No, I don’t mean go up in flames? What does it take to really make your marriage last, happily, over the long haul? I mean that’s what we vowed to do right? Till death to us part? For better or worse? In sickness and in health?
Some of these are tough and life is a roller coaster. As a mom and wife of three little kids, sometimes my marriage is on the back burner, smoldering like an angry flame. Not exactly sizzling like when I was a newlywed!
Yet like anything you really want to succeed at, it takes lots of hard work. And it doesn’t feel like work when you are having fun! So let’s have some fun!
I am re-reading a book about marriage called HIS NEEDS, HER NEEDS. Willard Harley, Jr. helps readers learn his Laws of Marriage. Throughout the book he describes his laws and chapter by chapter discusses what He and She needs to build an affair-proof marriage. So let’s visit the laws.
1. When it comes to sex and affection, you can’t have one without the other. His need: sex. Her need: affection. These are the first two things that He and She can’t live without. Focus on fulfillment of these and many of the other laws will come more easily!
2. Meet your spouses needs as you want your needs to be met. This seems so simple right? Yet what is the first thing I do when I don’t feel like I am getting what I need from my husband? Start building up my wall of protection. Or crawling into my shell. Stick your neck out there and give your spouse what they need. Most times you will have your needs met in return.
3. Caring partners converse in a caring way. The best advice here is to give your spouse your undivided attention. Listen, stay interested and stay positive. Sometimes I spend my day being frustrated and who gets the brunt of my anger when I can’t take it anymore? My spouse. This is such a destructive behavior!
Set aside time to sit and talk to each other. And keep it fresh. Talking about finances or dirty diapers isn’t what I have in mind here! This is a time when a good book can really get the conversation going. A good marriage book like Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman…to read together really stimulates positive and productive conversation.
4. The couple that plays together stays together. OK boys, we need you to talk to us. Ladies, you need to be his recreational play mate. You know full well your man has never totally grown up! He needs you to play with him. Maybe it’s going for a run or watching a football game together. Playing tennis or going to a gun show. Spend time enjoying what he likes to do. It’s one key to a successful relationship.
5. When it comes to money. Less might be more. Here Harely points out that most women do want a man who they feel can financially support them. However, He encourages couples to sit down together and look out their financial budget. Often times, families live outside their means. Often times, you can live on less and happier (and less stressed).
6. The best husband is a good father. Need to brush up on your skills? Maybe. Parenting is very hard and many of us take the life-long project too lightly. It can be difficult to mount a unified front. Take a parenting class or read parenting books together. Sticking together on parental issues reduces stress and will allow you to continue loving each other! If you are constantly in disagreement about discipline and other tough parenting decisions, your marriage is in serious trouble!
HIS NEEDS, HER NEEDS is filled with solid advice. Even if you feel you have a good marriage, reading a marriage book together is a great way to stay connected and spark meaningful conversation in your marriage.
And for those ladies who are participating in the Marriage Challenge, remember…KISS your husbands this week. Consider buying him a book to read together for Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget…
BEHIND EVERY MAN SHOULD BE AN ADMIRING WIFE.