A lot of my friends are either recently engaged or recently married and have no idea what it takes to make a great marriage. And today I’m going to share some thoughts/ideas/advice that I think helps make a good marriage.
I’m not talking about the perfect marriage, because let’s face it, there is no perfect marriage. We’re not all Snow White and Prince Charming or Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, nope, we’re real peoples. Real peoples have problems. We may have found “our Prince Charming” but it’s not all fairy tale endings and butterflies and ponies and rainbows with each marriage. Trust me, if it were there probably wouldn’t be as many divorced couple out there. Am I right?
I want to point out something before I start this. I am not a relationship expert. I didn’t take any relationship classes in college nor did I go to any seminars, I’m just simply putting my two cents out there.
Let me give you a little look into Mr. Newman and my marriage.
So, we started dating in 2004. I met him at the college we both went to —Go Mavs! <—ha, who am I kidding? We don’t do sports. — and we both started working together. I thought he was a cutie pie, he thought I was adorable (at least I hope he does).
I’ll spare you the mushy stuff about how we he asked me out, I don’t want to embarrass him too much ;). We’ve been together for 11 years and married for 8. AWWW.
I’m not going to say that our marriage is super duper easy, because it’s not. We have different wants and needs and you don’t always figure that out when dating.
So here are some things that I think all newly engaged/married couples should know.
- Save your money.
I’m dead serious folks. Two words for you. Dave Ramsey. Find his Total Money Makeover book. Buy it. Actually buy two, one for you and one for the spouse. Read it. Then read it again. And then read it one more time for good measure. Read it until it is ingrained in your brain. Then find one of his Financial Peace University classes and take it. It is so worth your time people. DO IT. I seriously wished that Mr. Newman and I had heard about him prior to getting married. We’d probably be a bit better off financially if we had. Not saying we’re in trouble, but we’d probably would have taken different steps to not be in debt. But when we did finally hear of Dave Ramsey it was like a blessing. I was let of from my job two years prior, I was pregnant with little Turbo and we were not sure how we were going to have this baby and feed it on top of everything else. Needless to say we spent the $100 for the book for his class and ended up paying off my car and various other debts within the 13 or 16 weeks of that class. Pretty cool huh? So, my friends, save your money because if you’re planning on having kids or doing anything else like buying a house, that stuff ain’t cheap. And stuff happens and you want to be prepared for it when it does. If you wanna read more about our Financial Peace story go here.
2. Don’t go to bed angry.
Ugh, this advice. Really? I know, I’ve heard it million times before. Yawn. Its annoying advice and you hear it all the time from your uncle and your uncle’s cousin and the lady down the street’s dry cleaner, and blah blah. It’s worth listening to. It’s not fun when you and your spouse have had a disagreement on something and you’re both fuming about it when you go to bed. Then you have to lay there next to them, still fuming about whatever it was and then you lose sleep over the fact that you’re still fuming and then you’re fuming over the fact that you’re losing sleep. It just becomes a nasty cycle. Just don’t do it. Try to find some common ground so it doesn’t turn into either one of you being angry at bedtime.
Be big enough to forgive and to say with sincerity, “I’m sorry.” After all, no one is perfect; and you are both on the same team, so be sportsmanlike enough to honestly admit a mistake when you make it. Besides, making up is a very pleasant experience, with unusual powers to draw marriage partners closer together
3. Find out each other’s love language and use it well.
This. This, I wish I had known much sooner. And I love my bestie for lending me her book on The 5 Love Languages. I’ll sum up the book for you. There are 5 love languages, Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Knowing what your spouse’s love language will help you understand how they feel loved. For example, my love language is acts of service. I feel loved or am loving when I do things for people. So if Mr. Newman does the dishes for me without me asking him it fills my lil love tank. His little love tank will be filled with I say things that boosts his ego, fills his love tank. You should probably check out that book too and read it and do the little quiz (both of you) and figure out your love languages. Plus…this kinda comes in handy if you have kids down the road. Trust me. (see next part 🙂 )
I guess for this bit of advice comes in two parts. A.) Do either one of you want kids and how many are you willing to have. This is pretty easy to understand. B.) If you do want kids, agree on a parenting style. You don’t want to come into parenting with one of you disciplining the kids one way while the other is taking another approach. This will end up making the kid confused as to what is the right way to behave. Then if you do want to have kiddies, knowing what you already know about the Love Languages, you can figure out how your child(ren) will feel loved. 🙂 Usually you won’t be able figure what their love language is until they are about 5 years old, maybe even older. I didn’t figure out String Bean’s love language until this year and he’s 9. I have an inkling of what Turbo’s is but again he’s only 5. And they do have a Love Language book for children you can check out when you get to that point.
5. Seek God.
I read somewhere that “The real secret of true happiness in the home is not diplomacy, strategy, and untiring effort to overcome problems, but rather, union with Christ. Hearts filled with Christ’s love can never be very far apart. With Christ in the home, marriage will be successful”. I’m not saying that all people who are Christians have happy and successful marriages, but you have better chances of having a happy and successful marriage if you put God first. I hear this all the time from our pastor and it makes sense. Seriously. I mean there are so many things that consume our lives, jobs, children, hobbies and so many other things that we forget about God and his word. I have trouble with this, and it’s hard to sit down and read my bible with 3 kids, being a homeschooler, wife and friend. But if you take even like 20 minutes out of your day and read and put him first your relationship with him will grow stronger and therefore your relationship with your spouse will be stronger.
6. Surround yourself with people who share the same values as you.
This kind of goes along with #5. I’m not saying get rid of all your friends who aren’t exactly like you. I just mean that if you’re seeking to be more God-like and you have people in your life who think that that’s a joke and you’re stupid for doing so, maybe not hang out with them as much.
7. Laugh often, nah, laugh a lot.
Just don’t forget to laugh. Laugh at everything. Laugh at the stupid mistakes you make. Laugh while watching a show together. If you’re not particularly happy with your spouse, start laughing, it’ll break the tension between the two of you. Together, work on building your sense of humor. Couples who can laugh at themselves or at their situation usually feel stronger when problems arise.
That’s it! I hope this sticks to some of the newly engaged/married people out there. Again, these are my thoughts on what makes a better marriage.