Another post from the surprisingly insightful editors at Huffington Post. Huff may not be your cup of team when it comes to politics, but they run some great articles on the subject of marriage. Even with the secular bent, there are useful tips here.
- 50/50 expectations inevitably lead to keeping score. We have argued here that a 60/40 balance, where each spouse is willing to give 60% in exchange for 40% (and an equity position in the marriage) reduces score-keeping which, in turn, reduces arguments over who is carrying the load and who is slacking. If your spouse is slacking big time–usually the husband, in my opinion–you need to address it, but in a friendly, non-confrontational manner.
- Courtship cannot end when she says, “I do.” Even in this age of liberated women (most of whom seem to be in their 40’s and older) husbands are well-advised to go the extra mile to keep the home fires burning, as it were. Planning and executing rejuvenating date nights is harder than it was pre-kids, but you need to do it anyway. And wives, please don’t forget that your husbands still relish the thought of being seduced by you every now and again. Just sayin’.
- Digging in when it gets hard. Marriage is pretty easy when things are going well, but when life throws us a curve or, worse yet, a beanball, couples need to lean into one another with resolve to weather the storm. This compares to a previous essay describing the attitude of millennials toward marriage, in which it seems preferable to be able to just wash one’s hands and walk away into a new relationship.
- Being here now–proximity does not equal presence. If the two of you spend your time at a romantic little restaurant on your phones, you’re missing out. Establishing boundaries, such as turning off your phone when you get home from work, will enhance the intimacy in your relationship. The job stuff will always be there tomorrow; the same cannot be said of your spouse.
- My wife Nancy facilitates Bible study and recently drew a comparison between attendees who consume Bible study versus those who create it. Applying the same contrast to marriage, if we are to manage a successful long term relationship we must do more than simply consume the benefits. We must create, through curiosity, conversation, comfort and consideration, an environment in which both spouses enjoy the pleasures of an intimate relationship with one another. Guys, here’s a news flash–being happily married is not simply her job.
- As Christians, we are called to forgive one another, even our enemies and those who wish us harm. Forgiving one another, graciously and completely, is an important element of marriage. If we are to forgive sworn enemies, are we not to forgive our best friend, our closest confidant, our lover and life partner? Some marriages, in which cheating, lying, addictions and violence are routine, may exist outside the boundaries of forgiveness, in need of dissolution/annulment. But in the majority of marriages, we should emulate God, be slow to anger and quick to forgive.