Recently there have been a flurry of weddings among my acquaintances. I would like to think that it’s just a weird coincidence and not because I’ve reached the age where my children’s friends are all now getting married. Because that would make me old.
While that first year is full of new, young love, it was also hard. Much harder than I anticipated. We were both very young, and Dave was still finishing college so he worked during the day and went to school in the evenings, and like most young couples, we were broke.
Even harder than dealing with the work schedule, and the school schedule, and the money (or lack thereof) was figuring out what kind of couple we were going to be. My parents were divorced when I was very young and I didn’t have an example of what a healthy married couple looked like. You sure don’t see many on tv! But you know what? We figured it out. We’ve had some hard times, sure, but I don’t ever recall a time in the almost 23 years we’ve been married where I’d wished I was not married to Dave. I think he would say the same.
How to Be Happily Married Top 10 List
1. Always remember, you’re on the same team, not adversaries. Act like it.
2. Choose to always think the best of your spouse. If you hear something from a friend about your spouse and it could be taken 2 ways, assume the best. If he leaves a coffee spill on the counter, don’t automatically think “Who does he think I am the maid?” instead think, “He must have been in a hurry and forgot.” Or, “He must have not noticed the spill.” Trust me on this one. Satan is going to fight you on this. He wants you to always think the worst, always be annoyed, and always assume your spouse is out to get you or using you or does not appreciate you. Simply choose to think the best.
3. Always be honest. Be honest about the clothes you bought at the store when you really didn’t have the money. Be honest about the ding on the car door. Be honest about the important item of his that you were careless with and accidentally broke. Be honest. Always. And about everything.
4. Keep no secrets. Similar to being honest, but it goes even further. Never know anything that you would not tell your spouse. Be the woman that people tell things to, expecting that she will tell her husband. Never agree to ‘let’s keep this between you and me, and not tell your husband.’ Other than happy surprises, keep no secrets.
5. Pick up the clothes he drops in the wrong place. Just do it. Every day. And don’t complain. How do you think your curling iron gets back in the drawer every morning?
6. Make the meal that you hate, but he loves. The words ‘I love you’ cannot speak louder than this.
7. Watch the guy TV. Don’t just sit nearby and read or get on the internet. Watch. Many of those shows are actually kinda good.
8. Never belittle your husband to others. If you would not say it with him standing next to you, don’t say it at all. Be his cheerleader. It’s exclusively your job. Nobody believes his mom when she says how wonderful he is, but they’ll believe what you say, be it positive or negative.
9. Don’t begrudge him his guy time. Let him go play. You don’t want to have to play poker/smoke the cigar/watch all the races/tinker with the garage things, do you? He’ll come home happier. I promise.
10. Say ‘I Love you’ and ‘Yes’ as often as you can.
All 10 of the things in the How to Stay Happily Married Top 10 List can be summed up simply in Jesus’ words.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22 37-40
Love God, and love your husband as yourself. If this is your top focus, you cannot go wrong.
I wonder what Dave’s list would look like? Perhaps something like this…
1. Eat your wife’s food. Even the gross meals. Maybe, with some encouragement, she’ll get better.
2. Just because she kills all the houseplants doesn’t mean she’s going to kill you too.
3. Give up trying to share the blanket and get your own. No one will ever figure out why she has to roll up like a sausage every night.
4. Perhaps she can’t see the curling iron sitting on the bathroom counter EVERY MORNING?
5. Yes, she really does need all those bottles in the shower.
6. Make ‘houseplants’ a line item in the budget and don’t ask questions.
7. Try to ignore Morning Trish. Regular Trish will arrive somewhere around coffee cup #2
8. Make ‘coffee’ a line item in the budget and don’t ask questions
9. Yes, she really does need that many bags, pairs of shoes, and books.