Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here's this week's, which actually fits quite well with all the marriage talk we've had around here lately!
With June, the wedding month, peeking around the corner at us, I thought it was time to present you with twenty-five tips for a successful marriage. And so, in no particular order, here is my accumulated wisdom, little as it may be:
1. Talk to your spouse more kindly than you talk to anyone else in the world. Too often we speak the most harshly to those closest to us.
2. Remember that marriage is less about marrying the right person and more about becoming the right person.
3. Don’t forget to laugh. Most couples spend the majority of their time talking logistics: who’s doing the grocery shopping, who’s calling the repairman, who’s picking up the kids. A relationship can’t survive on logistics. Have a water fight instead.
4. She needs you to be her best friend. Everyday, talk to her and tell her what you’re thinking. Even if you don’t think you’re thinking about anything. She needs to hear your heart.
5. He needs you to be his cheerleader. Let him know you believe he can take on the world.
6. Find ways to say “I love you” that don’t involve sex.
7. When you dress up, make sure the main person you’re dressing up for is him. And put on lipstick.
8. Leave the toilet seat down.
9. Forgiving means not bringing that old infraction up every time you have a new fight. Let it go.
10. If it’s not solved at 2:30 a.m., it’s not going to be solved at 3:00 a.m. either. Go to sleep. You can deal with it tomorrow, assuming you even remember what the fight was about.
11. When you’re having an argument, listen to understand, don’t listen to find loopholes so you can win. Marriage is either a win/win or a lose/lose. You can’t win by beating someone else down.
12. Your kids come second, not first. Your marriage needs to be number one. Your spouse was there before the kids and will be there after the kids move out. Work on that relationship first.
13. If you haven’t fully committed to your marriage, it won’t succeed. If you’re always testing your spouse, your spouse will always come up short. No one is perfect.
14. You will never drift together. People only ever drift apart. If you want to grow closer, you have to be intentional about it.
15. Let her cry. She needs to every now and then.
16. Don’t bug him if he doesn’t cry. Some men just don’t show their feelings. That’s why they’re men.
17. Don’t say everything that’s on your mind. More marriages would survive if more things went unsaid.
18. Let her be your every fantasy. Keep your eyeballs off everyone else.
19. Let him be your every fantasy. Keep your eyeballs off romance novels.
20. Don’t think he’s gross if he farts. Don’t think she’s pathetic if she obsesses over paint colours. You married someone of the opposite gender. That’s what life is about.
21. Don’t run to your mom if your spouse does something you don’t like. You’re a unit now. Act like it.
22. Make one of your favourite topics of conversation how much you admire your spouse. Tell your kids. Tell your friends. And let your spouse hear.
23. Men would be ecstatic if women showed up naked and brought food. Most women need more than that. Men, make it your goal in life to figure her out. Woo her. She’s worth it.
24. Say yes far more frequently than you say no.
And finally, for you women:
25. Every now and then, jump him.
And may you all live happily ever after.
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About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.