1. You must get married in a dress similar to Princess Dianna’s dress.
I don’t know what the magic in this dress design is, but everyone I know that has been married 20-30 years got married in this type of dress!
2. Don’t listen to Kenny Rogers. His music maybe…but not his advice. He says he knows all about marriage because he has been married so many times! It’s funny. We all laugh. But I constantly see people getting advice from miserable, selfish people who have never had a decent relationship. The only reason you should ask them for relationship advice is to find out what not to do!
Find someone with a great relationship similar to what you’d like to have and spend time with them! Ask them what makes it work!
3. Understand What Commitment Means!!! Relationships take work. Attraction comes and goes. Feelings are unreliable. You will be attracted to other people. You will have hard times. If you don’t have a commitment to get you through those times, you will never be able to build a life together.
Brian and I believe that marriage is a covenant*: meaning that we would rather die than break our vows. There have been times that we drove each other so crazy that death started to seem like an attractive option…not even kidding…but we made it through and love each other a ton more because we survived those times together. That history together strengthens our bond like nothing else can.
4. Pray!!! I say all the time that my kids and my marriage are proof that prayers work! If anyone deserves to have messed up kids and a failed marriage, it’s me! When my kids were little, they would get mad and go sit in the corner with a Bible and note pad. They didn’t know how to read, but they knew when Mom was losing it, that’s what I did!
And there were times when Brian and I both prayed for strength to endure!
Truthfully, we’ve never been good at praying together, because apppaaarently…someone is really long winded in her prayers and torturous to listen to! But we rock at praying for each other.
5. You seriously need help. Marriage is hard. Spouses are annoying and hard to understand. Two people living together are bound to drive each other crazy. Communication, forgiveness, humility, sharing, and generally relating to someone else who is different from you all take skills that most of us don’t have and all of us could get better at. Go to counseling! Read those annoying marriage books.
6. Argue mo betta. Despite tons and tons of practice, this is still a skill that I’m working on! Generally, I’m just getting better at apologizing and compromising sooner… Remember that you are a team. There is no win-lose when you are arguing. Any argument that ends with one of you losing ends with your relationship losing.
7. Trust that your partner has your best interest at heart. For 24 years, I argued with Brian and got my feelings hurt because he never planned special things for us to do. I would cry about how no one had to remind him to watch Florida State play football but I had to remind him to go out to eat with me. Finally, I realized that FSU planned the game for him and he knew exactly when to go sit on the couch. All these years, all I needed to do was trust that he wanted to do stuff with me and take responsibility for planning it….sigh…
8. Focus on the positive. Years ago, I was so frustrated with Brian, that I sat down at the computer and googled “What to do when you hate your husband but don’t want to leave him.” The article I found was an in your face article about focusing on the good rather than the bad. No one has to tell you to focus on things that make you angry, but it takes a lot of discipline to focus on the positives. When I consistently made the effort to focus on the positive, I realized there were a ton more positives! I had just been consumed with one wrong that I felt like needed some grandiose gesture of reconciliation. I became obsessed and bitter and I let it ruin my relationship for a while. It is crazy that Brian was doing so many great things but I just didn’t know how to quit focusing on the stuff that he did which really ticked me off!
9. Don’t be the crazy high guy. Proverbs 12:15 is one of my favorite Bible verses. “The way of a fool seems right to them but the wise listen to others”.
You never hear anyone say something completely idiotic followed by, “Of course, I’m open to considering what other people have to say about this belief and getting insights from people wiser than me.”
No! That crazy dude who thinks Bigfoot eats bacon with aliens is convinced that everyone who disagrees with him is part of some huge conspiracy to conceal the truth that he discovered while he was high one night.
Don’t be like that crazy high guy in your marriage. No one is always right! I promise that you are wrong in some of your beliefs and attitudes. If you aren’t willing to admit that, then you are probably a fool in some area of your life. Your friends and acquaintances can probably quickly identify the area too!
It’s super hard to swallow your pride and admit to your spouse that you might not be right about something (believe me! I HATE it.) but I swear it is worth it.
10. Read my blog or the Bible which is probably better, but you should be growing and becoming a better person. It’s the best when you and your spouse are doing this together.
I love chatting about this. So feel free to contact me!
*There are religious people who abuse covenant language and use it to keep people in abusive relationships. I do not believe that was ever God’s intent! The covenant relationship is about two people committed to making the marriage work. Obviously, people shouldn’t put up with abuse and cheating is breaking the covenant.