I’ve been married for 6 years and counting, and I feel like even when we’ve been married for 66 years, there will still be many things we could do better to strengthen our marriage. Marriage is such a journey, and I just try to soak up (and implement!) the wisdom of those who have been on the journey longer than us.
I was once asked what I liked the most about being married, and I answered that it was always knowing my husband would have my back and support me. And it’s 100% true. I know he will always be there for me and be ready to encourage me. But how often do we support each other in the big things and struggle with the minor disagreements and miscommunication?
I heard a counselor (Guy Gourley – guygourley.com) speak this week about a range of marriage topics, and I thought some of the big points I took away were worth sharing. Even if you’ve heard these tips many times before, we can all use reminders and refreshers. I believe these tips apply to dating relationships too, and some of the points could honestly benefit any relationship, even within families.
Spouses are the most powerful people in each other’s lives other than God. We should use that power to speak life into one another. So often, we want to point out where we were right or where our spouse was wrong. But what if we sacrificed our self-righteousness and spoke life instead, especially during a stressful moment? “You’re a good man.” “You have a good heart.” Even a short affirmation can relieve all of the stress and tension and completely change the direction of the rest of the day.
Often in marriage, when we have a fight or disagreement, our first instinct is trying to “solve” it. But jumping straight into problem solving will mean spouses are still defensive, angry, upset, etc., which isn’t conducive for really working through an issue.
Instead, we need to “attach” first through emotional connection. “I feel ____ when ___” is a prime way to do this. Being honest and open about how something is making you feel helps your spouse to empathize with you, not to mention it can bring to light feelings your spouse had no idea you were feeling.
Guy Gourley provided this “Vocabulary of Feelings,” which seems like such a great tool for this. Sometimes finding the right word is hard, but it’s so important in effectively communicating.
According to Guy, resentment is the #1 silent marriage killer. It’s all those times we’re annoyed by something our spouse did, but we don’t say anything and just stew on it instead. Admit it…we all do this! If we don’t fight these feelings of resentment, our heart will eventually become hardened. So when a resentful thought enters your mind, fight it! Push it out of your mind before it takes hold. Give your spouse grace.
This is my own personal thought, but how much tension could be alleviated by simply laughing? Especially when the argument is over something so ridiculously minor. Maybe we should all take ourselves a little less seriously sometimes!
I was looking for some inspiring marriage quotes to add to this post, and I stumbled on a couple of funny ones that made me laugh. Hope they make you laugh too!
(I’m just as guilty of this one as anyone!)
What marriage tips/advice do you live by? What’s worked well for you?