10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Needs to Hear

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There’s a blog post that’s recently gone viral, written by a divorced man featuring some really sound advice about marriage (click here to read it).  I really have to applaud this guy.  It takes guts to stand up and be transparent about your failures.  It’s equally as commendable to stand up and say how you’d do things differently.

One thing that his post is lacking, however, is the female perspective.  After reading his post, I wanted to take some time and write down some things that I’ve learned in the last ten years.  You see – I’m now in my third marriage.  When people learn this fact about me, their reaction is usually pretty awkward.  It’s almost as if they’re waiting for me to be embarrassed by my admission. While going through two divorces was some of the most painful times of my life, I’d only feel ashamed if I’d gone through it without being able to say I’ve learned a thing or two.  My husband and I had both been through divorce before we married each other, and with that brings a unique perspective into many do’s and don’ts of how to treat your spouse. Don’t get me wrong – our marriage isn’t perfect, but our failures in past relationships have shaped decisions we make about the way we treat each other, and to be honest, I’m glad I went through it.  We’ve learned better, so now we do better.

And with that, I’d like to offer up my version of his wise marriage tips – from a woman who has triumphed the murky waters of divorce (and if you’re interested, my husband also wrote one from his perspective).

  1. Respect your husband.  – Notice how it doesn’t say “Respect your husband if he has earned it”. A man’s greatest need in this world is to be respected, and the person he desires that respect from the most is his wife.  The trap that we’ve all been ensnared by is that they only deserve our respect when they earn it. Yes, we want our husbands to make decisions that will ultimately garner our respect, but the truth is that your husband is a human being. A human being who makes mistakes. This is the man that YOU have chosen to walk alongside you for the rest of your life, and to lead your family and he needs to be respected for that quality alone. Take it from me – when respect is given even when he doesn’t deserve it, it will motivate him to earn it. That doesn’t mean you pretend that his choices are good ones when they aren’t. Things like that still need to be communicated, but you can flesh out your differences WITH RESPECT. It makes all the difference in the world to him.
  2. Guard your heart.  – The grass is not greener on the other side. Do not believe the lie that with a slimmer figure, a higher salary, a faster car, or a bigger house, you will be a happier woman. The world is full of things and people that will serve as reminders that you don’t have the best of the best, but it’s simply not true. Live the life you’ve been blessed with, and BE THANKFUL. I get that we all have struggles, and there are even times when I would love 1,000 more square feet of house to live in, but square feet is not fulfilling – relationships are. Guard your heart from things and people that will try to convince you that your life or your husband is not good enough.  There will always be bigger, faster, stronger, or shinier – but you’ll never be satisfied with more until you’re fulfilled with what you have now.
  3. God, husband, kids…in that order.  – I know this isn’t a popular philosophy, especially among mothers, but hear me out. It’s no secret that my faith is of utmost importance, so God comes first in my life no matter what. But regardless of your belief system, your husband should come before your kids. Now unless you’re married to someone who is abusive  (in which case, I urge you to seek help beyond what my blog can give you), no man in his right mind would ask you to put your kids aside to serve his every need while neglecting them. That’s not what this means. When you board an airplane, the flight attendants are required to go over emergency preparedness prior to takeoff. When explaining the part about how to operate the oxygen mask, passengers are instructed to first put the mask on themselves before putting it on their small child. Is that because they think you are more important than your kids? Absolutely not. But you cannot effectively help your child if you can’t breathe yourself. The same holds true with marriage and parenting. You cannot effectively parent your children if your marriage is falling apart. Take it from me – I tried. There will also come a time when your kids will leave the house to pursue their dreams as adults. If you have not cultivated a lasting relationship with your spouse, you will have both empty nests and empty hearts.
  4. Forgive.  – No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. If you make forgiveness a habit – for everything from major mistakes to little annoyances (every day, I have to forgive my husband for leaving the wet towel on the bathroom counter ;)) – you will keep resentment from growing.
  5. Over-communicate.  – I used to have a bad habit of not speaking my feelings. I played the standard “You should know why I’m mad” game, and that’s just downright unfair. Men are not wired like women, and they DON’T always know that they’ve been insensitive. I’m still growing in this area, and there are often times when my husband has to pry something out of me, but I’m trying to remember that I need to just communicate how I feel.
  6. Schedule a regular date night.  – This one isn’t new, but it’s very important. Never stop dating your spouse.  Even if you can’t afford dinner and a movie (which we seldom can), spending some regular one-on-one time with your spouse is essential. Don’t talk about bills, or schedules, or the kids. Frankie and I often daydream about our future, or plan our dream vacation. We connect emotionally and often learn something new about each other – even after four years.
  7. Never say the “D Word”.  – If you’re gonna say it, you better mean it. Plain and simple, threatening divorce is not fighting fair. I did this a lot in my previous marriages. I’m not proud of it, but I learned better. I was hurting deeply, and I wanted to hurt back, but it never helped me feel better.
  8. Learn his love language.  – Everyone has a love language. The way you perceive love is often different from the way your spouse perceives love. Does he like words of affirmation, or does he respond better when you give him gifts? Whatever his love language is – learn it and USE IT.  Edited to add: If you are unfamiliar with the principles behind love languages, you can learn more about it here.
  9. Never talk negatively about him.  – I learned this lesson the hard way too. If you’re going through a difficult time in your marriage and you need advice, see a counselor. Family counseling is a great tool, but try to remember that your family members and friends are not the most objective people to give advice. The argument they are hearing is one-sided and they often build up negative feelings toward your spouse, which usually doesn’t subside once you and your husband have gotten past it. Protect his image with those that you’re close with and seek help from those that can actually be objective.  News flash, ladies – your mother cannot be objective!
  10. Choose to love.  – There are times in a marriage that you may wake up and not feel in love anymore. Choose to love anyway. There are times when you may not be attracted to your husband anymore. Choose to love anyway. Marriage is a commitment. In sickness and health, in good times and in bad. Those vows are sacred. They don’t say “if you have bad times”. They say “in good times AND in bad”, implying that there WILL be bad times. It’s inevitable. So choose to love anyway. He’s worth it.

