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8 Simple Steps to a Better Marriage

I am not a marriage counselor and never thought I would do much writing about marriage.  However, in seeing and talking to some people in the last few months I have wanted to write up some of the wisdom that I have learned.  I am terrible at verbally sharing things…that probably why I blog 🙂 Not sure it is earth shaking or will fix everything but it is what I have learned.

Marriage is such a beautiful gift.  This is a perfect example of:

‘The whole is greater then the sum of it’s parts’ – Aristotle

Sure life can be fun alone, but the beauty and benefit of marriage is so much better.  …sorry to those of you who aren’t married.   I totally recommend marriage.

However, just being married doesn’t mean it is a benefit or a great marriage.  I don’t know that I completely agree with the idea that ‘a great marriage takes work’, it might, but a great marriage should be the goal instead of just a legal document and someone to live with.  

My husband and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this summer.  Beyond the fact that the number makes me feel a bit older than I would like, I truly can’t imagine my life without him.  He is the perfect man 😉

I have heard that the 1st and 7th year are the hardest.  We have made it through both so I figured I could share a few ideas with you.

All these ideas are simple.  There is no charts, graphs, equations, or formulas.  They might be different levels ranging from easy to hard, but they are all simple.  Also, these are personal things.  These are ideas for you to implement in your side of the relationship.  This isn’t a score card for your spouse.  So, here we go:

8 Simple Steps to a Better Marriage:

  1. Be Committed – When you committed with your vows did you mean for life?  Do you have plan B in your head?  It is hard not to see divorce as an option when it is all around us.  My parents divorced when I was young, so many people’s did. How can we not see divorce as an option when we have lived through it?  However, if you see these options it can come down to picking which option is best (staying married or divorcing) instead of working on staying married.  Committed means that you don’t look or consider a plan B, the only plan is to stay married.
  2. Submit/Respect – Women submit, men respect.  This is a tough concept.  I hit it this morning reading worship in 1 Peter 3.  Growing up in a house without a dad I never understood gender roles. I thought everyone could be everything and that nothing made a woman or man better than the other.  I still agree that there isn’t a superior gender, but I have learned that there is a benefit to gender roles.  Typically I believe women are looking for someone to lead the family, someone to protect them, someone to make the hard decisions.  Men (I am not an expert in this area) are looking for nurture, someone to take care of them and the family, someone look up to them and believe in them, something to protect and fight for.  Looking at these roles the submit and respect really do fit and are very necessary to creating a union where these basic needs are met.
  3. Serve – This is really basic.  Serve your spouse.  Do what you can to make their life easier.  Do what you can to make their life more fun – help, surprise, work together.  Marriage is a team and if you can help your spouse you help the whole team.
  4. Build-Up/Believe in Them to Their Face and to Others – It is understood that children perform and grow better if you believe in them and expect greatness from them.  What if you treated your spouse like that?  The crazy thing about people is that we become who people think we are.  Build-up and believe in your spouse with both words and actions.  Be the person that only has great things to say about their spouse to others.  On this note, don’t be the person saying ‘if I wasn’t married I would totally go for’, or ‘that person is so hot/smart/talented’.  That looks bad on you and your marriage.
  5. Clearly Communicate – Something about cross gender communication is that it just doesn’t happen easily.  You and your friends/buddies can all be on the same page hanging out together but when it comes to marriage being on the same page doesn’t just appear.  Don’t hint, drop clues, dodge around an issue.  Your married.  Even if it isn’t easy to come out and say what you want the practice will be good for you.  You want flowers, ask for them. You want s** ask for it.  Clear and open communication is so much less effort than communication games.
  6. Accept – Don’t try and change the other person.  Basically… without mincing words… you picked this person with all the benefits and quirks.   There was no (or shouldn’t have been) an agreement at the beginning that said ‘if we get married than you need to become xyz’.  Somehow people think their spouse is great when they get married…nobody changes…and a few years (or weeks) down the road they are trying to changes each other into different people.  Not part of the deal folks.  What you can do to grow and change yourself for the better is always good, but don’t focus on changing your spouse.
  7. Take Care of Yourself – Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally.  Neither man or woman marries into having someone else to take care of them.  A spouse offers great help and support, but you are still responsible for taking care of yourself.
  8. Enjoy – Enjoy being married.  I hate the references to marriage being work.  I think it was meant to be fun.  Don’t just grit your teeth and struggle through these steps, do them for fun, for a happier and ‘funner’ marriage.  You are living with your best friend.  You have someone to enjoy life with who understands you better than anyone else.  This is the person who knows all about you and knows all the inside jokes. Make sure to take the time to enjoy being married.

There you have it.  Marriage is totally worth it 😉

Here is the dreaded kissing picture 🙂  It has been a few months since I put my dreads in and they still look pretty rough. They are lots of fun though.  

10 Comments

  1. I love the “take care of yourself” step. After my second babe was born, it really took me a long time to figure out who I was, and what the heck I was doing with two babes. It was stressful, and I felt like I was giving out so much, I didn’t have time to take care of myself. I realized that was not the way to do it, and after 10 months of stress and anger, I finally sat down and said I am killing myself, I need to do better. I haven’t turned back since, and I think my husband and my kids are happier for it. I know I am!

    • Yep, the saying ‘if momma ain’t happy than no one is happy’ is definitely true 🙂

  2. Cam Cam

    Hi Lorilee,
    Great post. Many of the key points I had not picked up on like you have, however they clicked as soon as I read them.

    Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom!
    ~Cam

    • Thanks for coming by 🙂 I don’t think any of it is rocket science, but lots of it is sometimes hard to remember even though we know it is true.

  3. Great post- I couldnt agree more. Marriage can be bliss when these priciples are applied. The hubby and I have been married for 7 and a haslf years and are more in love now than the day we married.

    • yay! Can you imagine the possibilities for the relationship 40 years down the road? Fun stuff 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing what works for you. It’s always interesting to see how others view relationships/marriage. I may not agree with all of the above (especially #2), but I think it helps to share what works in case it can help another.

    • 🙂

  5. Jason Jason

    I was going to get all fired up about number two, when I realized that it really should be re-written. If “submit and respect” work in your marriage, that is great. Number two should really be titled, “find the right roles.” My marriage is balanced very differently from your example (my wife is the primary breadwinner and I play a more supporting role) and I couldn’t be a happier husband.

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