After 5 years of marriage and 3 children added to the mix, I would have to say that my husband and I can no longer be considered newlyweds. I don’t pretend to be a marriage or relationship expert by any means, but I do have a better understanding about what marriage advice is viable and which has not made a difference for us.
We love and understand each other far deeper than we did on our wedding day. The following marriage tips are what I have found to really make a difference in our family.
A lot of marriage advice seems to only teach you how to keep a smile on your face while you put a band-aid on your problems and hope for the best. That is not what I want as a wife or as a Christian woman.
I want my marriage to serve the greater purpose of glorifying God, and all the rest will come more naturally once priorities are in the right order and our eyes are on eternity. I want to really get to the heart of any issues that arise and prevent them in the first place. Here are 10 of my favorite tips that have made a difference in my own marriage.
Advice for Marriages That Will Last a Lifetime
Keep Jesus First and at the Center
Keep Jesus First and at the Center – This is more than the occasional prayer together before meals or bed. This means having an accountability to each other to be spending quality time with the Lord both together and separately. My husband and I especially love to worship together.
All problems (marriage or otherwise) seem smaller when placed in His capable hands. This intimacy with God helps marriage on so many levels. We are more humble, kind, forgiving, understanding, etc. with each other. When you are at peace and less stressed or worried about life’s problems, you are going to be more patient and less critical of your spouse. We are better spouses when we are walking closely with the Lord.
Maintain Your Original Friendship
One thing that most people love about the dating phase is having fun getting to know each other and becoming each other’s best friend. Well, don’t stop!
It is important to keep celebrating one another and laughing together. Here’s a fun fact – It is (nearly) impossible to be stressed and really laugh at the same time! I have found that when my husband and I laugh and have fun together, I appreciate and enjoy him so much more.
Don’t Serve Leftovers
I’m not talking about food here. I’m talking about you and your energy and attention. How do you feel when you can tell you are last on someone’s priority list? Not good. So, don’t give everyone and everything else your best only to offer your family what is left over.
A surefire way to grow apart from someone is to spend NO quality time together. Make sure you offer your best to your family. Part of this is learning to say no and live at a slower pace.
Steer Clear of Unrealistic Expectations
You need to protect your heart against unrealistic expectations. Remain mindful and cautious when reading romance novels or watching romantic movies. Love is not always romantic like that, especially after kids come along. It should still be at times, but that is not the purpose of marriage, nor should it be all that fulfills you.
Here is a great quote from Joy Forney – “Real romance is finding that one spot in the crook of his arm to snuggle into, that shared look over the dinner table when the kids are acting crazy, and the way he fixes the leaky sink when he is dog-tired after work.”
Know Where Your Worth Comes From
Find your worth and security in the Lord. He is what gives us meaning, not our significant other. Finding your worth and fulfillment in another human being will only result in disappointment, not to mention the unfair pressure that it places on your spouse.
Do not compare your husband to other husbands. That is a pitfall that will only lead to self-pity, anger, criticism, envy, etc. Besides, you have no idea what another husband may be like behind closed doors, so in addition to it being wrong and detrimental, it is impossible to do accurately, which only hurts the situation further. We should be trying to better our own flaws rather than shining a light on our spouse’s anyway.
Love in Their Language
Ask the right questions to make sure you know how to best serve, love, and support your spouse. What means a lot to you may mean nothing to them, so make sure you are serving in their love language rather than your own. It is important to keep asking the right questions because the answers may change as your relationship grows.
Don’t Do Marriage Alone
You should have some form of accountability outside of your marriage. This can be an older Christian couple whom you respect or separate individuals (a woman for the wife and a man for the husband) whom you can share with and remain accountable to with struggles that may arise. However, this is not a free for all pass to complain about your spouse.
Always Speak Positively about Your Spouse
As tempting as it may be sometimes, never throw your spouse under the bus. It does no good to complain or speak negatively about your significant other to other people, especially in front of them. It is disrespectful and only feeds any problems you are having. Above all, this includes your children! Never undermine your husband or wife in front of your kids.
The most important and impactful thing you can do for your marriage and your spouse is pray for them! This is not meant to be a self-serving prayer checklist, but rather placing your spouse, their heart and mind, and their struggles at the Lord’s feet. Wives, check out the prayer section of a post I wrote on Encouraging Your Husband to get ideas and ways in which you can pray for your husband.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the purpose of marriage is to be happy or to feel fulfilled or complete. I desire to be happy and make my husband happy, but that comes naturally once our Biblical priorities are in order. If we are living how God wants us to, then marriage can be one of life’s greatest blessings!
Please comment below with some of your favorite marriage tips!