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?
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?
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