Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Unsolicited Advice

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I was listening to KLOVE, as usual. In between songs the DJ's were talking about an interview with one of the singers and his spouse. I don't actually remember who they were talking about but one of the questions asked was something about marital advice. Apparently they'd been married for some time and they wondered what they'd learned about marriage that they'd like to tell others. I didn't get to listen long enough to hear the answer but I still thought about it, wondering what my answer would be if I were asked that question.

So, I just asked myself that question. After all, I've been a part of a marriage for almost 36 years now. For the record, that is my ONLY qualification for giving advice so don't take me too seriously.  Anyway, here are some of my answers, not necessarily in order of importance...

  • Laugh! Everything doesn't have to be so serious. Play games. Watch silly movies together. Laughing is good.
  • Cry! Go to each other for comfort. There will be days without laughter, days when you receive heartbreaking news or overwhelming challenges. Be willing to share those days as well. When the world is too cruel, be "home" to one another.
  • Forget about fairness! Did that one take you by surprise? I mean it. If you are always worrying that you might be getting the short end of the stick in a relationship, you are missing the point. When something good happens to your loved one or they get something that makes them happy, that should bring you joy as well. Period.
  • Stand up for each other! Don't go speaking poorly of your spouse to others. That is just bad form. Keep in mind, you are part of a team. Team members have to protect one another, not bring each other down.
  • Always, always, always look for the good in your spouse. It is easy to get into the habit of pointing out flaws or focusing on the rough edges. Stop it!  Look again with loving eyes and you'l be able to see the goodness. Then, let them know what you appreciate about them. 
  • Have a firm foundation. Don't forget to pray for your marriage, for each other.  

I also want to say that I've observed many broken marriages. I am well aware that one person can do all of those bullet points perfectly and still end up with heartbreak. No marriage survives on the efforts of one person alone. For all of those who have endured a crumbling marriage, my heart goes out to you. I'm sorry for what you've had to endure.

Having said all that, I want to know what your advice would be. What bullet points would you add?

What advice would you give this young couple (if they really were a couple and not just two models)?

photo by stockimages
found at freedigitalimages.net


Lisa said...

Don't be entitled. "I need, I want, I deserve" is the language of divorce.

Anonymous said...

If you pray together, you will stay together: Prayer is a language God understands,

elizabeth said...

i love your advice.
a quote i love:
"a good man honors his woman's strengths and covers her weaknesses. he isn't quick to find fault in her because he is too busy bringing out the best in her." (this goes both ways, of course.)

EJN said...

Great post! I whole heartedly agree. I love your bullet points. Ditto! Maybe one more, because a professor of mine once told me that old married couples don't "really" kiss after a certain point. Ed and I had been married for under a year and I was shocked and dismayed. It was the best anti- "advice" I ever got. In marriage you choose to be another's lover for life and exclude all others. Sometimes folks focus on excluding all others - perhaps if they focused on being one person's lover for life - the exclusion would take care of its self.

Sue said...

We need to always try to keep an ongoing conversation with God, huh?

Sue said...

Oh yes! That is all part of sticking up for each other, isn't it?

Sue said...

Absolutely! I love these thoughtful comments!

Anne Marie said...

I really hate it when someone is dissing their spouse. When I was still working, I was always annoyed and sad that the majority of my female coworkers never had a nice thing to say about their husbands, and would complain about them to anyone who would listen. Chad talks about how he is bothered by the way the guys he works with talk about their wives. No wonder there is so much divorce in the world when there is no respect for each other. I've heard of couples therapists giving homework to their clients that consists of only saying nice things to each other, and nice things about their spouse to the people around them, whether they think they mean it or not. They have to do this every day. Hopefully this softens their hearts, and they begin to believe and really feel the nice things they are saying. I think that's great advice whether you're in therapy or not!

Sue said...

That is a great idea!

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