I wanted to share some practical advice to make a marriage last because today we were listening to the radio and a caller had called in to say “I am getting married this week and I’m worried. My family doesn’t have a good track record for marriage. What advice do you have?” The answers were great and then Becky and I started talking about them (we were in the car when we heard them.)
My advice to him would have been to always remember what brought you together. It will always be there. You have to be able to go through hard times TOGETHER. If something effects one of you, it should effect both of you. Becky’s dad said at our wedding “If it is important to you, it’s important”
Becky and I have been together since high school, so we have had plenty of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t work…
- Thank them for simple things: cooking a meal, cleaning the house or getting the kids ready. Even if she cuts the grass and it looks terrible and she doesn’t go in straight lines, but she is doing it because you just had knee surgery… thank her for it.
- You have to be able to listen. Be a shoulder to cry on. They aren’t looking for an opinion or for you to solve a problem. They just want you to listen. This one is hard for me – I am a problem solver, but sometimes Becky just wants someone to listen – she doesn’t want me to fix it.
- Tell your spouse that they look nice- and not just when they are dressed up.
- Offer to run errands for them. Becky is busy with the kids and when I was working out of the home, I would often stop and pick up groceries for her. It would save her an hour during the day (and really it’s more like two hours because taking the kids with you to the store is hard work and doubles your time.)
- Surprise them with a nice gesture – clean their car, check the fluid in the car (to keep them safe) stop and get your wife a diet coke from McDonalds on your way home from the store, just because you know that she will smile.
- Make jokes! Have fun. It is OK to be “immature” and silly sometimes (that’s me more than her, but she laughs, so it all works out).
- Surround yourself with friends that are good for both of you. This is important.
- Be with people that understand that your spouse and marriage come before a friendship. When you say no to golfing on a Saturday because you and your wife are taking the kids biking, your friends should understand.
- All in all, just remember that it is important to do things for your spouse. Becky tells me all of the time that you need to treat your spouse better than a houseguest. If she gets a drink, she offers one to me. If I get a snack, I offer to get one for her. I’ll sit and watch a Hallmark movie with her because she loves sappy movies and she’ll sit to watch an action movie with me even though she closes her eyes through half of it. It is all about thinking about the other person.What advice would you offer to this caller?