HOW WE KEEP OUR MARRIAGE STRONG
By Becky Mansfield
My husband and I work hard to continue to keep our marriage strong after kids because marriage is important! .
Today, my husband and I celebrate our 11th year of marriage. We started dating when I was 13 years old and he was 14.
I can say, with 100% truthfulness, that Mickey (also a blogger) is my very best friend. I tell him just about everything and we love to be together. We work together, raise our kids together, take care of the house together… if I’m there, he is there. It just works. Well – and it doesn’t hurt that he writes posts like this one. ♥ haha!
(we were married at the church where we met)
Things haven’t changed too much from that day, as far as Mickey and I go… (Well, we are a lot older and have a whole lot more responsibility, but our love has remained.)
Now we just have four amazing children to love…
We love to be together and we really try to ENJOY being together- laughing, joking, smiling and having fun. We are each other’s best friend and we think that being friends is a huge part of a strong marriage.
Here are our favorite 10 best tips for a strong marriage:
1- KEEP JOY IN YOUR LIFE and try not to sweat the little things.
I (Becky) and always remind Mickey that if we worry about the little things, the big things will not be FUN anymore. Ok… Ok… I’ll admit that we are late to church at times, but my thought process is this: If we are running around telling the kids to “Hurry Up!” or “We are going to be late!” and we arrive at church frazzled and stressed – was it really worth it? I just remind him “So we are going to be two minutes late today, but our four kids are happy and they are walking into church, ready to absorb everything with a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts… isn’t THAT what matters?” Try not to sweat the small things in life.
2- Try to keep up with your chores.
This is silly, I know, but again… it matters. I feel like when our house is neat and taken care of I am less stressed and it makes life better overall (it’s actually proven that this happens!). I have the kids help me and I just try to stay on top of chores, laundry and cleaning the house because I don’t want to have to feel the stress that clutter brings. (Clutter brings real emotional stress.)
3- Read the book “The Five Love Languages“
This is the best book that we have ever read. We re-read it every year because it is important. I give it to all of my engaged friends and will save our copy for our kids to read one day. It is just a helpful book that tells you the best way to talk to your spouse, to let it really sink in that you love them. Grab it here.
4- Put the kids to bed early.
I put our kids to bed at 7:00 because they need the sleep, but also because we need that time to connect as a couple. We will often feed the kids earlier (we all sit together at the table while they eat) but then we will eat take-out and play a game or watch a movie when they are asleep. We didn’t start putting them to bed just to have time with one another, but we did it because they are children and they need the rest. However, this bonus perk has been wonderful for our relationship.
5- Spend time as a whole family.
Again, I know that it is a cliche that “those that pray together (or play together) stay together” but I just think there is so much truth behind it. You are spending your time together, trusting that someone else is caring about you right at that moment, as much as you are caring for them.
When our son, Beau, was born with an unsteady start, we started to pray together. I can remember falling to my knees, in my kitchen, wearing my favorite gray sweater, and saying “Ok- God. I am giving this to you. I can’t do anything more. Please just help him.” That night I walked into Beau’s room and saw Mickey with his hand on our baby boy’s head, praying for him. That night changed the way that I saw my husband.♥
6- Learn together
You can study parenting, a new project or scripture together… to take up a new hobby, but do it together. Don’t make it more “work” than it needs to. Follow the acronym K.I.S.S (as Becky says… Keep It Simple, Silly). Do not make it something that is another burden in your life. For Becky & I, we like to read a small passage and then just talk about it. You will find that you will talk in a more deep and passionate conversation. It is just another way to connect.
7- Hug your wife in front of your kids.
It will show your wife that you love her and it shows your kids that their parents love one another (and that they should do the same when they are married).
8-Never go to bed angry.
This is one that most people and couples have a hard time to grasp. It is human nature to want to be mad, no matter how right you may think that you are. Becky and I have a sign posted above our bed that says “Always Kiss Me Goodnight.” She will remind me if I forget.
My thought is simple on this: I never want to leave this world with unfinished business, or something else needed to be said. You just never know.
9- Help out around the house.
On the weekends, I try to get up with the kids (even if it is just 15 minutes before Becky) to get their breakfast ready. I usually make blender pancakes on the weekends and if I forget, the kids will ask me for them. It is just as simple way to show Becky that I care about her – that 15 minutes says a lot more than you would think.
10- Don’t forget to say “I Love you” and “appreciate you!”
It doesn’t matter if she works or stays home with the kids- you need to tell her that you appreciate her. I know that doing housework or homework with the kids can become mundane, so an “I love you” out of the blue or a “Thanks for dinner tonight” in the middle of the week will go a long way. (Again- if you read The Five Love Languages, you’ll understand the reasoning behind it.)
The one thing that we BOTH agree on:
NEVER EVER KEPT SCORE.
It will only put pressure on your marriage and you will look more at the “what” than the “who”
Don’t compare who does more, who did what the most, or who does what better.
Comparison will not help your marriage, but it will most certainly hurt it.
We always follow these marriage rules (print them here for free).