Read Part 1 of the series here.
Practical Marriage Tips
In our previous marriage article, we discussed how successful marriages in European culture have always been the fruit of two main components: the male and female becoming one in their relationship, and both the male and the female knowing and functioning in their God-ordained roles. There are numerous good and practical examples of things that can be implemented in marriage, but all must be based on these two primary principles in order to succeed in the long run.
I will spare you all most of the usual marriage advice that you’ve heard a thousand times. Instead, I intend to focus on a few things that are often overlooked or not mentioned for whatever reason. This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully will be quite helpful.
There is no Such Thing as Divorce
The first and foremost tip is to resolve within yourself, once and for all, that divorce is not even an option. To you, there should be no such thing as divorce. Just like you should not be able to fathom in your mind the possibility that “there is no God” as the fool says in his heart (Psalm 14:1). And just as you never entertain the idea of sticking your hand into a pan of boiling hot water, so should you never consider divorce. To you, a divorce is an impossibility. As impossible as jumping into the air and grabbing the moon from the sky–but even less of a possibility it should be to you. It should be as if you’ve never heard of a divorce. As if you’ve never seen one, never heard anyone talk about one. “What is a divorce?” should be your response to a person mentioning the word to you. This is how strongly you should be against divorce.
If you can achieve this goal, then you have done 95% of what is needed to make your marriage successful already. This is because if divorce is not an option, then you will do everything in your power to make the marriage work. If I knew I were to only have one automobile for the rest of my life, I would take care of that thing a whole lot better than I do now with my two vans. I’d put in the highest quality engine oil. I’d constantly be checking fluid levels and tire pressure. I’d get tune-ups, fluid changes, and check-ups at the garage. If I did not take care of this thing well, then it would not last me very long.
Make Your Marriage Fun
Holly and I have a lot of fun in our marriage. We don’t drudge through anything. We are best friends. We laugh with each other. We joke with each other. We pick on each other, make fun of each other, we take showers with each other, splashing water in each others faces. We do everything together. We are inseparable. I cringe every time I hear of men and women who have their “fun night out” with the guys or with the girls. They will have an abundance of fun with their “friends,” but then when it comes to their spouse, it is just some kind of grudging obligation. This is an utter shame and should not be so. There shouldn’t be a person in the world in whom you delight more than your spouse.
You should absolutely have lots of fun in the bedroom. Obviously, you should not stoop to the level of wicked people who delight in disgusting and unnatural practices, but this does not mean your sex life should be boring and sub-par. It ought to an exciting adventure. There are all kinds of creative things you could come up with. Having a fun time with your spouse in the bedroom (or other rooms in the house, or wherever you are) is one of the best ways to keep each other satisfied and keep you bonded with one another. The Song of Solomon, as much as the Church has spiritualized it, is a book celebrating sex. Having frequent dates with your spouse is extremely important and satisfying, particularly overnight dates. Every few months, Holly and I go to a hotel or a bed & breakfast to spend time with each other and to have some pleasure-filled fun.
Do Not Speak Negatively of Your Spouse
My wife and I do not criticize one another publicly. She is not an old hag. She is not my “old lady.” One time, a younger executive guy I work with asked me if “my old lady” made the food dish that I was eating. I responded that I don’t have an old lady. This type of disrespect for one’s spouse I do not take lightly, and neither should you. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s sinful, particularly because it is public and behind their back. Jesus taught us that whatever our mouths speak comes from an overflow of what is already in our hearts (Luke 6:45). The “old man,”“old lady,” and the ever-popular “old ball and chain” sayings are a definite sign of what people’s marriages are like and what they really think of their partner. Do not be deceived in this area. If you start referring to your spouse in such a way because the others around you do, you will also start to think of him or her in that way.
You should speak highly and praise your spouse in front of others. Likewise, you should also bless one another verbally daily. There is nothing like a spoken blessing. Although American culture downplays it, the scriptures have a lot to say about the power of spoken blessings (and cursing also). Death and life truly are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). If you see problems in your spouse (or even in other people) then perhaps you can turn things around in their life by speaking words of blessing to them and praising them for the things that they already do well. This is more important in a marriage relationship than any other relationship. Your words to and about your spouse can and will be world changing, either for life or for death, depending on which course you decide to take.
The same could be said of general criticism of your spouse to others. There is no way that you should ever complain to a co-worker or friend about the way your spouse is, or about things that he or she does. This doesn’t mean you have to lie to others and make it sound like you are perfect. But speaking about your spouse’s problems to others is a major indication that the communication barrier in your marriage has severe damage or is broken down.
Remember the first basic principle I mentioned in the previous article on marriage: you should be one person with your spouse. That means that everything you are feeling inside should be known among the two of you. There should not be secrets, for having secrets is a sign that you do not trust one another. And if you truly are one and love one another, then you will be able to show goodness and pray for one another despite your weaknesses and failures. For a man or woman to believe in the need to hide things from his or her spouse, he or she likely believes that rejection will accompany honesty toward their spouse. This ought not to be. If any of the above negative things are happening in your marriage, then consider it symptoms of a larger problem that you need to mend immediately.
These tips are really just the tip of the iceberg based on my experience. Holly and I will have been married for ten years this June. We are very excited to get to know each other better and to accomplish God’s will together. Things are getting much better, not worse. Things are not getting dull, but more exciting and more fulfilling. This is the way it should be in every marriage. Ten years from now, by God’s good grace, I will be able to say the same thing. And by following God’s blueprint in marriage, you will be able to say the same.