I'm writing a Family Circle or Woman's Day article. A little corny.
Today is my 15 year wedding anniversary with Hottie Husband and I think making it that long and truly being happy for the breadth of it, does give me some authority and wisdom in this area. We have recently watched marriages crumble around us and it is just so sad. I don't have another word for it.
My heart is to share what helps, what works, how letting go of "self" is the only way to flourish.
So here are my handy dandy marriage tips–
1) Give up your right to be right. It's not worth it. How can being right in a discussion or argument possibly help? It doesn't. Instead, brush right past the "who is right" part and look for a different way to make it work. You might be thinking... but, then he'll always think he's right... REALLY? So what! Just think how happy he'll be. And really, try to avoid those kinds of arguments anyway. It gets you nowhere. Honestly, I don't even remember the last time we had a discussion involving a scenario where we were trying to be the one who is "right."
2) Respect and Love Circle- Here is where my husband keeps us on track. Years ago, he heard a talk on Christian radio about respect and love in marriage. You may be totally familiar with this, but for those of you who aren't, the short version is that men really, really want respect and women really, really want love. But, there is this catchy circle in a marriage that if a man is not feeling like his wife respects him, he's not going to show her the love and then she will be even more likely to put him down, treat him without any respect, ect. and then he will pull away the love even more. Of course, it can also start with him not showing love, her feeling unloved, lashing out, he feels like he's not respected, and things get ugly.
The solution. Stop the cycle. Somebody has to do it. Respond with respect. Tell him how proud you are of the work he does, how great he is with the kids, how you see him working so hard to provide for your family. To be honest, I get a little (just a little) feisty and riled up about things sometimes. Do you know what my husband does? He stops me, he kisses me, he tells me how much he loves me. And stubborn girl that I am, I think, "Oh, he's doing that love thing." But, it always works.
3) Accountability. This one is our lifeline. You cannot just be accountable to yourself or your spouse. For us, we both know that the other is accountable to God for our actions. This is in the big things as well as the small things. Infidelity may be a sin, but so is anger.
It also means letting go of trying to fix each other. We are only in charge of ourselves. I'll say that again— We are only in charge of ourselves. Neither of us is perfect; but God is constantly working on both of us. And that's a comfort. It means we don't have to work to fix each other. We can rest in the knowledge that God is in it with us.
Here's last year's post about my wedding with lots of photos of that day.
And please don't get me wrong, I know things can be complicated and hard and I may have it easy, but if even a small portion of this makes things a little better, provokes thought or helps a newlywed, then that's a good thing I think.