So ya wanna have a good marriage?

Let me start off by making one thing clear: I am not saying that I am an expert at marriage.  That would be laughable at best, insulting at worst.  I’ve been married for less than 9 months, people.  I’m no fool … I know I’m wet behind the ears. Winking smile

However, I am proud to say that Brandon and I took our engagement very seriously.  We knew that marriage was a huge commitment, and we wanted to go into marriage with both eyes wide open (or as open as possible … let’s be honest, you can never be completely prepared!).

So we talked.  We prayed.  And we read …

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… a lot!

Some of these books were given to us during premarital counseling, while other books we bought ourselves.  We read some of them separately and some of them together.  But they were all great because they helped to open the lines of communication and discuss issues that we may not have discussed otherwise.

And I’m continuing to read.  As part of Bible study I’m currently in with another married woman, we are reading this book:

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I’ve only read one chapter so far, but I can tell that I’m really going to like it.  She’s open, honest, and funny with her writing and her teaching.

So today I just wanted to share a few words of wisdom that I have found within some of these books.  Honestly,  Brandon and I haven’t even had to deal with many of these issues yet (again, we’re only 9 months in!), but I know that at some point in our marriage, we will probably deal with all of these things.

My hope is that everyone that is reading this post can relate in one way or another to the advice that I’m about to pass on (from the oh-so wise authors, NOT MYSELF! Smile).  Whether it be a marital relationship, dating relationship, friendship, parent-child relationship, or working relationship … we are relational beings and I think we all want to improve the relationships we have with others!

Tip #1

We all have a different love languages.

Gary Chapman is the author of the New York Times Bestseller  “The 5 Love Languages.”  In his book, he shares his belief that there are 5 love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  

We tend to show love to others based on our primary love language.  But if your spouse has a different love language than you, he or she may not recognize when you are trying to express your love.

So the key? 

Discover what your spouse’s love language is, and then show he/she love in that particular way.

For example, my primary love language is physical touch.  Even when I talk to friends, you’ll notice that I often put a hand on their arm while I’m speaking, or hit them as I laugh (oops!).

Because Brandon knows that this is my primary love language, he goes out of his way to hold my hand, hug me, or even just put a hand on my back as we’re walking.  These are all ways that I can feel his love for me.

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In the back of Gary Chapman’s book, he has a quiz to complete to find out what your love language is.  There are also quizzes online that can do the same thing.  Try them out!  Smile

Tip #2

Develop the “Habit of Happiness.”

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott (I love that a married couple have the same name … hilarious) wrote the book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.”

One of my favorite tips in their book talks about developing a habit of happiness.  “Happiness in marriage has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with will,” (pg. 61).

The authors quoted a research study that found that the level of a couple’s joy was based on each person’s ability to “adjust to things beyond his or her control,” (pg. 66).

We can’t always control our circumstances.  We most definitely cannot control another person’s behavior or attitude.  But we can control our own attitude.

Tip #3

Cut the Apron Strings.

“The 10 Commandments of Marriage” by Ed Young includes a great chapter about cutting the apron strings.

apronstrings  (Source)

Genesis 2:24 reads “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Our families are very important to all of us.  And our parents should continue to be a big part of our lives, even after marriage.  But after marriage, our parents should not be the preeminent figures in our lives!

For me, this means going to Brandon with a problem or struggle before going to my mom.  I can still share my life with my mom, but Brandon should be the primary person I run to.

It also means keeping marital problems between a husband and a wife.  “… when conflicts or issues arise between married couples, they should never first call mom and dad for advice.  Rather, they should go to one another and, using the principles laid out in God’s Word, prayerfully try to work out their own problems, seeking outside counsel only if necessary,” (pg. 50).

Tip #4

Forgive, forgive … and then forgive some more.

Matthew 18: 21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

In Gary Thomas’ book, “Sacred Marriage,” he says, “I believe one of marriage’s primary purposes is to teach us how to forgive,” (pg. 166).

We are all sinful human beings that make mistake, after mistake, after mistake.  Yet God chose to show us grace (through his Son) and forgive us of our sins.

Whoa.  If He can do that, why can’t I forgive Brandon for forgetting to unplug the iron??

OK, so I’m kidding about that last part.  But in all seriousness, I think forgiveness is difficult for many of us.  And even if we say we’ve forgiven an act, we may still harbor resentment in the back of our minds or hearts.  But we’ve been called to forgive others.  So let’s use our marriages as a means of practicing forgiveness over, and over … and over again.

Tip #5

Celebrate your differences … and discuss your roles.

