This week I am doing Writing Prompt Wednesday a little differently. In honor of my cousin’s wedding last weekend, I have decided to share with the world the marriage advice I gave her at her bridal shower. Be forewarned, I do not dance around the hard stuff. At the end, please share your advice for a long lasting marriage.
To the wonderful women and men about to embark on the best journey yet,
There are lots of articles, blogs, and opinions out there about what makes a great marriage. I do not proclaim to be an expert, but I speak to you from my eleven years of experience. Marriage is the most wonderful and also the most difficult journey a person can choose to make, but thankfully it is not endured alone. By God’s grace, you have been given a wonderful partner to face the future with. In no particular order, here is my advice for a great, long lasting marriage. (For the sake of ease of writing I will speak to the potential wife, but the advice goes for both sexes.)
Make marriage a threesome.
No, not that kind! I mean no marriage should be entered or continued through without God. Growing close to God separately will also draw you together. Pray for each other daily, together if possible, but definitely in the solitude of your quiet time. Ask what you can pray for. Just asking allows opportunity for communication and growth.
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT
Don’t fight with your partner, fight for them. Being married today is like living in a war zone. If you just sit there and let things happen, you will be attacked and probably injured, if not altogether killed. Be proactive in your marriage. Treat your spouse like when you were dating. Flirt and dress up. Be sneaky and naughty. Drop little random text messages just saying you love him, you prayed for him, or you were just thinking about him.
“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.” – Ephesians 5:28-29
Have lots of sex.
God created it and it was GOOD… (inside the context of marriage of course). In fact He dedicated a whole book to it. Read Song of Songs again after you are married. It makes a whole lot more sense. From my experience and discussing with lots of other women, guys tend to equate reassurance of love and attractiveness with sex. But sex isn’t just for the guy. Women, it is okay to enjoy it and want it, too. In fact, Paul tells us not to withhold sex unless for a mutual agreement of fasting and prayer. There is a reason for it. Withhold sex and it is a door for trouble to slip through.
“Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:5 NIV
Take him off a pedestal.
He is Mr. Right, but he isn’t Mr. Perfect. There will be times when he fails you. Believe me, when I say it hurts him as much as it does you, even if he never says it. He will never be able to fulfill your every need, only God was meant to do that.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 4:19 NIV
Become an architect.
Everyone likes to be built up. Build up your spouse, both in private and in public. In private, thank him for the little things. Recognize even the silliest thing like loading the dishwasher. Seems easy, right? Try that when you are angry or hurt. Sometimes it has to be a purposeful act. Build him up in public, even when he is not around. While it is easy to vent to others about disappointments, be aware it can get back to him and be painful. Always build him up to others. Save your venting for your prayer time with God, He can handle it.
“ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29
Count to ten.
He will do stupid stuff. He will do things that make you angry. He will do something that will make you wonder why you married him. Write down ten universal things about him you love that are actions. While he may be the sexiest hunk of a man now, that full head of hair may not be there later. Maybe you love how he can make you laugh. Write it down and include your favorite memory. Maybe you love how he loves the Lord. Write it down. When you get so upset that all you can see is the bad in him, revisit those ten things you love about him.
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” Philipians 1:3 NLT
“Let it go! Let it go!”
Alright, so maybe that is a song from Frozen, but it is true. Once you have forgiven each other of something, truly forgive it. Slam the door on that memory, turn away, and let it go forever. Don’t bring up old wounds. Remembering the mistakes of the past doesn’t do anything to help the future.
“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” – Luke 17:4 NIV
Have eyes only for him.
Yes, there are some sexy men out there. Yes, that man who just walked by might have the best butt you have ever seen, but do not take that double-take. This is more a matter of protecting your heart for him. While it was fun and enjoyable to comment on the “hottie” walking by, up on the big screen, or in that half-naked post before marriage, you now have someone else who should have all your attention.
It may sound radical, but have eyes only for him. Don’t comment. Maybe you are more confident than me, but if I heard my husband commenting on other women, I would feel insecure about my body and how he views me. Don’t even take a first (let alone a second) look at another man. This will protect you from becoming dissatisfied later. Age, time, and circumstances change bodies. He needs to know, no matter what, he is the sexiest man in the world to you.
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 NIV
Love is communicated through respect. Men thrive under respect or whither without it. Thank him for what he does to help support you both. Take in interest in what gives him satisfaction. Support him in his endeavors, even if you think it is the stupidest, most inefficient plan on the planet. Believe me there will be plenty of times you will want to roll your eyes, but don’t! Respect for each other can make or break a marriage.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33 NIV
Uncork the Bottle
No, this is not a reference to drinking. When your man does something that bothers you or doesn’t do something he has said he would do, do not bottle up your frustration. Uncork the bottle and let him know before it become bitterness or even a fight that has nothing to do with the real reason you are angry. Communication is key to survival, whether it be over finances or which sports team is better. Don’t bottle up your emotions and opinions, share them honestly and respectfully.
“In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” – Ephesians 4:26
Some of these ideas may seem radical, and even stupid, but trust me when I say they are what have helped me through eleven years of a roller coaster life with my husband. May God bless your marriage and fill it with a lifetime of wonderful memories and happiness.
Prayers for a wonderful journey,
What advice would you give those about to enter marriage? Share it below!
Feel free to share, print off, and even stick into wedding/bridal shower cards. I would be honored if you do.