This week is my 4th wedding anniversary! Our marriage is really good, and if you are new to my story, at first glance you would never know that 4 years ago we were also struggling to stay married. Let me tell you, marriage is a rad and beautiful thing, that God entrusts us to manage and maintain. It’s not easy at times, and no matter how much you love your spouse, if you neglect even the smallest things in your marriage you are risking throwing it down the drain. As I said, I know because I’ve been there.
No one goes to bed saying “I’m going to trash my marriage. I invited another person into my life to live with me until death does us part, and I want to destroy this person now.” If you did go to bed saying this, then there are some underlying issues somewhere in your life, but for the most part, this is not a normal thought.
I have loved my wife for a long time, and I never thought that I was ever going to be one of thous statistic. 40-50% of marriages end in a divorce, and that is crazy stupid. So, as mentioned, a few years ago my wife and I were about to split shortly after we got married. Long story short, I was not properly tending to my marriage like I should, and it is only due to God’s grace and mercy that saved it. It was one of the hardest times in my life and I never felt so afraid.
My wife and I have reconciled, and have been working together to make our marriage the way God intends it to be, and everything is great! When we broke up I tried to fix things my way but was only making things worse. I was digging myself deeper and deeper and the only way out was to give up. So I gave up on trying to do it alone, and I gave my marriage to God and trusted that he was going to take care of us. I spent those months not only praying and fighting for my marriage, but studying what it means to love someone, and how to take care of it. I would now love to share all the information that I have came across over the years of studying a Godly marriage because I would never in a million years wish that pain on anyone.
The following is a list of 10 things that I feel need to be worked on to make an awesome marriage. These things are things I have either looked back on and have seen cause issues with my marriage or repeating trends that I’ve seen or heard from digging deep into resources of resolving marriages.
This was probably the one that hit us the hardest. When you fall in love and everything seems to be good, and you know that this person was destined to be in your life forever, and you make the move to marry them, and then….the honeymoon… is over….
Work, life, children, whatever you want the excuse to be, we sometimes switch into autopilot and just cruise through the relationship. It’s very similar to any company giving you the offer of a lifetime, just to snag you in. In the beginning, they treat you like your the best costumer in the world, then once the deal on the table is over…poof! That great customer service turns into the poo on the bottom of your shoe.
Sadly, marriages tend to follow that model. We comb our hair, shine our shoes, and give it our best to try to impress the one we admire, and then we turn autopilot on and stop. I know in my marriage it wasn’t even something that I was even aware of, it just happened.
Don’t take your spouse for granted. EVER
2. Flirting with disaster
Flirting comes in two-fold for both my wife and I. I have been misconceived as a flirt at times, and I’m not even aware of how I come off as a flirt. The dangers in this are that the ever so sweet guy that I am, tends to get girls attention at times, and that can be bad. I’ve not once crossed that line, but have been so close to the edge that it could be said that I was reaching over it.
I now keep it in mind of how people might even perceive this, but my actions around the opposite sex should be screaming “Ladies, leave me alone, I have a wife at home, whom I’m very much in love with, and nothing compares to her!” (Hint Hint Ladies…I’m not interested)
When we get married we tend to stop flirting with our spouse, this is very harmful in a marriage. In a nutshell:
Flirting with spouse = Good
Flirting with someone who is not your spouse = Bad
When I started to control my flirting toward others, I found that as I decreased the flirty behavior outside my marriage that I became a big flirt to my wife. And she digs it!
Flirting within marriage is awesome, but flirting outside of your marriage is always harmful!
Also, try to avoid putting yourself in a situation that might lead to something more. most people don’t wake up trying to cheat on their spouse but usually got to that point by not setting boundaries with the opposite sex.
3. Negative friends, family, and influences
Alright, you have more than likely seen that kid, that was a good kid, but ended up in the wrong crowd, and made some mistakes, blah blah blah. Like that kid, your friends, family, and the people that are around you can help make or break your marriage. Family is a tough one to deal with, and sometimes you can’t always pick your co-workers or other people around you, but you do get to pick your friends. Make sure that you are choosing to pick friends that support and love BOTH you and your spouse.
Genesis 2:24 says
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
With that said you should have the expectations that everyone you choose to be around should support BOTH you and your spouse and your marriage.
4. One Ring
One ring to rule them all…or something like that. So it is just a ring, and normally you might not be a person into jewelry, but the wedding ring is way more powerful than even the Green Lantern’s ring. This is can be your first line of defense when protecting your marriage against adultery.
I know this happens more when you are single, but when you meet a new person, one of the first things you tend to notice is if they are wearing a wedding/engagement ring. This signals to you whether or not that person is available.
For me, it is also a symbol of love. When I see my wife wear her ring, it brings me so much joy. I usually don’t take mine off. I wear it proud because I am proud to be married to my wife.
5. Being overly plugged in
I’ll admit, that at times I tend to plug into technology more than I interact with others. It’s so easy to do. Sometimes I so want to zone out and hit up the Xbox. I have tried to make it a point to not be on my phone as much when I’m around others (I know I have an issue with social media sometimes).
We shouldn’t have to depend on a news feed from Facebook to be updated on how our loved ones are doing. Yes, it’s cool, but when you talk to them one on the one you receive something more.
As I said, I do enjoy a good video game but not as much as my marriage. We said that we try to take some time when we can to sit down and play some games together but not make that the main interaction in the relationship.
