20 Ideas For a Successful Marriage

This year, Dean and I celebrated 20 years of marriage.  I have to pause when I type this because that is a really long time.  Twenty is a big number.  Two decades.  It deserves respect.  Respect.  That’s a big word too… a really important word in marriage.  I wish I could say that I’ve always treated Dean with respect.  That would be a really big lie.  The truth is, life gets busy and stressful and overwhelming and sometimes I snap.  I hate that I do this.  My husband deserves respect all of the time.  He’s a really good man.  But, I am flawed.  We all are.  So, how do we live together and stay together without killing each other for 20 years?  In honor of our 20 year anniversary, I will make a list of 20 tips for a healthy marriage.

  1.  Respect – Men love to be respected.  Wives should make this a priority.  We are perpetually in mom mode and I think we sometimes forget who we are talking to.
  2. Love – Obviously we love our spouses.  But, do our actions reflect this?  We should look for small ways throughout the day to love and appreciate each other.  It doesn’t have to be an over the top gesture.  And it doesn’t have to cost anything.  Simple ideas will work great if they are done on a regular basis.
  3. Communicate – Now this is a really big word!!  Listen when your spouse is talking.  You may think you do this.  But, try repeating back what you think you heard.  You may not be hearing them at all.  Look at him/her when they are talking.  Don’t stare at the TV, newspaper or computer.  Let your spouse know that what they are saying is important to you.
  4. Don’t nag – Ladies, this one is usually on us.  We do not have to pick everything to death.  Just let it go.  There are enough big things to deal with.  You don’t have to harp on all of the little ones.  Choose peace instead.
  5. Trust – If you tell little white lies, stop!!!  This will break down the trust in your relationship.  Be a trustworthy person.  Your marriage deserves it.
  6. Leave room for error – We are not perfect people.  Give your spouse grace to make mistakes without ridicule.  Forgive them often.
  7. Be a team – Life is tough.  Everything is easier when you have someone standing by your side.
  8. Don’t be stubborn – Fighting to win should never be the plan.  Fight to resolve issues.  That might mean you have to lay down your pride, your attitude, even your will.  It will be worth it in the end.
  9. Don’t fight in public – I don’t think this one needs an explanation.
  10. Sex – Don’t forget about sex.  Flirt with each other.  And don’t be afraid to talk about sex.  Good open communication about what you like and don’t like leads to a really great sex life.  Just be careful how you express your dislikes.  You don’t want to hurt your spouse.
  11. Give each other freedom to be an individual – While it is true that two halves make a whole, that isn’t so true in marriage.  You need two whole individuals to make a healthy marriage.
  12. Think before you speak – This is not only true when you are angry.  It is just true.  Period.
  13. Don’t take each other for granted – No one likes to feel like they are being used or abused.  A kind word of appreciation goes a long way.
  14. Learn to say “I’m sorry” – Again, lay down your pride.  Consider the possibility that you are wrong.  If you haven’t apologized in a while, you might have an issue in this area.
  15. Have fun! – If you haven’t had fun recently, plan some.  Go laugh together.  Enjoy each other’s company.
  16. Help out – Find something you don’t normally do and help with it every once in a while. We could all use a little help every now and then.
  17. Don’t be defensive – Your spouse loves you.  They aren’t trying to attack you.  Listen to what they are communicating and don’t be defensive about it.  You always have room to improve.
  18. Kiss!! – I covered sex.  But, I feel like kissing needs its own number.  Women love to be kissed.  Real, passionate kisses.  Look in her eyes first and tell her what you love about her.  WOW!!  Do this often!
  19. Don’t let the in-laws come between you – Mom and Dad are great.  But, they don’t need to know about your grievances with your spouse.  And, if Mom or Dad try to speak ill of your spouse, it is your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
  20. Pray!! – Pray for your spouse.  Pray with your spouse.  And do it every day.  This one stands alone.  I would say it is more important than all of the others combined.

I think I’ll refer back to these 20 tips often.  Maybe I can help make the next 20 years better than the first!

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