Recently I was in a discussion with a few married women, and I mentioned the recipes that I post on my blog.  The discussion quickly turned, as they started telling me that I needed to “train my husband now.”  Their general point was that I shouldn’t be doing all of the cooking and cleaning now, because my husband will expect the same thing for the rest of our lives.  Instead, I should start having him cook a few times a week, help with dishes, etc.

This was the first thing that came to my mind:

man-on-a-leash-5

(Source)

While I appreciated their advice because I believe it came from a good place, I don’t necessarily agree with the sentiment.

I believe that God gave different talents and interests to Brandon and me.  And I am very thankful for those differences!

In “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts,” the authors suggest talking about the different roles you each want to take in your marriage.  They don’t always have to fit the “typical” mold, but they should fit whatever works best for you and your marriage.

For example, I like cooking and I know I’m better at it than Brandon is (he’d agree with this statement).  So why torture both of us by making him cook?  He wouldn’t enjoy it, and I wouldn’t enjoy eating Kraft Mac and Cheese every week. Annoyed

On the flip side, Brandon enjoys mowing the lawn and fixing things around the house … THANK GOODNESS.  I would hate doing those things, so I’m so thankful for his willingness to tackle those chores with gusto!

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(Doing manly-work. Winking smile)

I know when we have children some of our “roles” may need to shift, but I have married a man who I know will be willing to shift roles, if need be.  So I’m not going to worry about it right now … I’m just going to embrace our differences and keep on cookin’!

I think that’s enough “wisdom” for one day.  I hope that you’ve read something that relates to your life.  And I also hope that if any of you have marriage advice, that you’ll share the wealth and pass it on!! Smile

Question for ya …

What’s your marriage advice?

What do you think your love language is?



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Posted on by notsodomesticated Posted in Married Life

31 Responses to So ya wanna have a good marriage?

  1. jennifer

    I really like the ‘habit of happiness’ idea. So true no matter part of life you are talking about!! Your spouse can’t make you happy…that’s something you control.

    • notsodomesticated

      Amen, Jennifer!!

  2. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    What a great post, Kristen. Although Will & I aren’t married or anything, I can definitely take a lot of this advice and apply it to our relationship as a couple.

    I’ve had girls my own age tell me the same thing about “making my man cook for me” so that I can retain a “hold” on him. I agree with you 100%! Although I don’t doubt for one second that if I asked Will to cook for me he would, but why should I!? I love him and I love to cook, and even though I only cook for him sometimes– it’s nice to treat my man to a great meal.

    Another thing about the love languages– I took the test online once but didnt really realize what I was doing haha. Would you recommend reading the book?
    Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance recently posted..Will vs. PopcornMy Profile

    • notsodomesticated

      I would definitely recommend reading the book … even if you aren’t looking to get married yet. Don’t be scared by the back cover … it talks about marriage and what not. But this book can be applied to virtually any relationship in your life … not just romantic relationships!

  3. amy

    I enjoyed your msg today…. you stated that youve been married for 9 months….. Gary and I have been married for 9 years ( you know our dating history) ….and it still feels like 9 months!! I agree with you totally about the cooking part. I’m the cook but sometimes Gary will cook and it surprises me I guess it makes it extra special. I wish you guys a lifetime of love blessings and smiles :)

    • notsodomesticated

      Aww thank you, Amy! I wish you and Gary all the best, as well!!

  4. Linda Kiser

    I have been married for 26 years. I have to say as a newlywed, you are doing great. My favorite book is The Five Love Languages. I agree of the importance to know your own love language and that of your spouses. I believe I am going to pick up a few of those books. The Bible study sounds awesome!

    • notsodomesticated

      Thank you, Linda! :)

  5. Tabaitha

    Great tips. I’ve read most of those books as well. I’m currently reading “What it’s like to be Married to Me?” by Linda Dillow. It’s great and I highly recommend it to anyone.
    My primary love language is time. I love it when my husband spends time with me. My advice is to pray together!
    Tabaitha recently posted..Ten on TuesdayMy Profile

    • notsodomesticated

      GREAT advice, Tabaitha!! I completely agree.

  6. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    great post! those are some great tips!!
    Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean recently posted..Tofu & Lentil Stuffed ShellsMy Profile

  7. Lyndsie @ highcottonlivin

    My husband and I also read His Needs, Her Needs and it was pretty eyeopening. We try daily to avoid “the crazy cycle”

    I totally agree with the Habit of Happiness tip. So true!!

    I think my love language is words of affirmation. I love gift giving too ;)
    Lyndsie @ highcottonlivin recently posted..FreezingMy Profile

    • notsodomesticated

      I love His Needs, Her Needs. Definitely one of my favorites!

