If you have been married at least once in your lifetime for more than a few days you already know the truth to this statement…marriage is hard! Finding your soul mate is no guarantee that you will have a life of happiness as you ride off together into the sunset. Every marriage takes hard work to make it work. But we tend to forget that it is the little things that make a marriage great. It is the foundational things that make our marriages strong. It is the little things that make our marriages worth fighting for…it’s the little things.
One of the ways I love to help my marriage grow is to learn from the experiences of other couples. I love to read books from authors who have strong marriages. I love to look at the couples in the Bible (the greatest marriage how-to book on the planet in my opinion) and gain wisdom from their stories. I also like to look a little closer to home with the examples of my parents, grandparents, and friends.
This might sound crazy coming from a woman whose parents divorced when she was 15 years old; but, I truly believe there is something to learn from EVERY marriage and every relationship. Yes, my parent’s marriage ended in divorce. However, during the 19 years they were married they managed to teach me some wonderful truths about marriage. They taught me it was the little things that kept their marriage strong as long as it was.
One of the greatest things my Dad showed me as a young child was how a husband is to honor his wife, especially in front of their children. My dad never disrespected my mother, talked down to her, or said a purposefully unkind word to her. Fights were always done in private and his children were taught to honor and obey their mother. I am so grateful for that!
We get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget it’s the daily little things, like how we treat each other, that make our marriages strong. We forget it’s the fundamental things that matter in our marriages. It’s the little things that build a strong foundation. It’s the little things that carry us through trials and hardships. It’s the little things we do on a daily basis that make our marriages great.
This week while I was unpacking boxes I came across a letter from my grandma written to my parents before their wedding day. Something you may not know about me is that the gift of writing is strong on my momma’s side and I so cherish my Grandma’s and Mother’s letters. In a few short paragraphs she wrote out a list of things that would make their marriage strong. While it was bittersweet for me to read, I couldn’t help but think how wonderful her advice was to them. Let me share with you what she wrote:
The best advice I can give you is make Christ the head of your home. Put Him first in all things and everything else will fall in place. Also, read his Word each day, you need to be spiritually fed in order to grow in the Lord…
Work at maintaining your marriage relationship. A marriage is just like anything else that’s worthwhile. You have to work at it because it can succeed by itself. Set aside time together- this is much more important in marriage than courtship because courtship is always spiced with romance…marriage is not.
Be honest and open- if you’re not being honest about who you are, what you like, what you dislike, and what your desires and needs are, your marriage won’t last very long. Share your innermost feelings- all humans need an outlet for their inner most feelings and sharing these feelings with your mate shows you have confidence in him or her.
Be willing to compromise- when you compromise your own pleasure to please your mate you get the pleasure of knowing you are making them happier. Then what started out as a sacrifice turns into a source of pleasure.
Affirm your mate- When you affirm your mate they will get satisfaction and fulfillment and feel like reciprocating. This will draw the two of you closer. Never throw digs at each other to get a point across; it hurts feelings and leaves scars that never heal.
Seek and respect your mate’s opinion. Asking your mate for advice creates greater intimacy because of the positive feelings it generates. You can gain greater happiness in life by learning how to be more intimate in your marriage.
Little Things Build a Strong Foundation
The woman should have wrote a book! Isn’t her advice to a young couple getting ready to marry almost 33 years ago still relevant for us today? I think it is. Her advice is not earth-shattering or brand new. It’s advice that is solid and based on the little things in life that make a relationship strong. No not all of these little things are easy. However, without them though our relationships suffer. Neglecting just one of these seven areas can cause significant damage to your marriage and halt its growth.
Let’s break this down…
Work-Your marriage cannot succeed by itself. You have to work on it. Time- You need to make time for each other and for romance. Honesty- You have to be willing to be honest, open, and vulnerable. Share- You need to share your feelings and trust the other person to share theirs.
Compromise- Compromise makes your spouse happy and what starts as a sacrifice can turn into a pleasure. Affirm- always treat your mate with kindness. Never be mean on purpose. Seek- asking for your mates opinion and advice creates intimacy and respect in your marriage.
So, we have a choice. We can do the little things that build our marriages and make them strong or we can ignore them. We can choose to work, spend time, remain honest, share, compromise, affirm, and seek or we cannot. If we are wise we will choose to do the work. If we are wise we will choose to do the little things to make our marriages great and create a beautiful life. The choice is yours. What will you choose?
Raychel Chumley, aka “The Wife Coach”, is a wife and mother, a writer, an inspirational speaker, a Life and Marriage Coach, and the creator of This Beautiful Life Coaching Services. She is a woman of incredible faith who has overcome many obstacles in her own life and marriage. Her story, her transparency, and her motivation, inspire many to pursue their dreams in spite of their circumstances. Raychel encourages women, men, and couples to live their lives more physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually healthy. She resides in North Dakota with her amazing husband, Brandon, and their two children, Claire & Eli.