My Best Advice for Your Marriage by AChuckAllen
What an absurd title! My best advice for your marriage assumes that I’ve offered less than my best advice at some point! Seriously, here are six pieces of advice for married couples, in no particular order.
- Marriage is NOT 50/50! Marriage requires 100% of both people. There are only a few days that both spouses are capable of functioning at 100% simultaneously. That means that somebody has to pick up the slack. If your spouse is in the middle of a day that they can only bring 80% to your marriage, you’ve gotta deliver 120%. Therein lies the great challenge for many couples. Friend, listen! You will always and forever need to support and overcome the “marriage deficit” on any given day. That is the essence of love. It is the power of loving. And it is the heart of lovers. The willingness to be there and make up for the shortfall! Go ahead and do more than your part. Be all you must be in times that your sweetheart cannot. The payoff is huge!
- Stop Keeping Score! This is HUGE! If your spouse has an off day, don’t keep a record and determine that you are “due” an off day as well! If they spend some time out with friends, you don’t “deserve” time away for what you want. If they spend beyond the budget, you spending more isn’t helping. Here is the truth about score keeper relationships: YOU BOTH LOSE! Nobody ever wins in the game of score keeping in your marriage. Don’t start and if you already are, STOP NOW! Stand up and be the adult! As Bob Newhart wisely counseled – STOP IT! (Click here if you’ve never seen it)
- Reset Your Expectations! If you have ever assumed that your spouse “should know what they did” to disturb or annoy you – THEY DON’T! More often than not, the couples that find their way to my office for advice suffer from some degree of this truth. They feel, with great conviction that their spouse should somehow know what is going on in their head. This is not a female problem or a male problem, this is a problem. The assumption (regardless of how long you’ve been together) that any other person, including the one you are married to, has the magical ability to know what’s happening between your ears is preposterous! You can fix this by eliminating the emotion and conveying specifically what they have done. That way they can know what to do next…especially if you love them enough to tell them.
- Never Stop Dating! Everyone loves to be pursued! Yes, I know he doesn’t look like he did 30 years ago, but you don’t either! That means you are still perfect for each other! Treat your sweetheart like you still can’t wait to have dinner and a movie together! Always say “I love you.” Never stop going out! Always set a date for a date. The happiest couples are the couples that date regularly! It’s not always about money. Sometimes it’s the fact that you gave creative thought to the evening. Take your lawn chairs, get a Jimmy John’s sandwich and watch the planes land at Gwinnett or Peachtree-Dekalb. Or go to the mall, get an ice cream cone and watch weird people. Somebody is probably there watching you as well!
- Always! And I mean, Always Speak Well of Your Sweetheart in Public. That especially includes your family! Once you’ve painted a negative picture of your spouse, it cannot be erased. If you don’t have something positive to say about them…say nothing! The only exception to this rule is if you are in danger or being bullied and abused. If that’s the case, seek help ASAP! I cannot tell you how many folks have spewed anger and bitterness about their spouse – to the family – and created a wedge of mistrust that remains forever. Be careful about settling your private affairs in a public setting. You might paint yourself into a corner that you cannot crawl out of.
- Tell the Truth – All the Time! I think you get that one without translation or explanation!!
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep, your eyes close.” –from 100 Love Sonnets