13 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage

October 14, 2012

Recently I took part in a CMBA half marathon (blogging daily from Oct 1st to 13th) by writing “13 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage.” I’ve put all the posts together here on this page.


#1 – It’s important to celebrate with your spouse.

You create shared fun and you create couple memories. Celebrations would include the usual stuff like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, but you can also celebrate a new job or the first tomato out of your garden. You make your sweetie feel special when you celebrate with him and you keep things fresh and fun. All good stuff when you want to continue to grow your marriage.


#2 – It’s far kinder and more effective to speak directly and clearly to your spouse.

Hints don’t work. Talking about a subject but not being specific about what you want doesn’t work. Hoping your spouse has taken up mind reading does not work.

You need to be clear. Try “hon, do you have time to mow the yard this week?” rather than, “boy, the grass really is getting long.” Even if you don’t get the answer that you hoped for, you have been clear and everyone knows what the discussion is about. Sure beats misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.  William Penn


#3 – In every marriage there are two imperfect people. Live and give grace.

Your husband will fail you and you will fail him. There will be moments of thoughtlessness and selfishness, but you can’t let that distract you from building your marriage. (I’m not saying don’t deal with problems, I’m trying to put those moments of humanity in perspective.)

It really is a bit like tending a garden. There are going to weeds and bugs and such. Deal with them with as much grace as you can manage and continue to plant, water and harvest.

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live.  Jackie Windspear


#4 – It pays to become a student of your spouse.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. The better you know them, the easier it will be to get along with them and the easier it will be to bless them.

Marriage is a life long journey together. Get to know your spouse well and continue to learn through all the seasons of your marriage.

You learn something every day if you pay attention.  Ray LeBlonde


#5 – You and your husband are different.

I am a master at stating the obvious here, but if you can get that into your head and be willing to appreciate and allow for differences, life will be easier and often great fun!

It’s really miserable trying to make your spouse think like you think, do like you do, etc. Just be yourself and make room for the lovely individual that spouse is (and that you fell in love with).

Don’t feel like you have to apologize to each other for being different. You are different genders and personality types. You have different life experience and abilities. Love the differences.

Don’t dare to be different, dare to be yourself – if that doesn’t make you different then something is wrong.  Laura Baker


#6 – Being team players will solve a lot of problems.

When you work on problems together, you have the combined strength of your abilities. Between the two of you there are more skills available and you’re likely to get more done and done faster.

You are also more likely to have fewer fights “discussions” if you are teammates taking on a problem together, instead of individuals labeling each other as the problem and finding fault with each other.

Regardless of what the problem is or who it starts with, consider it a team problem and  work together for a solution.

Don’t find fault, find a remedy.  Henry Ford


#7 – Honesty is the best policy.

Your husband is your life long partner. Lies have no place in this relationship. Yes, I know, it’s hard to own up sometimes, but, honestly, what will you do when your husband finds out that you lied or kept something from him?

Fess up and build a relationship on truth and honesty.

We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.  Tad Williams


#8 – Small stuff adds up, so everyday attitudes and actions really count.

It’s nice to give your spouse a big gift or to take them away on a grand vacation, but these are not the kind of things that will make or break a marriage.

It’s far more important to keep watch on your everyday attitudes and create daily habits that will bless your spouse. 

Daily give your sweetie a hug and a kind word. Show him courtesies and treat him with respect. When you act badly (let’s just be honest about it), be quick to apologize. You are building your marriage one day at a time. Build it with little gestures of love, kindness, and generosity.

If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.  Bill Meyer


#9 – Continuing education is a must.

Susan of The Confident Mom (see link below) mentions the insanity definition of “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” If you want your marriage to grow and change, you need to learn about and try new things. You can’t keep doing the same old thing and expect changes.

Books, conferences, blogs and any other educational tool are great. They are your source for ideas and encouragement. Surround yourself with the best.

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.  Chinese proverb


#10 – Respect really is a big deal.

A man’s heart yearns for respect. You can tear him to bits one piece at a time with disrespect.

If you love your man, show high regard for him. Give him the best, share the good news with him first, care about his needs and wants, etc. He’s of great value. Let him know that frequently.

Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect.  Amy Grant


#11 – Focus on your stuff. 

It’s easy to see where your husband needs to grow a bit or where he is messing up, but, honestly, is there anything that you can do about it? You can be a mirror (please be a kind one), but you cannot effect any kind of change in him. It’s his choice.

By the same token, you are the only one who can change you. Put your energy there. We all need to grow and learn to do life better. We play a part in our marriage relationship and any problems there. We can also be a part of the solution. We can model change, humility, healthy boundaries and so much more. 

Don’t spend oodles of time trying to change your husband. Focus on your own stuff.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world your marriage.  Mahatma Gandhi (correction mine)


#12 – Choose to be happy.

I have often wondered how my husband survived the first decade (or two?) of our marriage. I was such a glum bunny. I was no fun at all to live with, I’m sure.

I have learned that, for the most part, happiness (or lack there of) is a choice. I know it would be really nice if happiness was about how others treat us or about getting that new [whatever] we want. Sorry. (Well, actually not sorry. If our happiness rested on circumstance or what others do (or don’t do), happiness would be out of our reach much of the time.)

I’m not saying don’t address problems. I’m saying that in any given situation there is much to be happy about, be grateful for and generally celebrate. Choose to be happy and don’t be a glum bunny. Your husband will thank you for it.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  Abraham Lincoln


#13 – Pray daily for your marriage.

Today is the last day of the blogging half marathon. Actually there is so much more to learn than 13 points. You and your husband are unique people and you will go though many seasons during your marriage. Learning to live with your sweetie is something of a moving target as you navigate together through life.

But, not to worry. You have a God who wants to see your marriage become absolutely amazing. Talk to Him. Ask for His help. Ask for wisdom. Stick close to Him and let Him teach you about marriage. Ask Him to change your heart and grow your love for your husband.

I used to feel like I was bugging God when I asked for things. He finally got through to me that He wants to hear about my fears and hopes and needs. I’m certain He would love to hear from y’all as well.

… ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.  John 16:24b  NAS

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim October 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

You were a glum bunny? I just can’t imagine that, Lori.

What a fabulous and rock solid list of tips for a strong and satisfying marriage. I think my favorite is respect because it means so much to our hubbies.
Kim recently posted…Mom & Dad-I want to be a Navy SEAL, Part 2My Profile


The Generous Wife October 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm

@Kim Yup, it’s true. I’m a melancholy half-empty glass gal, but God and my husband are working on me. I really don’t have a chance at staying that way and, honestly, I am grateful.


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