TO THE GUY ASKING FOR MARRIAGE ADVICE
Aaron & April Jacob
So, you are getting married in a few months and you want marriage advice, eh?
You are already in a really good place if you are going into marriage with that kind of maturity and desire to know what to do to make it work – and not just work, but actually have your marriage be wonderful and meaningful. Way to go.
Marriage is a beautiful journey. Remember that. It’ s a journey, not some perfect destination you arrive at overnight. It’s the grandest of adventures, the most beautiful experience, and your perfect opportunity to become a better person with the one that you love by your side.
This journey you are signing up for isn’t going to be easy, but it will be full of experiences that will help you grow, and help you two to grow closer together. And it will be wonderful. Although there may be hard days or hard seasons ahead, you are going to love this journey called marriage. It will be the best thing you have ever done.
There are going to be days when you don’t feel like being kind, or selfless, or thoughtful. Or there may be times when you are certain you are absolutely right and your spouse is wrong. Together you may face any of life’s challenges – job loss, infertility, death in the family, health and illness, addiction, etc.
If we could offer you any unconventional marriage advice, perhaps it would be this (this advice is just for you, but it can go both ways in most cases, if your future wife is reading):
1. Every day make the choice to love your wife. Now, the kind of love successful marriages are built on isn’t simply romantic love or limerance, though those emotions can certainly be a part of it. Rather, married love will look a bit different. It will look like service. It will look like thoughtfulness. It will look like selflessness. It will look like kindness. It will look like biting your tongue. It will look like laughter. It will look like a deep kind of joy that only comes when you put the needs of someone else above your own. Loving your wife won’t always be easy, but it will be the most beautiful experience of your life.
2. Be patient. Be patient with yourself, with your wife, and with your marriage. Things won’t be perfect, but they will be perfect for you. Be patient. Life isn’t all about you having everything you want in the way you want it right now, but you already know that. As a wise professor once taught us, “When things don’t go as planned, don’t get frustrated, make the best of it!”
3. Remember that talking is foreplay. So is doing the dishes. And planning a date night. And getting up with the kids. And rubbing her sore back. And telling her she looks beautiful. And saying thank you. And going with her to her appointment. And happily going shopping with her. If you take care of your sweet wife and her needs, there is a good chance she will reciprocate those kind feelings in a way that will be meaningful for both of you, wink wink.
4. Try and understand your wife. Understand how she thinks and feels – and she may feel deeply. Listen to her. Ask her questions. Be willing to open up and share your most inner thoughts and feelings with her. Every day look in her eyes and ask her sincerely, “How are you doing?” Pay attention to her feelings and be gentle and tender with her.
5. Create healthy bedtime rituals – they will benefit both of you.
6. Be intentional about nurturing your marriage. We personally believe that if you are willing to put the work and effort into taking care of the relationship, prioritizing it, and nurturing it, that you won’t have to spend nearly as much time, effort, or money working through conflict and all the not-so-fun stuff.
7. Be fiercely loyal to your wife. In every way. That includes social media usage, internet usage, and your interactions with members of the opposite sex. Please don’t say or do anything with another woman that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing if your wife was watching/reading/listening.
8. Take care of yourself. Take care of your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Carve out a little time each day to nurture you. Keep good friends close by (just not too close) and stay close to your family.
9. When you and wife disagree on something, or hurt each other’s feelings, decide to look inside yourself first and to see what changes you can make. Be the first to apologize. Forgive quickly. If you can let go of little annoyances, and give your wife the benefit of the doubt, you two are going to be just fine.
10. Be affectionate. And we mean, really affectionate. If you aren’t super affectionate, you can learn and improve! For the rest of your life, be committed to holding your wife’s hand, to hugging her for longer than two seconds, to kissing her just because, to putting your arm around her when you sit next to her in public, to stroking her hair, etc. You both need that kind of gentle affection on the daily.
This list is in no way all-inclusive, but there you have it, a few bits of marriage advice because you asked, and we answered.
Simply be committed to keeping the promises you are about to make on your wedding day.
Nurture your marriage one day at a time, and you will end up being that couple – the couple who dances in the kitchen at night, tenderly cares for each other during the sunset seasons of life, and who can honestly say, “My spouse is my greatest treasure in life. I’m so grateful I married him/her. This has been the best experience of my life.”