Monday, February 22, 2016

62 Words of Advice About Marriage

The following excerpts are advice about marriage that was shared via email, Facebook, and handwritten notes.  Some statements were shared by people from Pleasant Grove UMC; others came from people outside of our congregation.  The advice is not in any particular order and I make no claims about the accuracy of these statements.  I simply share them for your consideration.  I would welcome the opportunity to counsel with you privately about how to have a happier marriage. For Biblical advice about marriage, click here.

How do you have a life-long, happy marriage? What marriage advice would you give to a young couple? What advice helped you most in your marriage?

1.     Open communication, honesty, teamwork, forgiveness, and common interest/hobby.

2.     Do not be jealous or do anything to cause your spouse to be jealous.  Think “we” not “me.”  Support your spouse.

3.     Marriage is NOT a 50/50 relationship.  Both have to commit 100% to the marriage and keep God at the center of everything.

4.     When things get tough go straight to his (God’s) word and read and pray together.  Talk about everything even if it is uncomfortable.

5.     Do you want to be "right" all the time or do you want to be happy?

6.     I can tell you what my Dad told me 47 years ago, "Never go to bed mad at each other. Even if you have to sit on the side of the bed for hours to work it out." We have done just that a few times.

7.     Marriage is not just a covenant between you and your spouse but between you, your spouse and God.

8.     And, marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100. You give 100%. That's your end of it. You, however, are not the judge of whether or not your spouse is giving their "fair share".

9.     Marriage and love is about taking as much heart ache the other person can throw at you and still love them at the end of the day.

10.  Take a good long look at the baggage you bring into your marriage. Don't punish your partner for something someone else did to you. Work hard to make sure you both mean the same thing. Words can mean different things to different people. You are building a brand new world; make sure it's one you both love.

11.  Just because you are talking to each other doesn't mean you are communicating. So many times [my wife] and I have had a conversation come back later wondering what happened. After further discussion it turns out the words and phrases we used meant different things to each of us. Keep talking and clarifying with each other.

12.  Talk about your family of origin and how they did things and said things. It matters more than you think.

13.  Don't always be right, and make a scene to prove you’re right, learn to say I am sorry, I was wrong!

14.  Our question we add to pretty much every stress event going on in our life is: what can we do about it right now? And more times than naught, it's absolutely nothing. Example: It's Monday and I don't get paid until Wednesday and I get a cancel notice in the mail, is there anything we can do about it right now? No. But we can sit down and work out a plan of action for tomorrow. My point is, there's no since in arguing about something you cannot solve right now. It serves no purpose.

15.  Never go to bed mad at each other or without praying together.

16.  That Christ's (and the Bible's) command to love our neighbor with self-sacrificial love applies to the neighbor with whom we share a life, a family, and a bed.

17.  Be the first to forgive...  everyone makes mistakes even yourself...  so don't forget to forgive yourself.

18.  Learn the concept of sacrifice! Love is about sacrificing the "mine" for the "ours". Right & wrong doesn't matter. What matters is what you can do for the other part of the marriage. Learn to swallow pride.

19.  Go to church regular & move away from family for a while so you can stand on your own 2 feet & figure it out for yourself.

20.  GOD: put him smack dab in the center. Think of your marriage relationship the same way you think of how your relationship with God should be!

21.  Pride: move it aside. No room for pride in a marriage.

22.  Selfishness: no room for that either! Be willing to move yourself out of the way and really think about your spouse.

23.  Percentages: marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. And there will be times one spouse is 170 and the other is 30. You lovingly help carry their load!

24.  Respect: seriously important!! No explanation necessary!! If you want it, give it-even when it isn't deserved!!

25.  LAUGH! LAUGH!!LAUGH!! It makes everything better!! Be willing to laugh at yourself!! And about the craziest little thing!!

