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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1,151 thoughts on “10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Needs to Hear

  1. I am so grateful to read about people who find healing and success, when failure and pain were the major pieces to their relationships. Hurting and failing relationships can be healed. In addition to “The 5 Love Languages”, I would also recommend “Personality Plus” as a great book for coming to understand your spouse, self and kids even better.

  2. Karen very nice blog and could not resist to reply. I don’t think I ever replied to a blog.

    No.1 – Respect your husband.
    It comes to how have someone been raised as a child, in what environment, or at least 90% of it (IMHO).
    Then, how you NOT to apply all the negativeness into your marriage/life.
    Then, how could you “reprogram-your-brain” yourself, with or without someones help.
    But firstly, you have to admit it first that you have a problem.

    If your fathermother relationship was/is not good, there you go. You are set for a life.
    All you have to do is admit it and try to change it. All up to you.

    No.2 – Guard your heart
    I like this quote of yours “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.”
    But most mums do EVERYTHING for kids. They collect all material stuff for kids. Money, house, cars….

    No.3 – God, husband, kids…in that order.
    This one is very hard to implement into marriage. When daughters are though by their super-mums, that kids are first, then their family, not husband. Then house, money, etc, etc and somewhere at the bottom… husband.
    Again, it goes to how have you been raised.

    No.4 – Forgive.
    Naaah. Some peoples EGO is so big, its not even possible to climb up on top of it.
    Instead, they will remind you over and over and over all your mistakes yo have done….
    It keeps them happy.

    No.5 Over-communicate
    If you been raised not to communicate, you will have to learn it first. And that’s bloody hard for some.

    No.6 – Schedule a regular date night.
    This one is joke. For any mum, who doesn’t follow or knows about rule No.3

    No.7 – Never say the “D Word”
    Been said many many times, and its in the final stage. Application lodged.

    No.8 – Learn his love language.
    No, some/most female should learn to love them-self first, they should be happy who they are, how they look and built on it.
    Be confident with them-self.
    And take compliments with smile not an anger.

    No.9 – Never talk negatively about him.
    That’s what mother-in-law is here for.
    Wife should take a stand and decide on who’s side is she on. Husband or mum.

    No. 10
    “Marriage is a commitment. In sickness and health, in good times and in bad. Those vows are sacred.”

    Your husband said “She (you) is plugged in to Jesus!”
    Its your 3rd marriage !!

    I wonder, how many times you said this to yourself in past 2 commitments?
    Not enough times?

    If I may ask you, What were the 2 reasons you have split in your previous commitments?

    ……

    People who should read those TIPS are busy with other important things in life (kids, kids, kids, house, money kids…).
    So I don’t expect my wife to read this.
    Thanks for the blog.

    • My first husband is a drug addict and my second husband woke up one day, decided he didn’t want to be married, and promptly found someone to replace me. I tried to stick around and believe that they could change, but the sad fact is that they just didn’t want to.

  3. My third husband his third wife. we have been through a lot. he says he wishes we had got to gather sooner. but i say we would not be the same people. we had to go through all this to be who we are now. respect, say i am sorry, its the little things, stand by him even when you know he is screwing up. i said stand by him, I didnt say keep your mouth shut lol. I have lost count on how many times i have fallen in love with him all over again.

    • GREAT point, Connie. Standing by your man does NOT mean you have to keep your mouth shut. Thanks for sharing this – it’s encouraging for others to hear that may be walking through similar situations. And I agree with you – as the song says, “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”

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  5. I’ve also been through two divorces and I find myself always feeling incredibly embarassed of it. I have a child from each husband and a child from when I was a teenager and people certainly enjoy making me feel ashamed of it. Lately I’ve been taking strides to not feel so bad about it. I made bad choices in my past but that doesn’t mean people are allowed to judge my future relationships on it. The main questions I get are : you aren’t getting married again are you? And: you’re done having kids right?
    The answer to those questions is always I don’t know but what does it matter if I do or dont?

    • Gosh – Bridget, I can so relate to this. It’s still a struggle for me to admit that I have three kids from three different people. But I got to a place where I realized that I REFUSE to let anyone make me ashamed of my children (or how they came into the world). The way I see it, God used a pretty horrible situation (in my case, two horrible marriages to two very selfish men) to bless me with a reason to continue to fight in this life. When Frankie and I chose to have a baby together, we got some pretty nasty comments. I know that I KNOW that God will continue to use our story as a picture of His redemption, though. That even when life turns upside down, there is HOPE. Our kids are always a picture of hope. Be blessed!!!

