Everyone knows the advice “Never go to bed angry” or “happy wife happy life”, but here are some tips that we have learned/been given that really made a difference in our marriage. We may have only been married for four years now, but we have been through more than what many couples go through in a lifetime together!
Not to mention, I also work with couples in therapy and some of these are major suggestions we give to help them better their relationship.
As for advice to help your marriage grow and thrive, take a look at these 30 suggestions below!
Communication and honesty
No one knows your relationship better than you and your partner. Honesty and open communication are key!! I don’t think Trent and I have ever not gotten something progressive out of our talks.
You will always need God in your marriage
We make it a priority to pray out loud together for each other and for our marriage every single day. I believe that it’s hard to have such a close relationship without having God in your marriage. I don’t know how to explain this one, but it just feels like a deeper connection, I guess?
Put the phones away!!!!
Oh my goodness, people! Technology is the worst thing that can happen to a relationship! When we go out to dinner, it never fails that we see one or both people on a date on their phone.
Trent and I make sure that whenever we spend time together, phones are not touched. Don’t get me wrong, we have nights where he plays video games and I am on my laptop or phone on the couch. That’s normal, that’s us winding down from our days having a little bit of “me time” to just mindlessly veg out.
We make it a priority every single day though to spend at least 30 minutes together technology free.
To me, Trent is my best friend in the whole wide world and I am for him. There is nothing more interesting on social media that would make either of us want to sacrifice time with the other for that.
Keep your relationship off social media
It’s true that the ones who keep their life the most private are usually the happiest. It means that the couple feels that they have nothing to prove to anyone else. I’m not saying don’t post about your life, people want to see what you’re up to! Just nothing over the top.
Also, keep your issues between you and your partner. 1) How would it make you feel if you saw them saying mean things about you? 2) Don’t share your issues with everyone you know. My dad always said, “If he calls you a bitch, you’re going to forgive him a whole heck of a lot sooner than I will”. The fewer people that know about your issues, the easier it is to resolve them. (Trent would never call me that, by the way).
Make sure to have at least one date night a week
This is my parent’s number one rule of marriage! They say that it saved their relationship. My dad was a professional bowler and was on tour all the time while I was a kid. If they didn’t make it a point to have that date night at least once a week, they’d be a lot unhappier with each other.
The one who ‘wins’ the fight is the one that says “I’m sorry” first
The guy who sold us Trent’s most recent car told us this one. It definitely stuck with me. While I always think there is a winner/loser to each fight, the one who really wins is the one who has let it go first.
Don’t forget to make a life for yourself
This has made such a difference in our marriage. When we moved to Georgia, I had nothing for me down here. No friends, no life, no job, nothing. This caused a lot of stress on our marriage because I depended on him to fill every void missing in my life. Once I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life, got a job, and got back in school, the stress of that started disappearing.
I learned that your spouse is not made to fill your voids, he is made to complement your desires.
Pick your battles and be honest with yourself
My biggest pet peeve is dirty dishes being left in the sink. It isn’t fair for me to pick a fight over the dishes though because I’ll leave laundry sitting in the washer for days at a time (one of his biggest pet peeves). I’m not perfect and neither is he. If he isn’t going to chew me out for leaving the laundry there all week, why should I get to chew him out for leaving a dirty dish in the sink?
Put yourself in their shoes
Whenever I go to do/say something, I ask myself “If Trent were to do/say that to me, how would it make me feel?”
Always make sure that you have their best interest at heart. It’s your job to protect it.
Don’t be a martyr
I have definitely been guilty of this one. I have a hard time admitting when I am wrong and will definitely try to place blame elsewhere. Lately, I’ve learned how important it is to just admit when you were wrong and leave it at that.
Compromise is the name of the game
Marriage isn’t about getting everything you want, it’s putting the other person’s needs first. Very rarely is a marriage going to be 50/50. You’re going to give more than your partner at times and then you’re going to take more than your partner at times. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s life. Sometimes one person is at a point in their life where they can’t give as much as their partner can. Just remember that you can’t have your way all of the time or you’ll both be unhappy in life.