26.  Humble: be humble!! Humility is a powerful thing! You are no better than your spouse and all sin is the same.

27.  Speech: if you got nothing good to say then shut your pie hole. It is perfectly ok to walk away from an argument and not have the last word. What if your last word was truly your last word that you ever said to your spouse? Could you live with the guilt? It is ok to walk away, leave the house, do whatever is necessary but ALWAYS come back!! Leaving forever isn't an option (except in abusive situations of any sort)!! And yes, sometimes going to bed angry will happen but tell your spouse you guys need to shelve the discussion until you can both pray and then speak out of love and not anger. This is coming from a couple who has been married for 21 years not including time off for bad behavior. We divorced for a year and a half and have been married longer this time than the last. The Lord has had His work cut out for Him but oh what a blessing this second chance has been. He really did a work on both of us and changed our hearts!

28.  If you argue, argue naked. It won't last long. J

29.  If the person you married got cancer right after your first anniversary and EVERYTHING changed, could you stay and cope with a totally different, difficult life? If not... Don't get married!

30.  Couples fall in & out of love. The key is to be patient to fall back in love stronger each time.

31.  Always say I love and I sorry and mean it!

32.  Do not marry someone you don't know. If you haven't had a fight, a real fight, you do not know one another yet.

33.  a. With life comes growth, and growth isn't always at the same time. Your spouse won't always be the same person you married, and neither will you. You have to wake up every day and remember to fall in love with that new and different person every single day! Change is inevitable, learn to love the changes or ignore them one (just kidding on that last part!).
      b. Sometimes you just have to pick up the slack... And remember your partner will have to too.
      c. The most intimate thing you can ever do with your spouse is pray together. It improves ALL areas of your marriage. 
      d. marry someone who doesn't chase after your heart, but chases after the Lord’s.
      e. Most importantly, remember your spouse cannot "complete" you or your life, only God can. You can improve each other's lives, but you can't complete each other.

34.  When you’re mad at your spouse, pray for them. It's hard to be mad at someone once you start praying for them.

35.  Define love: tangible, sacrificial, committed, and compassionate. God has displayed His love for the world by giving us Jesus Christ. (God's love is tangible). Jesus gave His life as a ransom. (God's love is sacrificial.) Jesus loved us all the way to the cross. (God's love is committed.) God offers us forgiveness before we even ask. (God's love is other directed - compassionate). Those same four attributes should be displayed in marriage - you can't just say "I love you" and not tangibly display it. You must be willing to lay aside your desires for your spouses - be sacrificial. You must be committed thick and thin, good and bad, like or dislike, feeling "in love" or not. You must realize the other person will not always live up your dreams or be perfect. Thus be compassionate.

36.  Obviously God first. After that, life will bring its own struggles; there is no need to fabricate them. Don't assume that your spouse is acting maliciously; if they upset you, they might not be aware of it. Discuss the issue rationally in lieu of emotionally. Treat your relationship as a team effort working towards the same goal. Forget about my car and your car, or my keys and your keys, it's all ours. If he scratches the car you both have to pay for it. If she loses her keys you both have to replace them. In the end it's just a car, they are just keys. We took a class at our church a few years ago and were surprised at the insignificant things couples argue about. Life will bring significant struggles; there is no need to spend much time on the insignificant. If you respect each other and collectively work towards established goals there is little you cannot achieve.

37.  NEVER go to bed angry with, or at, each other, and always kiss each other goodnight! It has worked for us for 24 1/2 years!

38.  Be patient and understanding.

39.  It's not always about love sometimes it has to be about commitment because you don't always love the other person.

40.  I have always remembered the advice of Tom Lanford, the pastor that married us; don't run to your parents tattling every argument because they will remember it long after you've both forgotten it!

41.  Live within your means. Financial worries put extra stress on a marriage. Work as a team and set goals together. Pray about your decisions.

42.  Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It takes both partners giving 100 percent all of the time. Listen to your partner and stop thinking of the next thing you want to say in a disagreement. Stop and think how you would feel if your partner never came home again.

