10 Tips For An Almost Perfect Marriage

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My arm was talking to me. A crushed nerve in my right arm has had a considerable effect on the quality of my sleep these past weeks. I shifted, only half-conscious, to a more comfortable position. My husband rolled over and, sensing my discomfort, took one of his pillows and positioned my arm on its plush surface. With a somnolent snuggle, he was back under before he’d even come fully awake. Sighing gratefully, I was able to sleep through the remainder of the predawn hours.

It occurred to me later as I thought of the incident, just how lucky I am. Even in his sleep, my knight in shining armor is slaying the dragon of sleeplessness for me. Marrying this man is the single best earthly decision I’ve ever made, and I’ve been pondering some of the things that make it so. He certainly isn’t a perfect husband, and I am most assuredly not a perfect wife. In fact, sometimes we downright suck at this.

A young couple we know has recently decided to get married. In musing on the things I’d like to say to them, I find that I could expound on different aspects of marriage ad nauseum. So as to not put my youthful friends into a glazed, catatonic, advice overload, I have compressed my thoughts down to ten points that have contributed to making my marriage an enormously delightful adventure.

1.) Grow up. One of the first lessons in marriage I had to learn is: it’s not all about me. Having a bad day at work or PMSing does not give me carte blanche to be selfish or rude. There is no excuse to mistreat the one I profess to love.

2.) Let him/her be right sometimes. In the inevitable disagreements, ask yourself if it’s worth squashing your mate to prove your point. Is it important enough to allow friction into your relationship? Even if you truly believe you are right, if it matters more to the other person, let them have it. The universe will not come to a grinding halt. Really.

3.) Assume the best. When your mate does step in it, give them the benefit of a doubt. They really aren’t lying awake at night plotting your ruin.

4.) Forgive freely. We all foul up. Be lavish with grace. If you’re having difficulty with this, see #1 and #3.

5.) Keep a record of ‘rights’. The Bible tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs. I say, keep a record of ‘rights’. What does your mate do right? Think about those things and write them down. Say thank you.

6.) Reminisce. Remember how it felt when you fell in love with this person? Do you recall the places you frequented, the smells, the sounds? How did it feel when he/she first touched your hand? First kiss? Keep those memories vibrant by revisiting them together often.

7.) Have fun. Flirt and be playful. Delight in the pleasure and absurdity of life with another human being. Laugh and dance and revel in your enjoyment of each other. Married life is a blast. Enjoy it fully.

8.) Indulge in more sex. Ladies, believe it or not, your man wants to slay dragons for you even in the bedroom. He wants to please you. And he wants to be wanted. If you are grudgingly doing your duty as infrequently as possible, that’s not okay. Men, don’t assume your wife wants the whole enchilada every time she touches you. The greatest aphrodisiac is seeing our knight striving to lighten the burden of our domestic duties. Pick up the vacuum, offer to take the dirtiest diaper change, or take over cooking duty once in a while. I could write a year’s worth of posts on this one, but I’ll keep it succinct here. Sex is a gift. Enjoy it as often as possible.

9.) Be a place of safety for your spouse. Never minimize, belittle, or mock your mate’s feelings. Respect their thoughts and feelings even when you don’t understand them. No one will open up and risk being vulnerable if they fear ridicule.

10.) Be a student of your husband/wife. Educate yourself on your mate’s personality type, love language, upbringing, passions and talents. There are so many factors that go into creating a complex human personality. Learn all you can about this person. Don’t just assume you understand them. Marriage is a lifetime of discovery about the one you love. Personally, I’d like to get an A+ in this subject, wouldn’t you?

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Contrary to popular misconceptions, most marriages today are happy. In ‘The Good News About Marriage’, by Shaunti Feldhahn with Tally Whitehead, I learned that around 80 percent of couples describe their marriage as happy, with a third of those describing their marriage as very happy. My husband and I are definitely in the very happy category and have been for most of our marriage. I hope to convey to my young friends that, while a happy marriage won’t happen by accident, it is attainable.

Your turn: What marriage tips do you have for my young friends? Are any of these tips difficult for you? Is there any topic here that you’d like to hear more about in a future post?

Sharing this post over at Grace and Truth today.Β  Come on over and join us!

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25 thoughts on “10 Tips For An Almost Perfect Marriage

  1. Great article, as always. Not new to this list, but one of the things we were told early on was to give the benefit of the doubt as much as possible (your #3). It has stopped many issues before they even surfaced. I think this has been huge for us.