Learn each other’s love languages
There is a quick little quiz you can take to figure out your love languages and a book you can read on it. Trent and I took this quiz and if you make an effort to stick to it, it changes the way your marriage works. There are five love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
For Trent, what’s most important to him was a three-way tie: physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. For me, my most important was quality time followed by words of affirmation and physical touch.
Pray for acceptance, not for them to change
I read once somewhere that if you keep praying for your spouse to change their ways, you’ll never be happy. Instead, pray that you can change your way of thinking instead.
By focusing on what you want them to change about themselves, you start to become resentful when it doesn’t happen.
Avoid using “you” or “never/always” statements
Placing blame or using exaggeration words (never, always, ever) are the quickest way to start a fight. It gets you nowhere. Instead, use “I feel” statements. ” It makes me feel ________ when you do _______.” It takes the pressure and blame off them and now you’re just telling them how you feel.
Don’t forget their biological needs
Women – biologically, guys need to have sex. You need to make sure that you satisfy his needs because he took a vow to let you be the only person to satisfy those needs until he dies. For guys, sex is one of the most important ways of intimately connecting and strengthening your relationship. I’m not meaning this in a chauvinistic way. I’m saying this because this is one of the most important ways that men receive love.
Men – do not forget to show your woman love and respect. Take extra time out of your day to make sure that she feels special and beautiful. Give her at least 30 minutes of your undivided attention every day. Women also need to be sexually satisfied, but biologically most women need to feel protected and taken care of as well.
You can’t expect your partner to fill your own personal voids
I struggled with this one for a long time and still do, quite frankly. I have gotten mad and accused Trent of not loving me or caring as much as I do more times than I’d like to admit. The truth of the matter is that I have unmet needs that can only be satisfied by myself and God. It’s easier said than done, but you need to realize what it is you need to fill the void in your life because they weren’t made to do that, they can’t do that. If not, resentment is going to build between both parties.
Before accusing, ask yourself “is this something really something that they can fix or am I dealing with insecurities?”
Sometimes it really is better to go to bed angry
This is where my anxiety kicks in and says “well what if he dies in his sleep? I’ll never forgive myself that we didn’t make up!” Chances are, he is going to wake up the next morning and going to bed angry is probably for the best. The more you fight, the later it gets, and the more emotional you get – making you say things you never would have said.
Cool down time is best to figure out issues in a rational mindset. We have a rule that if a fight starts, it can only go on for 30 minutes. If it hasn’t been resolved in 30 minutes, we drop it and allow ourselves to cool off. GAME CHANGER! Everything gets solved so much quicker this way!
Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most
This is probably my favorite one. I always get insecure thinking that, but honestly, there is no reason to! I know how much my husband loves me. Honestly, he probably loves me more than I can comprehend. If you are loving the most, then you are going to be genuinely happy. People don’t “love” the other person more to spite them. People who show love means they are happy where they are at. So instead of being upset because you think you love them more, just enjoy where you are at because the both of you are happy that way.
Make a big deal out of everything good
I don’t care what anyone says, they’re lying if they say they don’t like to have a fuss made over them. Trent says that all the time and it’s easy to see how much he loves it when I do!
We celebrate everything in this family: graduations, promotions, birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, even good grades on tests. I make sure to make a big deal out of all things, big and small because that is the encouragement that keeps you going. Everyone loves to feel special. The smile on their face should be enough to want to do it again and again.
You need to always be on the same page financially
Finances are one of the number one reasons people get divorced. You need to make sure that you both understand your limits, needs, wants, and not necessaries. Some people separate their finances, but that is something I personally don’t believe in. Either way, you need to know where you both stand at all times.
Keep expectations equal
There have been so many times where I have been frustrated at Trent for spending $50 on Amazon for something that isn’t really necessary. Then again, I just justified spending $50 on two new cardigans that I definitely don’t need. So, if you’re expecting him to be okay spending that much on something you want that he doesn’t think is necessary, you’re going to need to be prepared to feel the same way when he spends that much.
