10 Tips for Strong Marriages

I am excited to have a guest post today at a web site dedicated to newlyweds and couples in the midst of wedding planning. I’m excited that the blog offers not only great wedding information, but marriage advice as well. After all, it’s not about one day of happiness, right? I’d love to see a trend of couples spending as much time on developing their relationship as on planning the big day.

So check out my post: 10 Tips to Help You Build a Strong Marriage. You can find it below or scroll down at shejustgotmarried.com. Consider sending it to an engaged or newly married couple you know. The ideas offer life lessons that speak to the heart of marriage, commitment and love. The web site also offers some green solutions to buy/sell gently used wedding merchandise, because how many times do you plan to use that crystal tiara anyway? Leave a comment, share your best advice to these newlyweds and wish them a lifetime of happiness! Here’s the post:

10 Tips for Strong Marriages

The dreams or memories of your big wedding day are new and bright. When you close your eyes, you can smell the roses, feel the silk and taffeta, and see the flash of the camera. But all the work of planning and investing in a successful wedding day is far less important than planning your lifelong marriage.

I’ve spent the last two years studying research about marriage and interviewing couples who have experienced some incredible highs and some devastating lows in marriage—and came out on top. I’ll share with you 10 tips to help you protect and build a strong marriage.

1. In today’s fast-paced, two-career families, traditional roles may not apply in your home. However, it’s important to continue to value your masculinity and femininity. He needs to be respected and treated as your hero; she needs to be romanced and to feel loved. Understanding the Five Love Languages can help you convey love in a way your partner can truly appreciate.

2. Spend less money than you earn. Save for emergencies. Debt will eat away at your marriage. Enough said.

3. Believe in each other. Lift each other up. Be on your spouse’s side. Encourage their dreams. Be the one your spouse can’t wait to come home to. Create a vision for your relationship for five, ten, fifteen years down the road.

4. Give your spouse five positive comments for every one negative. This 5:1 ratio has been proven in successful relationships. Frequent nagging or bickering will tear down your relationship and will probably cause him to withdraw. If you can’t find something nice to say about your spouse, he or she will probably start listening to others who offer praise or attention.

5. In our culture, individualism and freedom are paramount, but when you chose marriage you chose a different route—a route of companionship and caring, of sacrifice and loving. There will be days when you feel you are giving more than you are getting. That’s OK. On that same day, your spouse may feel like he is giving more than he is getting. Keep giving. Keep loving. That’s agape love. By focusing on your own happiness, you miss out on the chance for deeper love and deeper joy.

In his book, Take Back Your Marriage, William J. Doherty, PhD, one of the nation’s most prominent pro-marriage counselors, describes today’s “consumer marriage” in which spouses are constantly focused on “what’s in it for me” as the root cause of most marital failures. He explains how this mentality can eventually cause you to work yourselves into a divorce, even when the issue isn’t a deal-breaker.

6. Learn to better listen to one another.

7. Don’t let your arguments get out of hand. Create boundaries for fighting fair.

8. Make time for sex. I know that seems odd to say to newlyweds who are madly in love, but there will be times when passion does not rule the day. Pregnancies, careers, exhaustion, illness, job loss, hormonal issues, children—these can stand in the way of lovemaking. Sharing the intimacy of sex protects the marriage in many ways and communicates love. Happier couples have more sex.

9. Be careful with social media to ensure temptation doesn’t divide your relationship.

10. Remember your promise. Life will not be perfect with your spouse. Every relationship has strengths and weaknesses, and some problems will never be fully resolved. Focus on the positive and not the negative. Have fun. Laugh. Celebrate even small successes. Surround yourself with great influences and good role models.

Sign up at www.LifeGems4Marriage.com to receive biweekly tips to enhance your relationship. Lori Lowe has been happily married to her real-life hero for 14 years. They live in Indianapolis with their two children, a crazy cat and two aquatic frogs.

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