Tag Archives: marriage tips

When Opposites Attract and Marry – 7 Tips for Making Your Marriage Great

My husband Dan and I are two very different people.  He likes to tell people, “She is like the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and I am more like Full Metal Jacket.”   I like Antiques Roadshow and he prefers The Walking Dead.  He is very social and needs to connect with people to feel energized.  I am more introverted.  I need quiet, alone time to recharge my batteries.  So how do such opposites make a marriage work?  Glad you asked.  I have a few tips for you garnered through our 37 years of marriage.  I am writing this post to wives, but the same tips apply to husbands.

wedding dag On our wedding day, October 29, 1978.

#1.  When those moments come that cause you to look at your spouse and wonder why you ever married, make a list (write it down!) of all the qualities that attracted you to them in the first place.  They must have many great attributes because you chose to marry them, right?  Sometimes in the busyness of life, we forget to appreciate our spouse.  I have been guilty of this many times, especially as a young mom.  

#2.  Think of at least one thing each day that you appreciate about your spouse and TELL THEM.   Write a note and put it in their lunch or briefcase.  Send them a text or email.  Praise them in front of your children or others.  BUILD THEM UP!  Men especially eat this up.  They crave the love and respect of their wives.  That is the way God made them.

#3.  Encourage your spouse in their hobbies.  My husband loves guns and going to the shooting range.  I was not raised around guns and I did not feel comfortable around them when we first married.   I have gone to the range with him several times through the years (kicking and screaming) because he wanted me to learn to handle a gun.  It is not for me.  The last time we went I told him, “This is a man’s sport.  It is loud and dirty and no one picks up after themselves.”  We laughed.  Now, while I don’t enjoy shooting, I want my husband to be able to enjoy his hobby.  I encourage him to go to the range and have fun.  I even introduced him to a co-worker of mine who has since become a good friend and shooting buddy.   You have to, at least, try your spouse’s hobby a few times, then if you don’t enjoy it, you can still encourage them to pursue it on their own or with a friend.  The good news is that once your spouse sees how you encourage their hobbies, they will begin to encourage yours, too.

#4.  Accept that there is more than one way to do things, and your way (or your mom and dad’s way) is not always right.  This one tip will save you so much heartache in life.  I grew up with a dad who could fix or build anything.  When I married, I just expected that Dan would have that same ability.  It took many years for me to realize that growing up without a dad around meant Dan didn’t have the opportunity to learn those skills.  It was unfair of me to expect him to be something he was not.  I have learned that it is better to pay someone to do the things that Dan cannot do rather than impose impossible expectations on him.  My husband is happier and knows that I respect him for his many other fine qualities.

#5.  Learn to embrace imperfection.  Learn to laugh at yourself and your silly expectations.  I wish I had learned this long ago.  I’ll never forget a Christmas dinner with my husband and young children sitting around the table.  I put on some beautiful Christmas music, Nat King Cole singing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”  It was going to be the perfect Christmas dinner, just like my mom used to make.  But Dan, with his silly sense of humor, started singing, “Rudolph roasting on an open fire…”   I was so angry!  Of course, the kids loved it, but at the time, I thought he had ruined our special holiday dinner.   In truth, the only thing that ruined it was my bad attitude and silly sensibilities.  Ugh.  Sure wish I could go back and change that.

#6.  Recognize that God brought you together for a reason.  Your spouse has strengths that you don’t have.  You have strengths your spouse doesn’t have.  God brought you together for this very reason, to compliment one another.  It is a very good thing my husband and I are not alike.  I have often thought how blessed my kids are to have Dan for a dad.  His gentle, loving presence soothed many stressful moments.  He taught them (and me!) many lessons on forgiveness and grace.  He truly is a gentle giant of a man and one of God’s greatest blessings to me.

#7.  Learn to laugh at yourself.  Don’t be so sensitive and easily hurt.  One of the joys of a long shared history is that we can look back and laugh at some of the silly things we have done, or mistakes we have made.   We are secure enough in our love for one another, that we can laugh at ourselves.  Sometimes all it takes is a word to make us crack up laughing, or a song on the radio to bring us to tears.

#8.  Pray, pray and pray some more.  Make your spouse your prayer partner.  It is hard to be angry when you are praying together.  Keep God at the center of your marriage and make it your goal to serve and honor Him.  God will bless your marriage!

If you are married to your opposite, don’t give up on your marriage!  Learn to recognize and appreciate each other’s strengths and build on them.  God brought you together for a reason.

Dan and Anita 2014   Are you married to your opposite?  Let me know how you are doing.  What lessons have you learned along the way to help you in your relationship?  I look forward to  hearing from you.

11 Tips For Making Your Marriage Last a Lifetime

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Image courtesy of Boykung at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The ring is on…the ceremony is over…the guests have left. Now what?

11 Tips For Making Your Marriage Last a Lifetime:

1) Choose to forgive. Holding grudges is TOXIC to a relationship. Be the first to ask forgiveness. A strong person is not afraid to admit when they are wrong.

2) Choose love. Don’t let small irritations cause you to forget all the wonderful qualities your spouse has that made you fall in love with them in the first place. Make a list of their good qualities and focus on those.

3) Be a servant to one another. Treat your spouse with the same kindness and graciousness that you would treat a guest in your home. Let your home be a haven of peace for you and your spouse.

4) Live within your means. Debt brings anxiety and kills marriages. Sit down together and make a budget. Vow to live within the constraints of your budget.

5) Make time for one another. Keep your relationship fresh and alive by having date nights once a week or once a month. Set your cell phone aside, or better yet, turn it off and focus all your attention on your spouse.

6) Be supportive and encouraging. The world is full of people who want to tear us down. If your spouse works outside the home, they probably deal with negative people all day long. Let them know that you will always be there for them with words of encouragement and love.

7) Commit to one another for life. Determine never to consider divorce as an option.

8) Share similar goals. Talk about your dreams for the future. Work on them together. You can’t reach those goals if you are pulling in opposite directions.

9) Share a hobby. Shared memories are the best. Find something you both enjoy doing and make time to do it.

10) Pray together. I can’t think of anything else that has meant more to keeping our marriage strong. It is hard to be angry at someone when you are praying together.

11) Put God first in your marriage. Faith is the glue that has held us together. When our love for one another has waned, our love for God has commanded us to love one another. God has never failed us.

Truth be told, my husband, Dan Morrison, has taught me these lessons over the 35 years of our marriage. Growing up I was blessed to learn love, self-sacrifice and devotion watching my mother care for my disabled sibling. I knew love. My parents were married for over 64 years. I understood faithfulness and commitment. What I didn’t understand was unconditional love and forgiveness. My father (a wonderful, but flawed human being) was a perfectionist for whom my siblings and I could never do anything right. He had trouble admitting when he was wrong and asking forgiveness. His standards were so high, none of us could ever hope to attain them, and neither could he. He was harder on himself than anyone else. Critical words do much damage to tender spirits. It took many years of God working on my heart and mind, and Dan continually speaking love and encouragement in my heart, to crack my shell. I am here to attest that God can change hearts and minds. We have a strong marriage today because God has worked on both our hearts and given us more love for one another every day. Don’t give up!