Getting the Marriage You Deserve

Get the Happy Marriage You Want

I’m a new wife, though I’m not new in my relationship. My husband and I have been together for seven years, even though we only got married six months ago; and let’s face it, no one really prepares the men and women of my generation for marriage, and everything that means. We tend to go into marriage like it’s just an extra cherry on top of the sundae of life, it’s something the check off a list as an accomplishment, and we aren’t well equipped to handle the reality of marriage. More than anything, I want a happy marriage. I want a successful marriage. One where I’m filled with confidence for my husband, myself, and my relationship.

Happy marriagePhoto courtesy of Savannah Carole Photography ©

If you’re like me, you grew up hearing about how you need to be successful in your career, your marriage, your home, and your hobbies. You were told that each of these things needs to be the most important, while you’re dealing with them. That’s a lot of pressure to put on any one. It also is a really compartmentalized way of looking at your own life. Marriage isn’t a second job that you have set hours for. You don’t clock in when you get home, and clock out when you head to the office in the morning. You don’t get sick days, bonuses, promotions, or vacation time.

We all want that life long love, the kind we can grow old with. We want that marriage that inspires other people, and sets an example for our children of what love should look like. We want a partner who will support us in our ups and downs, who’ll stand beside us no matter what, but no one tells us how much commitment and effort that actually takes. Add in people telling us that we should only put in so much effort and that we need to prioritize other things over our spouse, and we don’t understand why we slowly fall out of love, grow distant, and watch our marriages rot and crumble.

We buy into Hollywood portrayals of love and marriage where if you fight with your spouse you either weren’t meant to be, or you’ve resigned yourself to being that couple who hate each other but stay together because it’s easier than getting a divorce. I know that I’ve caught myself thinking about how “this never happens in movies.” I used to think “this is it, we’ve found that wall we can’t get pass” when things got hard. You hear the phrase “true love is easy” so many times and you start to believe it. Well I can tell you that’s not what I want for my marriage. I want to be a good wife, and have a good marriage, and if you’re reading this I’m willing to bet that you want that too.

The reality is that marriage is a lot of work, commitment, dedication, and refusing to give up on each other. John Piper wrote “It is marriage that sustains love, and not love that sustains marriage” in his book This Momentary Marriage, and it speaks volumes to how we can approach our marriages differently in order to make them flourish. Changing our attitudes and the way we approach marriage can change everything about our relationships. And the good news, is that anyone can make these changes. It’s not out of reach for each of us to have the marriage we deserve.

That’s why I’ve compiled some of the best marriage advice, tips, and guidance I’ve learned over the years, to have the very best marriage that you can. Keep reading if you’re ready to have your dream marriage!

1. Put in More Effort Than You Think You Need to

proverbs for marriage

Image generated with the YouVersion Bible App

My grandmother, God rest her soul, used to tell me that you always needed to try harder than you thought the other person was trying.

How many times, in school, work, friendships, or anything else, have you stopped trying as hard because you thought the other person was being lazy, taking advantage of your effort, or letting the whole thing rest on you? You stop trying as hard because you feel they aren’t doing enough, and maybe now they stop trying as hard too because they see you don’t care as much as you did before. Before you know it, no one is trying any more and you’re left standing there wondering what you’re doing.

We’ve all found out somewhere along the line that another person perceived we weren’t trying, didn’t care, or were putting in the wrong kind of work. Even though you may have thought you were plenty invested, or were trying your best. We tend to be critical of others, while overestimating our own efforts. When we genuinely dedicate ourselves to our marriage, regardless of how much effort we think the other is putting in, our spouse can see that and feel that, and they’ll be motivated to match your effort. Give your spouse a reason to trust that you are always putting your marriage first.

If you have the opportunity, I fully recommend check out The Power Of The Wife’s Prayer Mantle reading plan from the YouVersion bible app. It’s a four day reading plan, and day two specifically brings up the responsibility we have to give our spouse our very best. It is well worth the read, and the YouVersion app is my go to resource for bible study.