Read 7 Keys to a Happy Wife written by my husband

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1,177 thoughts on “10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Needs to Hear

  1. I don’t trust anyone and I don’t feel any kind live like you speak of . I have lost respect for all men . My dad abondend us and my first husband cheated on me with my sister and left me homeless with our child ….. Etc there is more so I guess I will never be able to apply these rules

    • I completely understand how you could feel that way. And I, too, once felt like I might never trust again. My first husband was abusive, and my second husband was unfaithful and kicked me and my children out of our home. HOWEVER, I also knew that I didn’t want to live a life of bitterness anymore. I didn’t want to let them win by having any more control over my emotions anymore. So I simply gave control to Jesus at that point. Once I surrendered my life to Him and prayed for HIS will to be done in my life (as opposed to my own will—which didn’t work out for me so well before), that’s when I met the man that I’m married to today. God completely redeemed my painful past and gave me a new one of hope and purpose, and it is my prayer that you would allow Him to do the same for you. Blessings, my friend – and thank you so much for trusting me with your pain. You will be in my prayers.

  2. Karen, I really appreciate this post! These are a lot of the things I have been learning on my journey with my fiance and am very excited to marry a man who looks forward with me. We were not always this way, it takes a lot of work and a lot of grace. Finding your groove together can be a challenge but there are some fantastic recommendations here! I would like as well, with your blessing of course, to submit a couple of other books that may help women understand their men, and one that may help men understand their wives. The books to help wives are; Finding the Hero in Your Husband and Wild at Heart. For the gentleman struggling to find himself and groove with his new wife may I recommend Captivating and Wild at Heart? Wild at Heart and Captivating make it a little easier to understand how men and women tick :)

  3. Thank you for this blog. I am a man that has had to deal with my wife putting the children over me and she keeps threatening to walk out, leave and she used the D word to control me. She even used it in front of our neighbor one day. I felt humiliated and hurt. She does not communicate well so it builds up and then “pow”, I get this emotional juggernaut that does not seem to stop. It ends badly with arguing and accusation. I love her very much and will hang tough. I just wish she would read this coming from another woman.

  4. Reblogged this on One Hundred Years and commented:
    Great advise and a very good read, sweetheart we are so young and I know you feel like me sometimes and don’t know what’s the best thing to say or do. But I do one thing I Love you 110% and I am so happy we are married.

