That’s right, after a mere almost five years of marriage I have some advise. All you reading who have MORE experience (have been married LONGER…honestly anyone with less than 3 years really should just NOT comment and I will be polling responders) feel free to chime in…in fact, give us your best advice. This will by no means be comprehensive it’s just “starter” advice.
1. I’ve said it before but it is worth saying again… before you get married, KNOW that you KNOW, that you KNOW that the person you are marrying is the one God put you with. This will get you through a lot.
2. NEVER, ever, use the word divorce. Do not throw it around in anger or frustration. Do not throw it around in jest. It’s not funny and it’s not a “safe” word.
3. Commit to WORK IT OUT. Whatever it is.
4. Forgive and forget. It is not enough to forgive you must also forget. As Corinthians says, “Love…keeps no record of wrong” (I Corinthians 13:5).
5. Fight fair. That means not bringing up past fights, past words, past misdeeds during the current fight.
6. No hitting, no punching, no throwing things….basically, be a grown-up and do NOT throw fits. Don’t be a bully. All of these things border on bullying. Think about it, throwing a fit is just bullying your spouse into getting your way. Just sayin’
7. Cut the apron strings. Stop running to Mom and Dad every time something goes wrong. This includes financially. My parents helped us out a lot and they have repeated blessed us. But we had to finally had to decide that “running to mom and dad” was not leading us to be responsible with our finances. Cutting the apron strings also means not running to mom and dad every time things don’t go your way.
8. Which leads me to number 8. We all need to vent about our spouse at times. Be careful what you say and to whom, especially when it comes to family. I am not exactly sure how I learned this, but I am pretty sure it was from my mom. I know that my dad does thing that drive my mom crazy. They have been married for over 40 years (yes, they were like 15 when they got married). My mom may say something here and there but it is NEVER revealing of a sin. Proverbs (10:12) says, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” My sister told me that her pastor’s wife told her that when she and her husband married, he asked her to make a deal with him that when they fought or had a deep issue with one another they would not talk with their family about it. She said she could not imagine not telling her mom anything. She agreed anyway. They have been married for years now and she now understands and agrees with her husband that while she would easily forgive the husband she loves, her mom may not have been so forgiving. That is the thing. When it comes to family, it is better for you to seek outside counsel from a neutral party than to have your family not getting along with your spouse for years and years. Marriage, if done correctly, is forever. You want your parents and siblings to love your spouse. (I would like take a moment to point out that in my family, I am pretty sure my mom would take the Hub’s side in any disagreement…I’m just sayin’).
9. Don’t argue in front of others. There are so many reasons for this but mainly you both look immature and foolish. And everyone around you feels uncomfortable and awkward hearing you fight.
10. Learn to laugh at yourself. Some of our best laughs are at stupid things we did or said during a fight. Seriously, I once told the Hubs (with complete dripping sarcasm) , “How convenient!!” when he had to go to the bathroom during the middle of an argument. We still laugh about it and occasionally use “How convenient” as a catch phrase.
When we were growing up, my mom told us (and I think her dad told her this when she got married), if you fight with your spouse, you can come over to our house but you can NOT stay. She told us that if we came running home after getting married that she would tell us what her dad told her, “Go home and work it out”. I honestly believe there probably would have been some exceptions (like if we were in physical danger) but she has stuck by that over the years. My grandparents may not have had the best marriage on the planet (who did back then??) but they were married over 50 years and my parents are solid with over 40 years so they must doing something right.
I will be most interested to hear what my dad has to say about all this. He’s a bit of a character. (I love you dad. Thanks for loaning us all that money. I’m sorry…I should have realized sooner that you aren’t a bank).