        • Well, the first husband was an abusive drug addict who refused to give up his drugs and get help. The second husband cheated on me and kicked me and the kids out of the house we were living in.

          • Thanks for reply.

            Karen, I do understand, that you left the first drug addict. So we can say its 100% his fault.
            The 2nd husband cheated on you, would that be 100% his fault too?
            Or what would you do differently?
            Also, you don’t look old, so I would wander how long the marriages lasted for? how long till the break?

            Thanks

          • Well, it was a lot easier for me to forgive my second husband. He was much younger than me (I’m 36) and probably wasn’t ready for marriage to begin with. But we had a child together and I really wanted my babies to have a whole, complete family. So we tried. I think it was a lot of pressure for him and he dealt with it the only way he knew how. Was it right? Absolutely not. I forgave him and really wanted to work through it, but he just didn’t want to be married anymore. So – I let him go. I can’t say that I’d do anything differently, other than not marrying him in the first place. Not because I didn’t love him, but because it really wasn’t God’s plan for either of us, and I could have spared myself the heartache had I just been more in tune to what God wanted for my life.

        • Karen, I have posted some comments here in the past and I hope you will forgive me today for posting a substantial response to Matt’s request to define “very selfish”. To define where I’m coming from for everyone, I met my high school sweetheart before my 16th birthday and married her six years later after we waited for her to graduate with a bachelor’s in nursing. We were then married for 35 years before I divorced her. A second marriage just recently ended in an uncontested annulment. After 3 1/2 years the lady decided she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. Both women have strong personalities, and both women withheld crucial information regarding how they felt about physical intimacy until after they were married.
          I have learned in life experience that sometimes the best way to understand a concept is to look at its opposite. I believe it to be well documented that no relationship can survive either spouse’s love language going consistently unmet. For example, if a woman’s love language is regular communication of depth spirit to spirit, and she is married to a man who’s style of living is like an emotional clamshell, this relationship is doomed to failure. Without going into theological detail, this man’s number one responsibility is to go through whatever is necessary to learn to meet his wife’s needs. Not by prying open the clamshell regularly, but by learning to enjoy sharing emotional life with his wife. For this man this will be difficult. But for this man this becomes part of the definition of loving his wife as Christ loved the church.
          The typical man’s love languages are PHYSICAL INTIMACY with his wife, a big gulf, and whatever else idiosyncratically comes next. Not all men, but the vast majority. It is simply how they are wired and must be understood as to be God’s design. There is on television currently a frequently running ad for AT&T cellular service. It depicts a realty company signing up for group service. The realty company is headed by a white woman with her “right-hand man” being another white woman. Rounding out the staff in a politically correct way there is a black woman, what appears to be an east Indian or Latina woman, and off to the side a single male. He is white, mousy, and embarrassingly and ridiculously inept. One need only take a good look at this commercial and one can easily understand America’s feminized view of the male gender. Why would anyone want to make this mind numbed idiot head of a household? And why would anyone want to make this person’s emotional needs a priority? He is such an ignoramus he probably isn’t capable of knowing what’s best for himself. The woman as the superior gender must take the responsibility for making this important judgment herself. Some reading this may dismiss out of hand such a simplistic and general observation. I spent 17 years as an elder in a solid evangelical church and taught young married Sunday school classes. I have lived it. It manifests itself with different details, but it is the truth.
          So, how do we define “very selfish”. The opposite of selfish is a flexible and generous spirit. One that gives the to letter of the law, and then a measure more for the lavishing’s sake. It is that extra measure in a marriage relationship that makes a man feel like a king. That makes him think his wife is so special that he would virtually defend to the death someone or something trying to take his mate. This concept of generously giving is so foreign to our feminized culture, and to the subculture of the evangelical church in the USA which is thoroughly feminized as well, it is virtually unheard of. And the vast majority of women looking at such a woman, rather than think of her as exemplary would think her a doormat.
          Recently in a men’s group I have been attending where most of the men are divorced, the subject arose and I shared my position. Most of the men in general thought I was off balance. I asked a friend and member of the group to just give me a quick overall summary of his view of how marriage is supposed to work. Off the top of his head he gave a pretty good synopsis of the role of a husband and wife from Ephesians 5. I told the group this is an excellent example in the church of exactly what I am talking about. It puts a huge amount of unilateral responsibility on the husband but speaks very little of meeting his need for physical intimacy. The touchstone passage on the subject in the New Testament is found in first Corinthians chapter 7. That the typical churchgoer completely leaves this passage out and does not address the issue as of primary importance speaks volumes of what is currently being taught (or not) in the feminized evangelical church.
          It is my personal opinion that for all the talk within the church of the main reasons of failure of marriages as being communication, finances, etc., that the most typical unspoken but real reason is that the relationship breaks down because the man’s needs are not being met unselfishly. This causes him to feel less than an equal. The woman’s needs are on a pedestal, while his are earthy and marginalized. It has become so institutionalized in the church that the majority of really “male” men have deserted the church as hypocritical. And in the general culture, it is why marriage as an institution is failing among the younger male generation. They have figured out that the equality of the “deal” is a lie. Again, think of what I am saying the next time you see that AT&T commercial on television. It is further my belief that if I could magically transform the church in a day so that as a gender married women lived in a generous fashion so as to cause their husbands to believe that their men were the most important things in their lives after God, it would fundamentally transform the evangelical church. Instead of the caricature of the weak kneed man in the AT&T commercial, churches would be led by men who felt like men, and who believe the church made a real difference because it was the truth. And men in our culture would come to the church because the divorce rate was so much lower than the general population it would be glaringly obvious the church had something that the general culture did not.
          I will be surprised if my post is not generate comments about how one-sided I am. I personally believe the problem to be so monolithic so as to need considerable one-sidedness just to get to a balanced position. Sorry to write a small book Karen. It takes this much to get it said well. My very best wishes.

