Today I just want to share a few marriage tips from readers! If you want to get in on the goodness, feel free to weigh in below. We can all learn from each other!
"My piece of marriage advice... ask yourself, "what would it be like if was married to me?"... or "Would I want to be married to me?" That certainly causes some thinking." - Kathleen (Kathleen has her masters in conflict analysis + engagement -- some solid advice).
"I'm one of those lucky few who get to say they married their high school sweetheart. I think I've been half in love with him all my life, but at one point in time I wished I'd never met him. He made a mistake. It hurt enough that I switched school my senior year, and lost touch with a dear friend. Flash forward six years, three states and two broken engagements (we were busy in college!) and I ran into him back in our hometown. We only talked for half an hour, but we were engaged in less than two months, married in under nine, and had our son days after our second anniversary. Sadly, that's when our troubles began.
I love forgiveness. Letting God take over frees up so much emotion that I could be using to show love to everyone I meet, but I never forgave my husband for a mistake he made when he was 16-years-old. It took us months of counseling, and one of the worst yelling matches known to man, to finally see what the problem really was. That brings me to what I call "the marriage saver!" Almost everyone I know keeps a dry eraser board on the fridge. They are easy to clean and you don't waste paper. When I'm upset because Phil forgot to do something, did something wrong, or said something inappropriate, I write it down. The magic is in this: he works late, I work early. My list can sit there for hours before he would be able to see it, but he never does. While I'm going about my day I read it often, and I feel sillier each time. It usually stays up for an hour, but when he gets home it usually read, "I love you!" If you are faced with your anger you start to see through it, and you realize it doesn't matter. Nope, not one bit. Not when you have the man of your dreams coming home to you every night" - Kelsey
"Just disappearing with her. Leaving town, together. We don't do it enough. When we do, its magic" - Jon
"First and best: kindness is underrated. I'm learning that there are times when I would have responded in a frustrated or irritated way, but if I can respond with kindness and gentleness, not only does my husband usually adjust his behavior, but our intimacy and joy increases. This has made a HUGE difference in our marriage. HUGE. And then, from a book by Gary Chapman, I've been working on expressing my happiness to see him when I come home at the end of the day. Like instead of "ugh, I'm tired, oh crum, why didn't you clean the kitchen, etc" I'm focusing on just being in the moment and making sure my husband knows I'm thrilled to see him - tiny change, really, really big rewards." - Kimberly (did you note Gary Chapman's book being referenced again? You need to get it!)
And here are some reading resources...
The Five Love Languages- Gary Chapman
Best marriage book ever.
For Women Only- Shaunti Feldhahn
For Men Only- Jeff + Shaunti Feldhan
** These two books are really incredibly. They're full of great surveys + statistics that really open up your eyes to how each gender operates.
And Baby Makes Three- John + Julie Gottman
For those who are expecting or are new parents
Marriage rocks. I don't know if you've ever seen the show, "The Marriage Ref", but basically couples would be videotaped explaining their longtime couple frustrations (she clips her to9e nails in bed, he spends more money on tanning + products than I do... etc.) and a panel of judges would vote to see which spouse was right. It was pretty funny, but whatever, not the point. At the end of every episode, the host would say, "thanks for letting us into your marriage. It's worth fighting for!" ... and that's how I feel. Thanks so much for coming along this long (five post- that's a record!) series with us. Remember- your marriage really IS worth fighting for! Whether you're married for the first time or the fourth time, I hope it's beautiful (and if you aren't married yet- I'm going to do a pre-marital series at some point!). All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!