Today, I want to share my advice for a happy marriage. I have to begin, though, by saying that while I am INCREDIBLY happy being married to my best friend, as Christians, there are also other purposes of marriage: (1) to encourage each other to become more like Jesus, and (2) to be a greater witness of God’s love to others than you could on your own. Yes, a huge part of marriage is enjoying life together — and that’s why I’m writing this post of advice for a happy marriage — but it’s important for me to mention that.
Anyways…the biggest thing I’ve learned this year comes down to one word: INTENTIONALITY.
Being intentional in your marriage should begin before you even get married. Early on in our relationship, Hudson and I learned that a lot of arguments are caused by unmet expectations. So one of the best things we did was to sit down and write out everything we expected in marriage.
For example, on my piece of paper, I wrote expectations for myself such as: “I expect myself to be responsible for the cleaning and cooking” AND expectations for Hudson such as “I expect Hudson to help me with the cleaning and cooking.” (gotta love it…)
Once we made our lists, we talked about whether or not our various expectations were realistic, and then we prayed that God would give us strength to meet the other person’s expectations. And then…the hardest (and best) part: we switched lists and chose to not think about our own list anymore, but theirs. We made it our goal to try to meet each other’s expectations.
I learned that by being intentional to be selfless and to focus on meeting Hudson’s wants and needs, I was a LOT happier than when I worried about my own.
This is self-explanatory…but Hudson and I have learned that it is SO important for us to stick to a specific date night! We try to do fun things together every night, but especially now that we both work, we’ve realized how tempting it is to get home from work and just want to crash! But we’ve stuck to our official Thursday date night, and try to be creative. By being intentional to set a date night, we don’t make excuses for being too tired etc, and really have fun together.
Remember in college when you got a syllabus on the first day of each class, hole-punched it, and stuck it in your binder? It’s interesting that most people go through four years of school to prepare for their career, but go through hardly any “training” to prepare for their marriage. So Hudson came up with the awesome idea of, similar to college, making a binder for our marriage. We are constantly adding to it, but in it we have compiled documents such as:
— our bucket list
— our goals for marriage
— our 5- and 10-year life plans
— marriage advice we’ve been given
— things we want to teach our children someday
By being intentional to talk about where we are and where we want to be in life, we have really grown as a couple.
Praying for your marriage, both on your own and with your husband, is so important! And pray not only for your marriage, but also for each other. I’ve learned that when Hudson and I are open with each other about what we need prayer about, and commit our lives to the Lord, everything is just better.
By being intentional to pray for each other and with each other, we have learned that we are nothing on our own, and it’s only because of God that we’re where we are today.
What are ways that you have been intentional in your marriage? I would love to read your advice in the comments below!