  8. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me

    Good post. I enjoyed it. I get the entire “train him now” mentality because men seem to become very dependent. I’m the type who turns to stewing angrily in silence for months before saying anything. But once I told my fiance how I was feeling he definitely made some changes and contributes a lot more now. Communication is SO important. I’m trying to be much better about it!
    Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me recently posted..The Bootylicious AwardMy Profile

    • notsodomesticated

      Communication is definitely key. It’s a cliche for a reason! ;)

  9. Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health

    Great post! I love this :) . I hope to be married here in the next couple of years and these tips are fabulous.
    Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Describing MyselfMy Profile

    • notsodomesticated

      Awww tell Chris to hurry up … I want to hear a proposal story!!! ;)

      • Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health

        Haha I have told him…but I guess I’ll have to wait. I want it to be a surprise though too!! :)
        Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Describing MyselfMy Profile

        • notsodomesticated

          I’m sure you have! ;) I was impatient, but I also wanted it to be a surprise. When it does happen, you’ll be so happy that he kept it a surprise! Even if it was torture in the meantime haha!

  10. Shelley

    My roommate read His Needs, her Needs when she was engaged. The funniest advice was to practice good hygiene and to brush your teeth everyday. It was funny, but I guess some people don’t practice good hygiene!

    • notsodomesticated

      Haha it’s so true Shelley! It sounds silly, but good breath does wonders!! ;)

  11. natalie @ southern fit foodie

    GREAT post! Daniel and I also read a LOT of books during our engagement. Communication is so important, and a tremendous amount of marital arguments have probably arisen for all of us simply due to lack of communication. I also agree with the “cutting the apron strings” point. Thankfully, we are both very independent people (and always have been), so this one really isn’t an issue for us. However, we have seen friends who call their parents and then they all team up against the spouse.

    Daniel and I actually have the same love languages (which is apparently uncommon) – quality time and words of affirmation.

    Our 4 year wedding anniversary is coming up next month, and I continue to feel more blessed each and every day!

  12. e@thisnotedlife

    this was a great post – thank you for sharing! I don’t know if you have ever thought of a degree in communication but i think you would LOVE it :)

    • notsodomesticated

      Thank you so much!! :)

  13. Pamela

    great post! so glad you can do little book reviews, especially for us “not-so-great-readers” lol.. helps to see which book I can invest the next 6 months into (cuz that’s how long it takes..haha). Love the post! I used to feel like I was quality time, but I feel like now that I have Lucas, Acts of Service is really important to me.

    • notsodomesticated

      It’s funny you say that, because the author says that your love language can change throughout your seasons of life! :)

  14. Katie @ Faith & Funfetti

    Josh and I are in a Newlywed/Engaged Sunday School class at church and we are currently reading Love Languages. I absolutely LOVE it. Not only do I love learning more about Josh’s love language, but I also love the style that the book is written in.
    In my Women’s bible study on Wednesday night’s we’re reading “Every Woman’s Marriage”. It was written for couples that have been married for several years and feel that something is missing. It’s been eye opening. So often I find myself going, “That will never happen to us though..Why am I reading this?” However, the leader of our study wanted us to read it proactively to see what CAN happen if you let your marriage become a second priority.
    One of the coolest quotes I read in the book this week went something like… “Marriage is our greatest ministry to others. It is the longest lasting ministry we are involved in, and it should be our greatest legacy.” So cool!
    Katie @ Faith & Funfetti recently posted..8 mile SaturdayMy Profile

    • notsodomesticated

      I love this! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an amazing comment, Katie. And it’s so true … our marriage is our greatest ministry, which is also why Satan always seeks to attack it! We need to stay strong in the Word and protect our marriages, which you and your husband are obviously working to do!!

      Can’t wait to check out your blog! :)

  15. Christi McGuire

    I just realized that I know the author of the book you are reading, “From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife”!! Her MIL is the one I met with this summer in Lima. Such a small world!

    • notsodomesticated

      How funny! Yes, the girl I do the study with goes to your old church, and she met the author there. It’s a really good book, too! I love her writing style! :)

  16. AineMistig

    My husband is not going to thank you for finding more relationship books for me to read…. ;)

    We did something similar, reading books. Or, well, I found the books and sent us each copies to read!

    I haven’t read the 5 love languages, it’s on my list. I’m familiar with it, however, since other books reference it that I’ve read.

    You might also like “For Women Only” and “For Men Only” for Shaunti Feldhahn, and her husband Jeff.

    The best book I’ve read for women, however, as I’ve said before and will say again is “Have a New Husband by Friday” by Dr. Kevin Leman. The title is a little misleading, as it is really about all the things YOU can do different! But it’s a fun read, and it really helps you understand the way a guy thinks (without pitying the men or making excuses at the same time, like some books do).

    Relationships and gender issues is a a favorite topic of mine! I love this stuff!

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