Tuesday, October 5, 2010

~Tuesday Tips~

My husband and I celebrated 12 years of marriage on Sunday. Those who've been married a short time are in awe when the number 12 is mentioned. Those who've been married a long time smile and nod their heads. If only I could hear their thoughts...what would they sound like? "Twelve is such a small number." "You've got a long way to go." "Just wait until you see what's around the corner. " "Wow. That's nice."

Vic and I have been blessed with the opportunity to pour into a few married couples within the past year. It's not something that we take lightly, marriage. In fact, it's something that we honor as a God-ordained covenant between a man and a woman. Marriage was God's idea, not man's and it traces all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

Some of the marital advice or "tips" I've found us sharing repeatedly (seems every couple can benefit from these) are (in no particular order):

Never go to bed angry. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, "Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." Any time that we go to sleep without resolving a disagreement with our spouse, we give place to the devil. Seeds of bitterness, doubt, malice, contempt and others have the opportunity to grow overnight. In the morning, we are faced with a tree of discontent where there was only a tiny sprout the night before. Always resolve disagreements before you close your eyes, even if you can only agree to disagree. Kiss each other and fall asleep knowing there won't be a tree needing to be pulled out by its roots when the sun rises.

Proper order in the home is important. Biblical structure for relational priorities is this: First, your relationship with God. Next, your relationship with your spouse. Third, you and your spouse's relationship with your children. Fourth, serving the church. Fifth, your responsibilities such as your career. If any of these ever gets out of order, your relationships will suffer. Putting your job as a priority over spending time with your children simply because you need to feed them is not God's idea. He is the provider of all things before you are. Putting ministry needs or classes at church above your family's needs is not acceptable. Your ministry starts in your home (See 1 Timothy 3).

Don't keep secrets. I'm not talking about dumping out your filthy past on your spouse. There's no need to burden him or her with your sin record. I'm talking about current issues. I'm talking about the times that you overdraw the checking account. I'm talking about forgetting to tell them about your plans for next weekend because you don't want them to find out you didn't include them. I'm talking about hiding things from them because you don't feel like involving them or hearing their input concerning a situation. Keeping secrets will erode trust faster than paint stripper removes paint. Another form of keeping secrets? Talking about your spouse behind their back. If you know they would feel violated by you speaking with your best friend about their faults or your recent argument, don't do it. 

Only God can change your spouse. We all come with strengths and weaknesses. There is going to be something in everyone we love that we can't stand. What we were willing to overlook during courtship should still be overlooked in marriage, unless it's a threat to you or your spouse's life. If you didn't like the way he smelled his socks every time he took them off while you were dating, you still won't like it when you're married. But it's nothing to hold against him. If you don't like the way he treats his mother before you marry him, don't marry him. It's likely that character flaw won't change and he'll be treating you that way once his ring is on your finger and you've said, "I do." If you've recently discovered that he has anger issues and they've only surfaced now that you two are wed, pray. If he isn't abusing you in his fit of anger, suggest he get counsel and pray for God to remove that angry spirit from him. You can't love him enough to heal him. Only God can make that change. (And if he is abusing you, verbally or physically, seek godly counsel and refuge. It'll only get worse until he admits he's got a problem and desires to get help to change.)

Step-families are a whole other ball game, but priorities in the home should stay the same. Step-families are all different. Relational dynamics are different. Some spouses still get along with their ex. Some tolerate their ex for the childrens' sake. Others can't stand their ex and everyone around them knows it. In our situation, my husband has a son from a previous marriage. I had no children and had never been married before. The key to keeping a second (or third, fourth, or fifth) marriage intact? PUT YOUR NEW SPOUSE FIRST. I can't say that loud enough. Remember the order in the home previously mentioned? Seek God first. Then comes your wife (marriage). Then comes child 1, 2, 3 in the baby carriage. It doesn't matter if your son or daughter or clan is your child from a previous marriage/relationship. Your wife or husband is your priority. Your children will grow up and leave home one day. You'll either stand with your wife and wave goodbye as they leave your home or you'll stand alone as they move on to their adult lives. If you and your spouse are on the same page with each other concerning parenting tactics (which should be discussed prior to saying "I do"), you'll have nothing to worry about. 

These are just a few pieces of advice and wisdom we've been sharing with others as we've begun to minister to married couples. There's plenty more that we've learned, figured out, been taught or received counsel on in our twelve years together. The one thing we always remember before anything else is this: marriage requires hard work in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Without effort from both of us, we wouldn't be where we are today. Happy. Excited. Content. More in love with each other today than on our wedding day.


  1. I appreciated the thought about proper order. I think that many Christian's lose sight of that.

  2. An important ministry--especially for the blended family.


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