Marriage Hints

Okay, this is something I wrote a few years ago when we were having a class on marriage at church.  It may be a little conceited of me to presume to give marriage advice, but I will say that these things have worked well for us, and we have lasted more than 20 years.

Incidentally, there is some formatting in this that I can’t seem to fix, so if it looks like something is being emphasized over something else, it isn’t, I just can’t fix the highlighting.  Stupid Word.

Marriage Hints

(In No Particular Order)

  1. Always, always, always tell the truth to each other and to your kids.  And to everyone else for that matter.  And insist on complete honesty from your children.
  2. Say “I love you” often.  We always make it the last thing we say to each other before hanging up the phone, or leaving to go somewhere.  You never know when it might be the last time you see or talk to him/her.
  3.  Don’t enjoy being angry.  Disagreements and hurt feelings will happen, but work them out quickly, at least agreeing to disagree.  Don’t wallow in and nurse angry feelings.   Apologize easily, and accept apologies (i.e., forgive) easily.  Don’t be cruel or hateful in your anger.
  1. Physical touch is very important.  I’m talking about non-sexual touching:  holding hands, hugging, patting his/her back or arm as you walk by.  Lots of kissing, lots of hugging.  We don’t even let the kids sit between us during church.  I really can’t overstate the importance of this.  There have been times we were mad at each other, and all I had to do was reach over and rub his arm, and things got better.  Touch each other lovingly a lot and often.
  1. We sit next to each other in restaurants, not across a table.  We always ask for a large enough booth that we can sit next to each other.
  1. Say “thank you” to your spouse for everyday tasks.  “Thank you for doing the laundry.”  “Thank you for mowing the lawn.”  “Thank you for making dinner.”  “Thank you for bathing the kids.”  “Thank you for taking out the trash.”  It really makes a difference in my willingness to do things when my husband is vocally thankful for them.  (It’s also a really good example for the kids.  Mine now thank me for supper and other things I do for them.)
  1. Always present a united front to the kids.  Never, ever undermine each other with the kids.  You are better off being united in being wrong than in going behind each other’s backs to change what the other has said.  It’s okay to change what’s been said if you do it with the other’s knowledge and agreement.  (Sometimes a short caucus is in order.)
  1. Have time alone with each other, at least 30 minutes 3-5 times a week.  Do this while the children are awake, making it clear that you are not to be interrupted, with real consequences for interrupting you.  Children need to know that mommies and daddies need alone time.  It actually makes them feel more secure, knowing that Mommy and Daddy love each other enough to insist on this alone time.
  1. Have a lock on your bedroom door, and use it, even when the kids are asleep!
  1. Pray together regularly – we always pray at meal time, including other matters besides the food.   I also pray with the children every morning before they leave for school.
  1. Going to church services is a commitment.  Go even when you don’t feel like it.  Go even when you don’t “feel” worshipful.
  1. Give at least 10% off the top of your income to God.  It should be the first item on your budget, and it should go up every time you get a raise.  Be sure to count bonuses.  This is my main and most successful financial advice.
  1. Don’t get deep into debt.  Pay off credit card bills every month, or use a debit card instead.  Don’t spend what you don’t have.  A car payment and a house payment, and maybe student loans, should be your only debts.
  1. Don’t feel guilty about time spent away from each other (within reason).  It’s okay to have different interests and hobbies.  Give each other room to enjoy what you enjoy.
  1. There are many forms of intimacy.  Know where the line is and do not cross it with someone of the opposite gender who is not your spouse.  Don’t seriously complain about your marriage to someone of the opposite sex, and don’t listen to someone of the opposite sex seriously complain about his/her spouse.  It’s not appropriate, and it is dangerous to both your marriages.  If you must talk to someone, talk to a trusted friend of the same gender.
  1. Guys are going to notice pretty girls, and it’s pointless to get mad about that.  It’s not an insult to you.  Shrug it off.  But, guys, also be sensitive to whether this bugs your wife.  If it does, be considerate and not too obvious about it.
  1. Don’t put each other down in front of others.  Teasing is okay up to a point, but not belittling or humiliating.  Know your partner’s limit on this, and don’t go past it.  It’s not funny, and it’s embarrassing to those who have to listen to it, too.
  1. “Divorce” is not a word in your vocabulary.  You don’t joke about it.  It’s not funny, and it’s not an option.
  1. Above all, I think, just be considerate of each other.   Don’t bark at each other, and apologize when you do.  Help each other out in all your various responsibilities and tasks.  Dads help bathe the kids.  Moms take out the trash.  Dads wash the dishes.  Moms put gas in the car.  Whatever is needed at any given time, be willing to help each other with it.  Treat each other with love and respect.

I should add that I didn’t think all of these up.  They are a compilation of my own experience, advice I’ve gotten from others, and hints culled from various books.  Any mistakes are their fault. 🙂


About amyenoch

My name is Amy Enoch. I have been married for 27 years to the love of my life. I have two daughters, ages 20 and 18. I live in the Dallas area. My main job is mom to my girls and wife to my husband, but I do work part-time in an office job, and I do some contract work from home when it is available. I'll update this as I think of stuff that might be pertinent!
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2 Responses to Marriage Hints

  1. NJM says:

    All this is great advice! But I just loved that addendum about your various advisors: “Any mistakes are their fault.”

  2. David Mercer says:

    Good stuff. You’d be amazed how hard good advice like this is hard to come by, much less do.

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