43.  Budget together. When both of you try to actively stay on the same page with the household finances, it leaves much less room for an argument to start over money.

44.  Remember that your roll is to be their spouse, their sidekick, NOT their parent! The concept of being a team has worked for us for close to 35 years.

45.  Don't be a quitter...things are not gonna work out like you think they should in your head...reality TV is not real...50% divorce rate is real...communication is good even if it gets loud sometimes...work hard to guard your heart....Pray for your spouse...give grace...never give up!

46.  Two things I have learned:  First, seek ye first the kingdom of God and all other things will be added unto you!!  Second, when one spouse is having a tough time the other spouse has to be strong and vice-versa.  Never fall out of love with each other on the same day!!!!

47.  Date night matters more after kids. You have to remember to be a couple.

48.  Putting God first and tithing together with money and service. I watch money and the pursuit of material goods become the most important thing in a relationships and it destroys marriages.  Find out what really makes each other feel loved and do those things each day.  Love language is really important especially to us girls!  There is even a book "The Five Love Languages".

49.  In all things be evenly yoked.

50.  Of course never go to bed angry! Always be able to apologize without a "But" afterwards!

51.  "Do you want a personal victory or a closer relationship?" I ask myself that question often. Serve your spouse. Don't keep a ledger and keep on serving.  "A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers" Ruth Graham SO TRUE. Forgiveness.

52.  If you get stuck in "something" in your marriage, get help right away, don't wait until a little thing becomes a BIG thing and it is too late. As a pastor, I could have saved a lot of marriages if they would have just come to me sooner.

53.  Never say or do something that you wouldn't say or do in front of your wife/husband!

54.  Marry your best friend. You can love someone but if you don't like them very much it isn't worth it...and pray to continue to love each other till death do you part.

55.  Be a good listener for each other. Communication is key to a healthy relationship.

56.  Never stop courting.

57.  When you marry someone, you become one with them.  To have a good and happy life, don't down grade each other, build each other up.  Love is never mean.

58.  It's never 50/50. Some days 80/20. Others 20/80. From my Daddy. 52 yrs. marriage to my dear mama.

59.  In fairy tales the stories always end and they lived happily ever after.  Know in life once you say I do that is when the real work begins.  Remember each day to give your partner the best of you.  Times will be hard; don't let divorce be an option.

60.  When your spouse walks through the door, give them a warm greeting! Plant a big kiss on them or give a great big hug. Remind them why they come home every night and that they are appreciated. Also, make sure you kiss them EVERY day. Not a grandma kiss either... give them a 3-6 second "Knock Your Socks Off" kiss and occasionally do it in front of your kids, because it's important that they see that their parents are in love! Lastly, learn what makes your spouse feel loved and appreciated!  Is it bringing them a gift, spending time together, doing something sweet for them, whatever it is...DO it and do it often! 

61.  I believe a couple has to take a long term view of the marriage. Will today's "crisis" really matter a year or two down the road? If not, then it has to be viewed in the proper perspective. Very few things are really as bad, or as good, as they first appear.  I also believe that it very important for wife and husband to stay tuned in to each other during the child rearing years. It's very easy to let our children take over our lives. But then they grow up and leave to start their own lives and wife and husband are left looking at each other and asking, "Who are you?"
 
62. My marriage advice, love is a choice.  Honoring your commitment is a choice.  Honoring each other is a choice.  There will be ups and downs, peaks and valleys.  At the end of the day, you just have to decide that come hell or high water, you are going to hold yourself accountable to the choices you made.  God first, marriage second, kids third, then everything else.  Oh... And you can save yourselves decades of heartache and hardship, by taking this to heart before you make a permanent choice.  2 Corinthians 6:14 NASB  “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
 
The best very place to get marital advice is from the God who designed the human heart and created the institution of marriage. Click Here to read about four passages from the Bible about marriage that will help improve your marriage - Biblical Advice for A Better Marriage.