Top 5 Tips for a Happy Marriage

Top 5 Tips for a Happy Marriage

9 years ago today I walked down the aisle to Pacbell’s Cannon and began the adventure that is my life as a Wyoming Girl turned Coastie Wife! It’s been a lot of crazy and a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for the next 50 years of life with my Bob. So here are my top 5 tips for a Happy Marriage in celebration of today!

Also! Just wanted to add a little note to encourage those of you who might *not* feel so happy right now, and that’s is that the biggest tip outside of these is that even happy marriages have un-happy times. That’s the nature of being married and living this thing we call life!

1. Always, always, Stay friends — Spend time together, laugh, joke, play with each other. just make sure that your spouse is your very best friend. During the crazy, insane, hard times that will pull you through like nothing else ever possibly could.

Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

2. Fall back in love. Go back from time to time and look at pictures from when you were dating/engaged, go back and re-read your love letters to each other, look at cards, look at presents etc from that time period. Remember WHY you fell in love and chose to spend your life with this person. I have a “Bob album” where I keep all these kinds of things. It makes it easy any time I’m feeling sappy like a few “Awwwws”

1 Cor. 13:7 & 8 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

3. Comparison is the thief of joy. You’ve probably seen this quote floating around and that’s because it’s SO good and SO true. Never ever ever compare yourself or your marriage to other couples. Everyone can put on a pretty face or gush about each other on Facebook but you have NO idea what’s going on behind closed doors. Just wish them all the best and hope they have as amazing of marriages as it looks like they do–and work your hardest to keep yours amazing and strong as well. Also realize that each couple is faced with their very own and very unique set of challenges in their marriage. Holding your husband or yourself up to them is an unfair measuring stick for everyone and will leave you feeling unsatisfied or pridefully vain. If you must compare, compare YOU and only you to the instructions laid out in scripture.

James 3:16 ESV For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

4. Be careful little mouth what you say. Other than perhaps your Godly mentor that you share all your life/spiritual struggles with do not EVER speak badly about your spouse in a public way online or off. Be careful of even little things that can under-cut them and wound them. They are already super insecure (we ALL are) so always build them up!

Eph. 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

5. Find Godly resources on marriage and read, read, read, and re-read them.I have an entire pinboard called Happily Ever After that I use to keep track of amazing blog posts and our bookshelves are full of Christian marriage books-not because we’ve ever had a bad marriage, but just because we want to be so sure to keep having an *amazing* one! Other resources that I love are here:

#1 The Bible — I mean–really. Should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyways. Did you know you can even download it for free for your e-reader or read it online in ESV? Check it out!

Favorite Blogs:

To Love Honor and Vacuum — an amazing blog! She deals a lot with marriage and also wrote the book A Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex   which is in my very narrow “must read for every married woman” category

The Peaceful Wife — Oh! What a blessing this blog has been to me!! Seriously–she speaks the truth about marriage from God’s word and I always go away convicted, blessed, challenged and refreshed!

Carla Anne — if you’re a wife whose husband has to be gone for long lengths of time for any reason you NEED to aquatint yourself with Carla Anne’s site–and also her book Married Mom, Solo Parent

Favorite Books: (in addition to the two above ^^^)

For Women Only –This book really is everything your husband wishes you knew about him–but would die before telling you himself, or simply doesn’t “get” that you don’t “get”! As I said–this is one of only three books I’d call absolutely MUST HAVE marriage books! It’s a short, easy read but wow, what an amazing little book it is!

Created To Be  His Helpmeet — I feel like I need to give a “disclaimer” now as there are several things about the Pearls that I do NOT agree with and have seen since the time I first posted about this book. In fact most of the other Christian authors I love to read who write about marriage dislike the Pearls very much. This book for me, however, was my “lightbulb” book. It helped me to open my eyes to so many things in my marriage and I am so very grateful to it. Also her chapter about the three different kinds of men changed my life–if you ONLY get it to read that one chapter, it would be worth it in my eyes.

Worth Owning/Reading:

Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman — a very popular book that added another layer to the love and understanding in our marriage–a great one to own!

The Language of Love and Respect — another good read!

The Love Dare & The Respect Dare are both worth owning and doing! Oh and watch Fireproof with your spouse for a date if you never have!

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Are you happily married? Please share your favorite tips and best advice in a comment below!

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Emotions of the Married, Single Mom *Guest Blog*

A recent survey done by TheBump.com and ForbesWoman.com reveals that between 25% and 65% of both working and stay-at-home moms sometimes feel like married single moms. Reading the responses to this report and comments on blogs, it is quite clear that emotions run high. The deeply felt emotions these women deal with may have been birthed in an unequal distribution of chores, however as time goes on these emotions reveal there is something more significant going on. It’s no longer just about the chores. The emotions reveal cracks in fabric of the relationship. These emotions – loneliness, anger, jealousy, grief, etc – can have a profound impact on a married single mom and her marriage.

No girl grows up dreaming of a marriage where she feels abandoned by her man. Perhaps his job pulls him away from home for days, weeks or months at a time. Maybe he is gaming his time away, or drinking away the possibility of an intimate relationship. Regardless of why husbands are absent (or uninvolved), their wives experience a roller-coaster of emotions that can wreck havoc and disaster within their marriage.

Loneliness is a painful wound many married single moms quietly carry every day. Companionship and conversation are critical components of a happy marriage. When this isn’t available, a wife feels lonely and separated from her husband.

Disney Princesses trained us for ‘happily ever after’, but when Prince Charming doesn’t come home our hearts ache for our unmet expectations. Those unmet expectations become dashed dreams that may never be fulfilled and need to be grieved. There is a deep sense of loss and often questions and fears about what the future will hold.

Fear also raises its ugly head in other ways. She wonders about his activities. She worries about his safety and health. Concern for her kids becomes paramount. She becomes insecure in her role as a wife and mother. Insecurity in her marriage, in her purpose, and in her belief system begins to erode her confidence. Married single moms wonder if they still have what it takes to attract their husband’s love and attention.

It doesn’t take long for the twinges of insecurity to grow into soul-shaking jealousy. Husbands who are home every evening, who co-parent their children and date their wives become objects of comparison. Watching a husband and wife deep in intimate conversation can ignite a spark of jealousy.  This envy can become a consuming fire tearing down whatever good might exist in her marriage.

Then shame sets in. When others question her situation, it validates her pain and points out the failure she feels. She’s embarrassed about her husband’s choices, often feeling she must make excuses for him. Blog comments regarding married single moms contain some deeply wounding words that cast blame on her because she chose to marry and stay with him.

For many, this growing burden of emotional pain becomes a cancer deep in the heart. All the emotional pain is fashioned into a sharpened sword called anger. They are angry with their husband’s choices. Angry about living married life alone. Angry about how Daddy’s absence affects the kids. Angry about everything.

There is so much grief that fills the heart of a married single mom. She’s said good-bye to dreams for herself and her children. She’s sad about the hours, days, and special moments that will never happen. She needs to grieve the what-if’s and the dreams she had as a bride. This grief needs to be addressed. Grieving our dreams includes being honest about those dreams, realizing they may never be fulfilled, and asking God for new dreams firmly planted in reality and truth.
Married single moms are not a new phenomenon. I have lived this life and many others have, too. We even find examples of married single moms throughout the Old and New Testaments. We can no longer avoid reality – married single moms are prevalent and their situations and burdens are real. But how have they survived and even thrived? Through the strength God provides. Through Christian community. Through the healing of wounded hearts. Through the hope provided by Jesus Christ.

Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog. She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit www.carlaanne.com.