This is where setting a spending budget comes in handy – guilt-free spending!
Think long and hard before having kids
For us, we felt it was important to build a sturdy relationship together before we decided to bring children along. This has been the best decision we have made for our marriage. It has allowed us to get to know each other on a deeper level, become financially secure, to achieve our career goals, and to knock out items on our bucket list! We have been able to enjoy our twenties with just each other. I honestly hope that it’s another 6-8 years before kids come along! I’d be perfectly fine with that.
Truly, the second a kid comes along, never ever will it be just the two of you again. Cherish that time, you’ll miss it.
If you had children right away, that’s wonderful as well! That’s just not something that we thought would be best for us. Every marriage and relationship is different and no one knows your relationship better than the two of you!
You will have that make-or-break moment in the first 3-5 years of your marriage – keep your faith!!
This is going to test you and push you and make you decide if this is really what you want in your life. For us, it was my mental health. I hit rock bottom and almost took my life from it, ending up hospitalized for two weeks. The scares, the daily struggles, the fights, and more were enough to end a marriage. Trent knew nothing about handling mental illness and I didn’t know much about how to let him help. That was the hardest year for us.
The most important thing we did was that we kept our faith in God and continuously prayed together and alone. We knew that we took a vow to stick together through sickness and in health and we weren’t going to break that vow. We didn’t know how, but we knew we were going to work through it and come out better for it in the end. That’s exactly what happened. Divorce or separation was never even a thought.
Remove the word divorce from your vocabulary
You took a vow under God to stay together “until death do us part”. Do not take the easy way out, do not convince yourself that you’re better off alone or with someone else, do not turn to anyone else. God puts trials and tribulations in our lives because he wants us to draw nearer to Him as a couple and as individuals
The second the word divorce gets brought up, that’s a quick spiral to the end of your marriage. It’s not a word to joke around with. You didn’t marry a jerk. Remember why you fell in love with them.
Never stop trying
Do one thing every day to let your partner know how much you love them and care for them. I don’t care if it’s a quick little text or scrubbing down the house. Put forth that effort into showing them you’re trying.
Take care of yourself
While you’re supposed to be able to be yourself around your partner, don’t let yourself go. I’m not saying be dressed and ready to go to a five-star restaurant the second he walks through the door, but put on some makeup or dress up in something that makes you feel sexy or beautiful. Not only for your husband but for yourself. Taking care of yourself makes you feel more confident which improves your relationship with your spouse.
Never stop dating or playing
Never stop dating, never stop trying to impress them, never stop saying I love you.
Don’t ever stop playing, please. Always try to have fun together and make each other laugh.
Don’t forget about sex
Sex is supposed to be a wonderful, spiritual, and fun thing to do with your partner. It’s supposed to be a way to connect and grow with each other. The second that intimacy is cut off in a relationship is when issues start evolving.
Both of you “accepted the position”, so to speak, to take care of one another’s physical needs. If you fail to deliver or keep backing out, they’re going to find another way to get their needs met. It’s a biological behavior that cannot be avoided.
Don’t compare them or your relationship to others
I don’t care that Johnny and Susie just bought a new car AND went on a nice vacation in the same month. Asking why you guys can’t be that way does nothing but make your partner feel inferior. This is a slap in the face to them, saying they can’t provide you with the life that you want. Ego is big for both parties. Comparing your relationship to another is like telling your partner that they can’t take care of you.
Comparing them to another person is another big slap in the face. “Why can’t you be like _______? They always do ________”. You would hate it if you were put down, why would you do that to them. Truly, they are trying. If they didn’t love you, they wouldn’t be trying. Don’t remind them where they are currently inadequate…you’d be devastated if they were to constantly remind you of your flaws. Reassure them of their best qualities instead.
Always give them the benefit of the doubt
9 times out of 10, it’s a misunderstanding. Why would the person that vowed to spend the rest of their life with you purposely want to hurt you?
What are your tried and true pieces of marriage advice that have helped you get through issues in your marriage? Let me know below in the comments!