Practical Advice for Shaping Your Marriage
Last month marked 21 years ago that I accepted my proposal of marriage from my husband. That 23 year old, wide-eyed innocent had no idea the roller coaster ride she was in for!
While there have definitely been more ups than downs, (no thanks to us, all praise to God!) there are definitely some lessons I wish I knew before I got married or at least much earlier in marriage.
There are the silly little things like the annoyance of the toilet seat and toilet paper situations. Ya’ll know what I am talking about. Seat down please, and over is the ONLY way toilet paper goes. Can I get an amen?
Seriously though, I really wish my husband and I had undergone more pre-marriage counselling. We would have had much more realistic expectations of one another. We would have had a better foundation to build our marriage on, as neither one of us came from families where strong, healthy, Godly marriage was modeled. All things that are helpful to have when shaping your marriage.
The Marriage Advice That Stuck With Me
The one thing I remember most from our one session is the one thing that needed expounding on more in terms of how to apply it.
“You won’t always like each other. But you have a choice to continue loving one another. Remember that, love is a choice, not a feeling”.
Though we have been married nearly 21 years, we are only now really learning what it means to choose to love one another well.
We have experienced some very dark days the last few years with both marital struggles and medical issues for both of us. While we both believe in God and on His name for our salvation…we were not letting Him have full reign in our marriage.
He was not the foundation on which we had built our relationship. Selfish wants and needs were.
The right marital foundation starts with understanding our role under the Godhead of Christ. Getting our role right is critical in understanding what it means to be submitted as a wife. I’m going to share some of the principles I’ve learned when it comes to honoring God, each other, and shaping your marriage.
7 Principles That Are Shaping My Marriage
1| Your role as wife and his as husband are EQUAL in importance, but not the SAME in duties.
Your strengths are not his, nor are his strengths yours. That is the point. Each of you needs to focus on growing yourselves according to God’s role and desires for you. As Dr. Tony Evans says, “If your roles were the same, one of you would not be needed.” Mmkay?
2 | Compromise is better than contention.
Find points during an argument you can agree on and focus on those similarities, not your differences. Be willing to give up being right for what is right for your spouse.
3 | Don’t force a conversation/resolution.
If one or both of you is tired or has had a particularly hard day, that is probably not the time to bring up issues or grievances with one another. Choose a time when you both are calm to approach the topic together.
Be aware of your tone and attitude when speaking with your spouse. He NEEDS your respect, even when you disagree with the direction or decision(s) he is making.
5 | Be mindful in the little things.
It is in the daily mundane tasks that real intimacy in marriage grows. Completing house projects together, grocery shopping, prayer time, being humble enough to say “I’m sorry”, holding hands, folding laundry together, sticky notes stuck in wallets or on car dashboards to say “Have a great day”. Little things can create big impact.
6 | Never stop dating.
Even with kids, careers, and commutes, you need to carve out time for the two of you. Schedule it if you have to! Make memories…when you are older, when things are tough, you can treasure those good times and remember why you fell in love in the first place.
7 | Make time for YOU.
Cultivate hobbies and friendships with Godly women to fill the areas of your life that your husband cannot fulfill. Yes, I said your husband cannot be your all in all. Because he cannot. Don’t make him try to meet expectations that are beyond his ability and role. Only God can completely fill us.
The Beautiful Reality of Marriage
Marriage is a beautiful, messy, chaotic, and exciting journey together. With God at the helm, those rough waters are much easier to navigate. We cannot do this alone. And we are not meant to.
If you are struggling in your marriage right now, please don’t throw in the towel. God can redeem it. I know because He gloriously redeemed mine.
Ammie Black is a wife, furmom, Training and Development manager and writer whose heart has been seeking God’s best in her life since the moment she said yes to Him. In the last two years, Jesus has done a deep redeeming work in her marriage, her heart and in how she sees herself. She yearns to encourage and inspire other women by sharing what God has done in her through her writing and speaking engagements.
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