Thursday, February 20, 2014

10 Tips for a Successful Marriage: Are You Doing What You Can?

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This year I am celebrating huge milestones with two of my favorite couples.  One, my parents.  The other, our neighbors who have become like parents to us and grandparents to our kiddos.  Both have done something that many have dreamed of, but few will accomplish.  Both have made love "more about an act than a feeling" and this year are celebrating 40 and 50 years of marriage, respectively. 

As I think about each couple, I can't help but reflect on the valleys each couple has gone through.  Yet, with God's help, they have both defied the norm. 

So, what makes a good marriage?  How do you beat the odds?

Karen Kingsbury, in a Firstborn series book Forever, listed 10 tips for a successful marriage. These were too good not to pass a long.  I encourage you to find some uninterrupted time with your spouse to read each of these and discuss how you are doing. 

1. God has you here to serve one another.  Love acted out is serving.

2.  Women need respect and nurturing.  Love your wife so she knows you’d lay your life down for her.  Continue to date her and admire her.  Share a hobby – find something you can do to have fun together.

3.  Laugh often {Even when you are neck deep in diapers and meltdowns.}

4.  Be patient.  Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.

5.  Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.
{Hint:  How are your daily quiet times going?}

6.  Keep short accounts.  The Bible says, “Do not let the sun go down while you are angry.”  Make it a habit to forgive.

7.  Determine up front that divorce is not an option.

8.  Learn about love languages.  Not all people show love or receive it the same way.  You want a back rub and your spouse wants a clean kitchen.  The love languages are fairly simple:  acts of service, time, physical touch, gifts, and words.  {Check out the book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman.}

9.  Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.

10.  Men are born to be leaders.  He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so.  If you love your husband, build him up.  Confident men do not seek love outside the home.  {Read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge }

If you find this list to be discouraging, don't let your emotions go there.  Pick one area to focus on and begin today.  Turn your dream of a happy, successful marriage into an accomplishment! Lord willing, you will be celebrating your 40th and 50th anniversaries as well.


  1. I usually agree with everything you say, but I do believe that abuse and unrepentant, chronic unfaithfulness are grounds for divorce. I think that, in theory, making it not an option works. In practice, saying "period!" without exception can influence a woman who is suffering that it is not better to protect herself and children. You may feel that this is too rare to warrant an explicit exception. Unfortunately, this is rampant. Also unfortunate, the rates of abuse and sexual addiction can be higher within the Christian community than without.

    1. April, I think you bring up a good point. I appreciate you sharing this. Physical abuse is wrong and I would never want any woman to stay in a situation that was harming to her or her children. I would encourage all to seek safety and wise, Biblical counsel.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It's great to know what your spouse's love language is as he/she often shows love the same way he/she wants to receive it.

    My husband is a big Words guy, but it was something I didn't have. You did what was expected without praise for it. I always feel patronizing when I tell him that he did a great job cleaning up the kitchen after a meal, but he needs to hear that. He's also learned that while I won't turn down a "job well done" speech, I would much prefer that he show me he appreciates it by going out of his way to keep something looking nice (not easy with 4 boys and 2 dogs!).

    Marriage is such a learning curve and if you can learn how to communicate early on, then solving the problems that will arise will become much easier.

    1. The learning curve is steep but it gets so much sweeter with time. :)


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