Technology is a tool and an important one, but it is the wrong tool to try to fix a marriage or any relationship. The best thing to do is try engaged and present as much as possible.
6. Parenting and the myth of 50/50
We have 3 kids and to be honest, raising a kid is both the raddest and the scariest thing in the world. We have these tiny people who are so full of emotions, and this tends to bring people closer together (and it does) but can also be very harmful to a marriage.
If you do not have a unified approach with your spouse things are going to go haywire. You must agree on everything or at least be flexible with your agreements. The mistake that I’ve seen is one parent is like the alpha parent (usually moms) and the other is disengaged (sorry dads, this tends to be you) This will divide the relationship. When I say disengaged I don’t necessarily mean “dead beat dad” but I know an issue that we had, was I would work 60-70 hours a week and would come home and expect Haley to have the house clean and make me dinner and etc. I was providing the income but kinda slacked on the in-house teamwork.
I was not disengaged from my child, in fact, I love playing with her and spending time with her. I enjoyed being the cool dad that like playing and reading and stuff and ultimately freed Haley up to do MORE housework. Parenting is a full-time job no doubt, and it is more than just an 8-5 gig were sometimes you get to call in because you do not feel good. Parenting is not a 50/50 thing, just like your marriage is not a 50/50 thing. If you are not going all-in on your marriage you will more than likely not be going all-in on parenting.
1 Corinthians 11:11 states
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman
Meaning that we need to work together as a team 100/100, which if you are into numbers and ratios, is 1:1, which is one. Again, when we get married we make a convent to be one.
7. Nudey Magazines
No Porn! I know this is an overkill statement but I believe that many couples take this for granted.
You have the real deal, and that intimate time with your spouse is one of the best things in the world. When you are looking at other stuff, you are not getting the real deal, you are just getting a quick fix until the next time you need a quick fix. This tends to devalue the time you have with your spouse until it isn’t the best thing anymore. You should be desiring your spouse and savoring every intimate moment that you can. Get rid of the garbage.
Not to mention that this also puts high expectation in your love life. Your spouse is not going to be able to live up to this. Many couples think watching porn will help spice things up in the bedroom if they do it together, however, may put thoughts of possibly what it is like to be with someone else, or being inadequate for your spouse. These feelings lead to disaster.
“Oh, but I’m not actually cheating on my spouse.” Matthew 5:28 kinda sums it up by saying
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
So you are not cheating on your spouse, but maybe you are now setting the motion of saying that they are not fulfilling enough, and now they feel undesirable and might even turn an eye to someone who starts showing interest in them, and now you have caused yourself an affair. How do you like those apples?
If you are having struggles with porn addiction, it’s not too late to ask for help. Consider me an ally. I’d love to pray for you. Feel free to reach out.
Please check out these resources that can also help you.
Covenant Eyes – Their accountability service are designed to help you overcome pornography by monitoring your screen activity and sending a report to a trusted ally who holds you accountable for your online choices.
XXX Church – Porn addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, but XXX Church can be your resource online for pornography addiction help.
We prevail over sex and porn addiction through awareness, prevention, and recovery.
8. Oh Silent Fight
If you believe that once you are married that you will not fight, then think again. Arguing…better yet disagreeing is a normal thing in any relationship. One harmful thing that I’ve seen and heard is when people bottle up their feelings to avoid a disagreement. We are all created differently and have different feelings so we will have disagreements. How we handle our disagreements is the issue.
I’m an A-type personality so I’m overly eager and sometimes a little aggressive and easily wound up and my wife is a B-type who is pretty chill. I struggle with this problem were I have to be right all the time and she has this problem where she will let me be right when I’m NOT, to avoid conflict and will withdrawal. This is wrong on both ends. We now work together to evaluate both of each other’s feelings, see what either of us can compromise on and most importantly try to resolve the tension. I know with me my marriage is more important than me having to be right, this really helps bring me down a few notches.
Remember that disagreeing is normal but you really need to agree on the resolution for things to work.
9. Sexy Time!
2.5….2.5 times a week is the average amount of times a couple who feels sexually fulfilled has sex a week. I’m not sure what the .5 is but if you are not making time to have sex with your spouse then there is a problem. This is a real issue that tends to lend to the previous 8 listed already. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m a dude, but who doesn’t want to have sex? It’s awesome and God designed us to have a passion. If you and your spouse are not having regular sex, then figure out what the issue is. Talk to your spouse and figure it out. Is it an issue where they may feel tired? Maybe they feel insecure? Maybe it’s you?
Remember that terrible sex is still way better than no sex.
A study that I read a while back by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement in Phoenix, Arizona (nameonline.net) reported that couples that pray together daily seemed to have less than 1% ending up getting a divorce. This was 1 out of 1156. This is pretty rad when it is already around 50% divorce rate for the general population.
When you pray, you open and expose yourself, so when you do this with another person or group of people you are showing them that you trust and love and care to show a pretty vulnerable side of you. One of the greatest things I have come to admire about other dudes is when they open up and pray for their loved ones. I think it shows a lot of charterers.
Not to get super personal, but praying together, right before sex can bring you closer. Remember, that God created sex as part of marriage, so coming together to ask God to bless your sex life and the time with your spouse, and asking for an enjoyable moment is never a bad idea.
I hope that this information is helpful and if you and your spouse are struggling please go to God for help. I promise that it will be the best move you have ever done.
Feel free to leave a comment about any tips or suggestions that you have used for your marriage.