  5. this was actually alot better than i thought it would be, good job. . . One super serious question though. Is there EVER a time that lying is ok to either spouse?. . . I understand some women have a hard time accepting the truth even when told in a kind and caring manner… Thanks and make it a great day

    • Not in our marriage. We speak the truth in love, even when it hurts. I’d never condone lying, just to spare feelings – because in the end, it’s going to come out one way or another. Better in a time of love than conflict.

    • I can agree with Karen that it’s a bad idea, and the truth will always come out in the end. I have even had dreams about the truth of situations where my spouse wasn’t being open and honest with me, with specifics such as names. Honesty hurts a lot less. I make a point of being as open and honest as I want my spouse to be.

  6. So you notice that it takes 10 things to make a man happy and only seven for the wife?!? (tongue in cheek there). :) I loved this. I have one comment… the “over communicating.” It’s probably because i was married to the wrong kind of man, but when I “over communicated” by speaking my feelings, I was told I was “complaining.” When I kept my feelings to myself I was “giving him the silent treatment and was being a “b—-.” For me, it was a no-win situation. I think that the husband needs to be receptive in addition to the wife needing to be careful to say it in a way that he will hear. Great post. :)

    • Actually, the original article listed 20 things the man must do, or twice as much as this article. Just sayin… :-). They are both good articles. As for your “communicating” being labelled “complaining”…well, was it? It is so easy in this modern world to become negative. It sucks the life out of us, but sadly, it does the same to the people around us. Be reflective. Its obvious you love your husband and want to have a great marriage. He’s a lucky guy.

      • Yes, you are correct, “Joe”. He did list 20 things. I didn’t want to put any arbitrary things on the list just to keep it cohesive with the first one. Just simply wanted to state what I had learned from my divorce situations. Those are the 10 big things that jumped out at me most, although I’m sure there are more.

  7. Well said… After almost 20 years of marriage, I am on the road to a single life. Hopefully my 2nd time round will be more fulfulling

  8. Karen,
    My “issue” is a little reversed from the norm. One thing my ex-wife said of me in a complimentary way, was that I have a “strong feminine side”. For example, I was the one who would talk and she would simply sit and watch the tv and just reply “uh huh”, “yep”, “ok”…. (as compared to the steriotypical where it’s the man who does that). And there are other things like that which I won’t go into.

    But I have remarried now and she is a beautiful, intelligent, resourceful, talented woman and mother (she has 2 daughters that I love very much and who likewise loves me). The issue is that I have a tendency to be needy times. By needy I am referring mostly to communication issues. I work in an office and she is a stay at home wife and mother. And having had times in my prior marriage where I worked part time, went to school part time, and took care of all the domestic things (laundry, cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids), I understand the rigors of the wife who is in the home rather than the office). So during the day, I really love and miss her and being with her. So I like to text frequently and call from time to time. She on the other hand will go hours and not even look at her phone. And if I happen to catch her when she is near the phone and she answers and I ask “Hey honey, did you see the message I sent?”, she says that I am expecting too much and that she is not going to walk around with the phone in her hand all day. But yet when we are together, she goes nowhere without it and she seems to be frequently sending texts, updating facebook, lookng at emails. I am really unsure how to handle this. I have tried to internally tone down my need to hear from her or back from her, but it just creates a lot of anxiety within me. I will frequently be saying something to her and don’t get any type of verbal acknowledgement that she even hears me unless I say, “honey, did you hear me?”. At that point I am told that she doesn’t have to repond every time I speak to her especially if it is not a specific question (which I frequently will have to repeat those to get an answer as well). In my mind, (skewed that it may be) if someone speaks to me, I should at least look up from my book or whatever and at least make eye contact for a moment so they know I’m not ignoring them or not hearing them. I am the kind of man who enjoys opening doors for ladies, helping with the coat, holding the chair as she’s seated, helping out in the kitchen or whatever (in addition to always trying to stay on top of other things (fix it) that needs to be done in the yard, house, etc.) But being that she has lived as a single mother for several years (and struggled through a lot of it alone), she does have a tendency towards independence. She like having the doors opened for her (and things like that) but whenever I offer to help with something she know how to do (which is most things), she takes offense at it. I explain that I don’t doubt her ability, but I am just trying to be a gentleman, or just trying to be shilvelrous. We’ve been married for less than a year, on the date of our anniversary every month, I’ll bring home flowers, or put up little sticky notes throughout the house, or get 2 or 3 cards saying happy ___ month anniversary. The response I usually get is “thanks”.
    Not that I expect her to be me, but I’m thinking I must be wrong for even expecting some reciprocity, some give and take. Unfortunately, it makes me want to pull in and not offer to help at all, to “just keep my thoughts and opions to myself”, to not “bother” her, to not send any texts or phone during the day… these thoughts are the only way that I can see to keep from feeling disappointed or hurt. It’s like… “ok, if I don’t do anything that generates an expectation on my part, then I won’t be hurt or disappointed due to lack of repsonse or reciprocity. I see a new marriage as a time of growth, of learning each other’s way, of being willing to make some adjustments in how I think, in what I do in order to form a more harmonious relationship. But when I mention that, I’m reminded that “I can’t change who I am”.

