In honor of our 18th anniverary, I am reposting this…
A lot of people have asked how My Boyfriend and I have been so happy and have such a good marriage. This Chick thought I would try to simplify my answer with a few “tips”. Not that this is ALL, or that it is fool-proof (it takes two to tango), but if you both work toward these you can always consider your spouse your “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”.
Here they are (and not in any particular order of importance):
[UPDATED! I started with 10 tips, then it slowly worked up to 25…uh, I mean 26….]
1. Realize that your spouse has had a “life” before you came along. Don’t try to force them into your mold.
2. Talk. And talk some more. And talk again some more. Don’t stop talking to each other. Turn off the dang TV or computer and TALK.
3. Laugh. Try to find things to laugh about. Have a sense of humor about your relationship. You are both fallible people (although one of you might think you are perfect and the other should be, too), but even laugh at that. Don’t take things too seriously.
4. Talk about what attracted you both to each other in the first place. Smile about that. Realize your spouse hasn’t changed — you probably have.
5. If you have a problem with one of your spouse’s attitudes, don’t nag the dude (chick). Instead, pray about it. God can talk to your spouse better than you can. And, He can do a better job at changing them. Or, maybe He’ll change you, too.
6. Don’t embarrass your spouse in front of someone — anyone. Don’t correct them in public, don’t make them feel small in public, be gracious with them. When you get home then you can tell your dude (chick) what you really feel.
7. Fight fairly. It’s okay to fight. But DON’T call each other names. Do not make the person feel small. Think of ways to say something that they could relate to. Don’t “block them out”, but listen to what they have to say even if you are steaming mad. If you are a chick trying to relate to your dude, think of a way to relate it with a sports analogy. And, dudes, don’t talk to her like she’s one of your “buddies.”
8. If you are a chick, compliment your dude about the way they mow the lawn. They dig that. You will see his self-esteem go through the roof.
9. If you are a dude, compliment your chick for taking such good care of the kids, or running errands, or from keeping the house from being overrun with rats (even if it may not be as clean as you’d like). Sometimes us chicks feel that that gets overlooked. Also, don’t say “What did YOU do all day?”
10. Have lots of money. Just kidding. But, find a way to not stress about the money. If one person is better at handling the money, agree to let that person handle it. If you have to have separate checking accounts, so be it. Figure it out. It’s not worth affecting your marriage.
11. Dudes — come home from stinking work! You are NOT married to your job, you are married to your WIFE. Period. You really are not as important as you think you are at your job, and when you leave they will only remember you for a short while. Don’t think so highly of yourselves.
12. Go on dates. Lots of dates. They don’t have to be expensive, or cost anything at all. Walk together, hold hands, even when you may not feel like it. Do some of the things you used to do when you were dating.
13. Buy your chick flowers, dudes. They may say that they really don’t want flowers, but they really do. All chicks dig flowers. Plus, they are less fattening than candy.
14. Find out your “love language” and talk about it. Try to appeal to your dude (chick) according to their love language. Click HERE to take a quiz to find out yours. Then, read this book: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
15. Chicks, find SOMETHING to respect your husband about and tell him, even if you don’t feel like it or don’t think there is anything to respect him for. Find SOMETHING.
16. Dudes, show your wife you love her— even if you don’t feel like it.
17. Cherish and respect the privacy of your relationship.
18. Talk about your dude or chick as if they are the greatest thing on the face of the earth. Because they are. Even if you don’t think they are. I think MINE is.
19. Get OFF the video games/computer! Your spouse doesn’t want to have to get on both you and the kids about this.
20 Do not ride in the car alone with another person of the opposite sex who is not your dude or chick. Avoid ALL appearances of temptation or any opportunity of temptation, no matter how insignificant it might seem. This would also apply being alone in the same room for any length of time.
21. Put your spouse’s feelings ahead of you. This is hard to do, but if you both do that, it will work out good. Don’t be selfish.
22. If you have to go to counseling, GO TO COUNSELING. There is such a stigma about that — especially with dudes. It’s NOT a big sweat-io. Think of it as LEARNING how to communicate. Done.
23. Welcome and embrace the changes in your dude or chick’s bod as they grow older. They aren’t going to look the way they did at 25. Stay in shape, as much as possible, and it’s most fun to go on walks or to the gym together.
24. Be each other’s best friend.
25. Take a shower every day. Chicks, do your hair. Dudes, put deodorant on. You’ll all look better and smell better.
26. And, last, but not least — the biggy — FORGIVE! You ain’t perfect either.