From a Christian perspective:
Alright Ladies….Marriage 101, Are You Passing or Failing? Grade Yourself!
Being in ministry, I obviously get to hear a lot about people’s personal lives. I want to share some common themes I have heard from men and women when listening to their struggles. The first post is for the ladies, and the next post is for the guys. I’ll keep it simple. None of us need to read complicated instructions- If you do these things, it will get better. If you don’t, it wont. Ready…. Here we go:
1. Build Him Up, Don’t Tear Him Down…
Don’t tear him down. Make yourself focus on his strengths. Think back- what was it that attracted you to him in the first place? What are the things your partner does well? Make a list if you have to and focus on those when things aren’t going right. Tell your husband what he does right! Tell him what you think his strengths are.
Compliment him in front of other people and DO NOT diss him in front of your girlfriends. If you go out with other couples, don’t ever put him down, ever! Bite your tongue off if you have too.
2. Show Him Respect
A man needs to feel that you respect him. If he is a hard worker and desires to be a good husband, show him how much you respect him. Tell him! Be polite, speak kindly and tell him how much you appreciate him and how much he does for you. It will mean a lot to him. Just because people have been married for many years, doesn’t mean we should lose our manners!
-If he takes you out to dinner say “Thank you so much for taking me out to dinner. That was really nice.”
-If he fixes something in the home, don’t take it for granted. Say “I just want to let you know that I’m thankful for you. Thanks for fixing that. It looks nice.”
-If he provides for the family acknowledge it! Say “Thank you for being a great provider. You work really hard for us, and I am so blessed to be married to you.”
3. Don’t Compare Him to Other Guys!
Girls, we hate it when he compares us to another woman, so whatever you do, don’t do it to him. Don’t tell him how in shape and hot Jane Doe’s husband looks. Don’t comment about guys on TV and that you have a big crush on so & so….
Don’t brag about how much money Jane’s husband makes, or that he’s buying a boat, or buying her a new ring etc….And PUHHLEEEASE….don’t say “Why don’t you ever do that for me?”….Honestly, guys hate that- it only makes them angry and feel bad. Don’t do it.
Instead, open up your mouth and bless him. Tell him all the things he does right!
4. Ladies, Don’t Let Yourself Go!
One thing I have always tried to remember is this… My body doesn’t just belong to me. It also belongs to him. Call me old-fashioned…but, it’s true. When you said your vows to him, you gave him all of you,… body included. That doesn’t mean you have to have a perfect Victoria’s Secret body. I realize after having children and with age our bodies change. However, be the best you can be. Put effort into how you look. It will not only help you feel better about yourself, but will help your marriage as well.
Also- Spice it up girl! You don’t have to go to bed every night in ratty sweats, a t-shirt, and your anti-grinding mouth guard!
-Spray some perfume and put on something different. There is no need to look like road kill just because it’s bed time- When the lights go out, don’t make him think he’s living in a horror flick- (that was funny)
5. Keep the Humor !
I love a good laugh. Things don’t always have to be serious around the house. Laugh. Giggle at the silly and the stupid. Make jokes, and be light hearted. Life’s stresses can be difficult enough, and our homes need to be havens. If you and your hubby can laugh together, then you’ve got a lot going for you. You really do. My husband and I laugh. Sometimes, we don’t always appreciate the other one’s humor, but we do laugh…
And, learn to laugh at yourself, in a good way. Be silly sometimes. It’s a good thing. Laughter is like medicine, and it really is good for our souls.
6. Don’t Keep Secrets From Him!
Secrets in a marriage will divide you. Period. When you got married you became one, so don’t keep him in the dark about things. That includes, finances, job related issues, children’s issues, things you’re struggling with, EVERYTHING! Talk to him. Share with him.
Now, I’m not talking about professional relationships that you take an oath for. For example, my husband is a doctor, so obviously he doesn’t ever talk about his patients to me. I’m a minister, so I don’t talk to him about things I may counsel someone about. Please don’t get confused about that. I’m specifically talking about things pertaining to your marriage…
7. Don’t Nag!
This is a biggie. Ladies, don’t nag. Don’t complain. If you need to talk to your husband about something sit down together and share with him what’s bothering you. But:
-Don’t do it right when he gets home from work. Give him a chance to eat, and unwind for a bit.
-Don’t do it when he’s tired and exhausted.
If it’s hard to find a time to talk- say something like “I need to talk to you, but I realize you’re tired, can we sit down this weekend over a cup of coffee and talk about some things?”
Manners go a long way in a marriage, and he will respond much more willingly if he doesn’t feel like he’s being pounced on.
8. When You are Wrong, Don’t Just Say You Are Sorry, Also Ask Him to Forgive You!
Bottom line, we all mess up. We aren’t perfect. So, when you do something hurtful, wrong, yell, lose it on him, whatever…..just humble yourself! Say “What I did, or the way I handled that was wrong. I am very sorry for (name what you did) would you please forgive me?” Acknowledging you are wrong, apologizing and asking for forgiveness does wonders for your marriage. Oh, and no sarcasm allowed!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married 1 week, 1 year, 10, 20, 30+ years. These things are key to being a good spouse. So how did you do? If there are things you need to correct, start today!
-great book for couples- The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
-great book for wife: The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian
*Disclaimer: Obviously, if you are not being treated right by your husband, you are being abused, threatened or feel unsafe, get immediate help. Do not stick around if there is physical or emotional dangers. You need to be safe first and foremost!