    By the way… I understand about having been married more than once (or twice) and agree, that we can continue to learn. And obviously, it’s learning about other as well as ourself and we can’t learn all there is to know all at the same time. Your thoughts are of value and part of what makes it so is your experiences, you can’t talk reasonably about something you’ve just read about unless you’ve also experienced it. Thank you for sharing.

    Just wondering… your thoughts…

    • It sounds to me like you both communicate very differently. I’d highly recommend you read the book “The 5 Love Languages”…TOGETHER. You each receive love differently. If she understood that your desire for affection comes in the form of verbal communication, she may be more eager to show it. That would be my first suggestion.

      Praying for you both!

    • some thoughts (and they may not be cohesive):
      adoration is not the same thing as smothering. which one are you doing? My husband loves me more like Christ does than anyone ever has. I feel adored. But I don’t feel like he is needy, or that he’s smothering me. I enjoy and really encouraged him to have his own interests, etc. I like him to be a strong man, and when he has been “too nice”, it was a little annoying. (early on in our marriage)
      the advice to read the “5 Love Languages” is what I would encourage you to study. In addition, your wife’s first marriage may have had trust issues… or yours. this could be a contributing factor to both, her reaction to your action?
      humbly, I submit to you those thoughts.

    • I’m just curious how you guys are still doing? You sound exactly…I mean EXACTLY like my ex husband and I just wanted to know how your marriage is going?

  9. This might only be a Top 10, and I have only been Married for almost 2 years in September, But I am going to add in that while spending time together is great, You have to do things apart from each other as well. Like making a schedule to spend time together/dating time, You have to make a schedule to spend time alone to re energize yourself, cool off if you have arguments/fights, and just be yourself as that is who your spouse feel in love with to begin with. If all you do is spend all waking morning, noon, and night with your spouse either you or them might start having a nervous breakdown or it could cause a argument/fight. That is why I say like scheduling a date night/spending time together, you have to schedule time apart too.

    When you schedule time apart tho, be sure to at least talk to them once on the phone or online to let them know that you are thinking about them. Only if you are going to spend time with a friend or family member for a Night or 2. If you 2 are at home together, Either the husband or wife go watch tv in a different room or get on the computer or do something different like read a book or play a game or something alone. Because like I mentioned before having some time apart in some form can help you cool off and re energize yourself to prevent breakdowns or even worse things from happening. I am not saying be apart 24/7, Just if you spend 2 or 3 hours together when you wake up together, spend another 2 or 3 doing something you enjoy by yourself as well. Balance things out.

    Give each other a good morning/good night kiss when you wake up/go to bed and make it count and feel like you enjoy it instead of despising when your spouse gives you one.

    Most of all Never and again in capital letters, Never go to bed Mad/Upset at each other over petty/stupid things that you should forgive each other over. Sure there is Forgive on that list, but you should never go to bed mad or upset at each other so if you wanted to re work your list, it would be Never Hold a Grudge Against your Spouse over anything.

    Also if you have kids this is for all of you parents, You included Karen, If you and your Spouse are having a fight/argument over something take it outside away from your children and don’t have said Argument/Fight in front of them, as they could take it as you being mad at them and they could blame themselves for your squabble over something possibly petty and stupid that could easily be resolved. Think back to when you were your children’s age and heard your parents fighting, because like the Lion King Song “It’s the Circle of Life” so take the argument else where to resolve it away from your kids.

    Sorry if I am making this seem like I am posting this on my own website, But I do own a Video Gaming Fan Site and am use to writing long content for it. So agree or disagree all you want, but this has been my own list and will add to it if I even need to do so too.

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