Marriage is not an ownership, but a partnership. I don’t OWN my husband. I can’t control him. Can’t tell him what to do or order him around. He is not my child. He is a person and I should trust him enough to make responsible choices. We are a team, and we are on the same side.
Finances can bring you together or tear you apart. Finances very well may be the most stressful thing in many marriages. Talk about money. Don’t hide. Don’t scold. Work through it. Don’t belittle each other, but support each other and hold each other accountable. Somehow, God has always provided when our fears start coming in. We lived paycheck to paycheck for a long time. And I remember several times when we had no food and no money in our checking account, and a grocery store gift card would be mailed to us. Or a hospital would send us a reimbursement check for overpaying a bill. Our needs have always been met. I also want to add- it is important to differentiate between wants and needs.
True love overlooks the physical flaws. The smelly feet, pimples, toenail clippings, bathroom smells, bad singing voice, mother nature meltdowns, burnt supper, messy hair and no makeup, cellulite, stretch marks and varicose veins- all of it! Also- Marriage isn’t like a fairy tale. Or most of the time. Sometimes it is a fantasy and my Pandora is set on a sappy romantic station. But sometimes he frustrates me so much that my theme song is Carrie Underwood “Before He Cheats,“ that I’m singing at the top of my angry lungs.
He needs respect. I need love. Ephesians 5:33 “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Remember your needs, and the needs of the other. Sometimes when I am needing love, I will overly-mushy gushy love my husband. But that’s not necessarily what he needs. He needs my respect.
Be together. Do something together. Pray together. Set goals together. Pick a ministry or charity and work at it together. Find a hobby that is just for fun. Exercise, clean, cook, anything- just work to accomplish something together.
Flirting is still important. Be yourselves and feel free to be goofy around each other. Have fun and make each other laugh. And don’t forget to date.
Don’t put the kids in the complete middle of your world. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid. And it is also good for kids to know that they aren’t the center of the universe. That your spouse is equally as important as they are. One day our kids will be out of our home, and we will have to remember how to just be us.
Communication is everything. A lot of silly fights are the result of lack of communication. If you need something, tell him. If you want to go hang out with your friends, tell her. Talk about money, kids, sex, friends, families, school, work, life. Talk. And even more important- Listen.
Forgiveness is vital. Trust until it’s broken, then put everything you have into rebuilding that trust. You both will say mean things and do dumb things. But it is important to remember that if you expect him to forgive you, then you also need to forgive him. And forgive yourself. Don’t hold grudges or keep count of wrongs. That will do nothing but tear down your trust instead of build it back up.
And number 10- because there are way more than 9!
Keep God at the center. Pray together, worship together, talk to your kids about Jesus. Make God a part of your daily life.