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  2. Loved reading your tips for a successful marriage. After more than 40 years of happy wedded bliss I can vouch for all of these points. My Mr. Wonderful has taught me many things, one of the most important is to remember that men are sensitive beings…even when they are manly macho men. They may allow you and only you to see that side of themselves…….but only if you give them opportunity.
    Bk

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    • Wise words, Bonnie! You are very right. How many men clam up and bury their natural sensitivities because they aren’t given a safe opportunity to explore that side of themselves? Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation. I miss seeing your smile! Love you! ❀

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  3. This is beautifully written and I agree with your points…however, some of them are hard! I find a few of them challenging (just being honest here!) but keep pressing on day by day πŸ™‚

    Found you on the Grace & Truth Link Up, Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough

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    • I do agree that some of these are hard, Rachael. I’ve struggled with many of them at one point or another in my marriage. But as we press on and learn daily to die to ‘self’ it becomes easier. I’m curious as to which ones are difficult–If you feel up to sharing that, I’d love to know if there are some of these topics that would benefit from a longer, more thought-provoking post. Thanks so much for your honesty, and for taking the time to read! May your day be super blessed today! πŸ™‚

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  4. Like Bonnie and Mr. Wonderful above, my husband and I have also been married 40+ years. I, too, can vouch for the wisdom of these tips. If you had written 20 tips, Rebeca, you probably would have included this one: “Be the first to say you’re sorry.” Does it matter who started the argument? Does it matter that he has more to apologize for than you do? (And that might be questionable to an objective observer!) What matters is regaining peace and joy in the relationship. Clearing the air ASAP is far superior to living under a dark cloud of resentment!

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    • Wow, Nancy! I’m feeling sheepish that that one didn’t cross my mind. (It’s a humbling reminder that I am still growing and learning too!) That is so huge and I will definitely pass it on to my young friends. I like how you put it, “What matters is regaining peace and joy in the relationship.” So true. Thanks for adding that! πŸ™‚

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  5. Thanks for this topic and the 10 tips. My favorite is #10. I love the idea of constantly learning, in general, and learning about my love would be a great priority. For your new friends? They certainly have a solid resource in your post. The best advice Mike and I got was to look to God as our baseline and not each other. We would frequently compare what each of us were doing to each other, who got away with what and who is doing better at such and such. It’s childish, and it’s what our kids do and we counsel them not to and then we still go on doing it! I would encourage, rather than fixing our eyes on each other as a baseline of morals, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2.

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    • Excellent advice! I will pass it on to my friends. πŸ™‚ I think this fits for all relationships, don’t you? When our eyes are squarely on Jesus, we stop the comparison game and learn to simply love. Thanks so much, Joanne, for taking the time to share your wisdom. Grace and peace to you.

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  6. This list is great! I think the best thing my husband and i have is communication and honesty. We can open up to each other about anything, including our struggles. It helped so much that we were best friends before we even got married. πŸ™‚

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    • Being best friends with your man is awesome, yes? It makes all of these tips so much easier to implement. Open communication is a must! Thanks for stopping by Deborah. I hope you have a super blessed week! πŸ˜ƒ

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  7. This is awesome. I had to reblog your post. So helpful, full of wisdom, and attainable. I can do this!!!! Marriage is indeed the most important thing. We must be intentional and spend time with our husbands. They are treasures from God that we must value. And when we fight, we must remember that our husbands are not the enemy, but that there is an enemy that would love to destroy our marriages. Pray constantly for one another.

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  8. Tips #8 & #9 are top on my list, too! I’ve come across too many women who not only dislike being intimate with their husbands, but use intimacy as a weapon against their men. Our marriage needs to be a safe haven against the world around us. #3 is also key. When we think well of our spouse, they want to BE what we expect of them. If you expect bad, why would they be interested in doing better? If we expect good, they want prove our faith is well founded. Your list is great!

    If I were to add one more, I would add watch using ‘buzz words’ like never and always. (eg. “You always do that” or “You never…”) Certain words tend to set off emotions and start internal wars. If we try to avoid using them and pick our words more carefully, we are more likely to avoid bumps in the road.

    Thanks for these great reminders!

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    • Excellent addition to the list, Cristina! Words are so powerful. We too easily forget that in the heat of annoyance. How many full-blown fights could be avoided if we watched those particular buzz words? Thanks for stopping by and contributing!

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  9. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I love your very last statement “. I hope to convey to my young friends that, while a happy marriage won’t happen by accident, it is attainable.” I could not agree more it will not happen by accident. My husband and I have just gone through and are still recovering from a very hard season. And it all boiled down to the fact that I had become complacent in our relationship. I was happy but in being so I was neglecting other needs and most of all my husband. It was such an easy trap to fall into but now that I am aware of it I am very much making our relationship and his happiness a priority. Selfishness sneaks in so quietly at times you don’t even realize it until it is almost to late.

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    • I’m so glad to hear that you and your husband are recovering from the rough season. Complacency and self-centeredness are indeed sneaky enemies we all must be on the look out for. It’s too easy to get caught up in all of our other roles and duties and thus neglect the one we promised to love and cherish, isn’t it?

      Praying that your marriage continues to heal and that the two of you come out stronger than you ever imagined! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and hope to ‘see’ you again here! πŸ™‚ Grace and peace to you–

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