Hey readers of The Samantha Life! I wanted to share some tips for a successful marriage with you guys. Because I'm an expert after being married for a little over 2 years, right? Not really, but I have some experience and I can share what I've learned.
So, here goes.
1. Don't stop dating after you get married. Just because you're married now doesn't mean you can stop trying to impress your spouse. Even though you spend a lot of time together now that you are married and you live together, you still need to set aside special time to spend together. Get dressed up and feel pretty. Do things you don't normally do. Spend quality time and conversation together away from the TV. My husband and I try to make sure we go on at least one date per week, and watching TV at home doesn't count.
2. Try to have dinner as a family every night. This is in addition to a weekly date night. We try to have dinner together whenever possible. If my husband comes home after work in time for dinner, but he still has a lot of homework to do, we at least make time for dinner at the table before he gets started.
3. Put away technology as much as possible. When I am spending time with my husband, I try to not even have my phone on me, but it's tough. I know some people have "no technology in the bedroom" rules. I at least don't have it with me at the dinner table.
4. Don't stop flirting after you get married. Both you and your spouse still need to feel loved, wanted, and attractive. Be the type of parents that make your kids sick. Kiss goodbye in the morning, greet each other with a kiss and hug at the end of the day. Send texts in the middle of the day just to say you're thinking about them.
5. Go to bed angry. If you are having an argument, sometimes you need sleep on it and you will be more rational in the morning.
6. When you argue, don't bring up past arguments. Pearson and I attended a weekend marriage seminar when we were engaged and this was one of the big points. The couple presenting this point said that after they have a fight, they flush the argument down the toilet. Literally. They write the problem down on a piece of paper throw it in the toilet and flush. This somewhat ridiculous gesture helps them remember that the issue is over and will not affect future conflicts. You see, when you unnecessarily bring up old arguments, it only fuels the fire and doesn't help anything. Everybody makes mistakes, but we learn from them and move on.
7. Don't try to change your spouse. If you don't like something, try to change your own perspective and your attitude and see where that gets you. You didn't get married to change your spouse, you got married because you love the person he is!
8. Hold hands everywhere you go.
9. Listen to each other. Sometimes your spouse isn't looking for a solution. They just want you to listen and sympathize.
10. Tell each other how you feel. Even if it seems trivial. Your spouse wants (or should want) to know about you. I learned this one from reading The 5 Love Languages. Sharing is as much a part of quality conversation as listening is. If your spouse's primary love language is Quality Time/Conversation like my husband, then their love tank will never be full if you don't share what you are feeling.
11. Never stop "studying" your spouse. Get that PhD in your wife or husband. A lot of people told us this before we got married. It goes along with some things I said earlier. Don't stop paying attention to your spouse after you get married. You do NOT know everything there is to know about them. And besides, people change as they get older so there is always something new to learn.
12. Be intentional about loving your spouse. Once you are out of the "in love" and "infatuation" stage and reality sets it, it might not be so easy to love your spouse on a daily basis. If you choose to love them no matter what, it will eventually become a habit again.
13. Encourage your spouse with your words. This means to speak kindly even if something negative needs to be said. It means to encourage him or her to do things that they want to do (not that you want them to do). And it means making requests of them as an equal, not demands as an authority. This one is hard for me because it is my natural tendency to nag, but there is always a way to get across what needs to be said in a kind way.
14. Don't compare your marriage to other people's marriages. You are two individual and unique people so your marriage is unique as well. What works for other people might not work for you and vice versa. Comparing only brings negative things to light and nothing good can come of it.
15. And last but not least, keep God first. What does this look like? Pray with your spouse. Pray for your spouse. Study the Bible with your spouse. Go to God with conflicts in your marriage. Make church and the Bible a priority. Find other Christian couple friends to fellowship with.