Late last year I read on Facebook a post from a “friend” that stated that he didn’t want to hear marriage advice from a divorced person. I was stunned. Wow! Since when did being divorce mean that you couldn’t give advice and probably better advice since you’re away from the responsibility of marriage?
But, I realized he wasn’t alone. Many people feel that way. They see divorced people as pariahs with no real value or definitely not advice that could be imparted on those that are married. What could you possibly have to say to me seeing as though your own marriage failed?
Honestly? We can say a lot.
See, I recognized the failure of my marriage. The marriage between two people that should have never gotten married, but believe that love would make everything alright. Love would sustain us. We were delusional. Love is never enough.
I had this awakening of spirit last weekend as I watched my brother marry. It was a beautiful wedding surrounded by beautiful people who loved the couple. The preacher encouraged them to keep God first because love wasn’t enough.
That’s where I find myself today offering these words to encourage/inspire you to take my advice and use it as you please. Moving from a wonderful moment to an epiphany of hope for people who want to marry. Words of wisdom and advice are all I have to offer and I pray that you are encouraged by these five pieces of advice:
5 Pieces of Advice for Your Marriage:
- Keep God First! This is the biggest and most important advice that I can give. I literally sat there in tears when my ex-husband and I talked to the pastor at the end of our marriage. He asked “Where was God in your marriage?” I sat there crying. We left God out. We had literally turned our backs on our faith and chose to do it alone. That is the worst thing you can do. Sometimes all you can do is just pray for your spouse. Get on your knees and cry out “God we need you. Something is going on and we need you to protect our house and our family.” Keep God first.
- Don’t leave. You can’t leave your house and stay out overnight if you are mad. No way. No how. Your marital home is a place of safety. If you leave the home and stay out all night you are literally inviting trouble into your marriage. You have to trust that whatever is happening, that you two will get through it. If you are a man leaving and staying out all night? How are you leading the family if you are leaving them unprotected? Nothing is solved by staying out all night. Stay and fight for your family.
- Keep the established routine. Some couples have a “No going to bed angry” and others have a “We don’t spend more than 3 days away from each other” policy. If your spouse travels a lot how do you keep it fresh? Your marriage? How do you make time for each other? How do you find the time to pour into your marriage what he/she needs. If you have a weekly “anything goes in the bedroom routine” you need to keep it. Everyone likes the established and agreed upon patterns. Keep your routines.
- Don’t say all you can say. This was the best piece of advice that a girlfriend of mine had given to me after I told her that I was divorcing. She said “I’m sorry to hear that. Don’t say all you can say.” I was confused and asked her to clarify. She said “Don’t say all you can say because you can’t take it back no matter what.” She was right. So, fight fair and focus on the issues. No name calling and remember don’t say all you can say. No amount of apologies can repair that damage.
- Do marriage check-ins. You need to do this. Preferably outside of when you’re discussing bill money or tough issues. I suggest quarterly. I suggest that you go into couples therapy quarterly to make sure that all is well with both of you. Make sure you are sharpening your skills to listen and advocate for a deeper and stronger connection with your spouse. If your spouse says that you are not meeting their needs be okay with it. Listen to what their concerns are. Hear what they are telling you and ask follow-up questions. Be willing to take the good with the bad to improve the overall health of your marriage.
There are obviously many more things that I could suggest, but trust me your marriage is a business. You get paid (whether literally, emotionally or spiritually), there may be acquisitions (children or parents moving in) or restructuring (death of a family member) and furloughs (someone could lose their job). How you deal with these issues by building a strong foundation will let you know whether or not your marriage will turn a profit that year or not. Love is only the beginning.