2. Recognize That Your Marriage is a 24/7 Calling

bible verses for marriage

Image generated with the YouVersion Bible App

When you put your marriage second, it shows. It gets real easy to buy into all that talk about focusing on everything except your marriage when your spouse isn’t around, but that’s not how you build a marriage that can weather any storm. When you shift your attitude and your thinking so that your marriage is considered in all of your choices and actions, you know that you’re making decisions based on what is best for your marriage instead of what’s best for your boss, your professor, your client, or anyone else.

Your marriage is like a garden, and if you neglect a garden, even for a little while, the plants can become overgrown, diseased, infected with pests, they can wilt, crowd out other plants and cause them to die from lack of nutrients, and more. You can bring a garden back from a lot of these things, but it’s hard work; and most people find it easier to pull out the affected plants and start a new garden. Except that with marriage, you can’t just plant a new crop. You have to care for the garden you have.

3. Treat Your Spouse Like They are Precious

happy marriage

Image Courtesy of Pexel Stock Photography

Too often we end up taking out stress on those we love the most. We feel like we can lash out at them without the same consequences as if we took it out on anyone else. So we unleash our anger, frustrations, and hurts on the one person we should treat with the most care and reverence. We snap at our spouses because of something Tom at the office said, or because the tire got a flat, instead of handling things properly. It’s a big change, but such a simple one to make, when we start reminding ourselves that our spouse is the very last person we should ever carelessly hurt with our emotions.

We may be resilient, and we may be able to take quite a lot, but there’s only so much a person can handle, and adding on unnecessary stress and hurt isn’t good for anyone. Remember, you wouldn’t like it if your spouse came home from work and snapped at you because of something you had nothing to do with, so treat them with the same love and care you want and expect.

4. Communicate

bible verses for love

Image generated with the YouVersion Bible App

The root of most troubles is communication. Lack thereof, or poor communication. We expect our partners to know what’s going on, when we won’t tell them anything. We hold back information because we’re worried about misunderstandings or upsetting each other, all the while growing resentful because the other person doesn’t know what we need or want from them.

The best thing you can do for any relationship is be willing and ready to politely, but firmly, communicate your needs in a timely manner. Whether you have a coworker who’s always late to meetings, a friend who keeps interrupting you, or your spouse isn’t speaking the same love language as you, the best way to avoid issues down the line is to address this quickly, firmly, and politely. Tell your spouse what you need and what you expect, and they can actually meet those expectations, or exceed them even!

What do you do when you start a new hobbie, project, or job? Something that you’re not familiar with at all, and have no training on? Well, you seek out training. Whether from books, YouTube videos, or experts, you seek out training. So seek out training from your spouse about what their needs are. Communicate with them, learn how best to support them and help them, and teach them how best to support you as well.

5. Stop Letting People Smack-Talk Your Spouse

 

bible verses for a happy marriage

Image generated with the YouVersion Bible App

We all have that friend, or family member, who doesn’t like our spouse, and has no qualms letting us know at every possible opportunity. I’m not talking constructive criticism or genuine worry either. I mean the friend who complains your husband leaves his empty water glass on his nightstand and tells you how she’d never stand for that and calls him a slob and a man-child. Stop. Letting. Them.

It can be hard to stand up to this behavior, because we worry about upsetting family or loosing friends, but your best friend is your spouse. I’m not saying you can’t be critical of your spouse’s behavior, and can’t listen if someone brings up a genuine concern. But all those people who just want to make fun of your spouse, or talk down about them when they aren’t there? Tell those people you don’t want to hear it. Tell those people that you won’t listen to them disrespecting your spouse and your marriage. If they keep doing it? Walk away, hang up the phone, close the messenger. When they try to reach back out, let them know you’re willing to forgive, but they have to respect you and your spouse. There is nothing wrong with setting these boundaries, and it will do wonders for your marriage.

When you let people talk about your spouse this way you’re absorbing all those negative things they say. Whether you mean to or not you’re internalizing those things. That negativity will create a filter through which you view your spouses actions, and will generate bitterness in your heart. Trust me, I’ve been there. I let other people talk me into being disappointed with things my husband does that don’t even bother me. When I stopped listening and stopped letting them tell me what should bother me, it lifted a weight off my shoulders.

 

We have all the tools we need in order to build a strong, healthy, happy marriage which we deserve. Don’t wait, don’t keep compromising on the relationship you want. Listen, speak, love deeply, and remember that anything worth doing is worth doing with all of your love and effort.

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