          • I completely agree with your sentiment, Karl. During Father’s Day, in particular, I feel bombarded with Hallmark propaganda that men are perfectly satisfied embodying the slumps and slobs that are depicted on those cards. Wanting to merely sit in their La-Z-Boys with a beer in hand, while staring at the TV like a zombie. It’s a sad thing that society has demoralized men in such a way.

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  7. If I was going to give marital advice I would list everything you just said! In my encounters with people I talk about respecting one another and I always encourage finding your loved ones love language! Thank you for sharing your insight!

  8. I love that the divorced guy and the woman married three times are giving advice on how to have a successful marriage. The irony is amazing. Let’s hear from the couple that’s been married 20,30,40+ Years and have seen hard times and made it through. Wait that couple isn’t on a soap box preaching, their busy living their own lives.

    • No one’s preaching here, Mike. And no one is making you read. This is an account of the mistakes that I’ve made and how I learned from them. If you’re a parent, you can certainly attest that an effective way to teach your children right from wrong is having experienced both and giving your qualified opinion in how you learned your lesson. I know how to NOT have a successful marriage, because I’ve been there.

      • Knowing what not to do is not the same knowing what to do. If you know that I don’t like anchovies on my pizza, you cannot claim to know what I do like on my pizza. All Mike (and I) are trying to say is that your advice may be well intended and even full of witty hindsight, but it comes across as a proclamation that it is valuable merely because you have managed–the hard way–to eliminate a few wrong ways off your list. By that rationale, because I’ve never been divorced (or married) then I am more credible than you are simply because I have less negative experience. In fact, you may have had more credibility in this article if you had been genuine and open enough to share only what you did wrong–indeed the only truly expert point of view that you have in this area–so that we readers can decide for ourselves what to do. It feels like this article really serves to soothe your insecurity about marriage failures.
        I’m not saying that you’re a bad person, and I’m not trying to insult you. And I even reiterate that your advice is well intended. But you have no way of knowing that, for example, God should come first since you are only speaking from experience of failure instead of knowing from experience that putting God first has actually led to success. In fact, it is just as likely that not bringing your personal relationship with God into your marriage may actually be the best thing you can do. But no one’s preaching, right?
        Reverse-engineering a failure is not the same as creating a success. As you said, “[You] know how to NOT have a successful marriage, because [you've] been there.” By your own admission, that proves that you don’t know how to have a successful marriage because you haven’t been THERE. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t drive my car into a bridge or light it on fire, but that knowledge doesn’t make me a safe driver. Would you get in the car with me or would you take ANY other option that seems safer? That’s all Mike and I are saying.

        • Jacob was a cheater; Peter had a temper; David had an affair; Noah got drunk; Jonah ran from God; Paul was a murderer; Gideon was insecure; Miriam was a gossiper; Martha was a worrier; Thomas was a doubter; Sara was impatient; Elijah was moody; Moses stuttered; Zaccheus was short; Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead.

          God doesn’t call the qualified – he qualifies the called.

          For you to say that I have no value to the conversation of what makes a healthy marriage, simply because I failed at keeping my first two together, is just not true. Now, if you’re not getting anything out of the discussion – that’s another matter entirely. I don’t claim to be the only authority on the matter, but my opinion DOES have value. There are hundreds of other blogs and articles on the internet for you to read until your heart’s content if this is not your cup of tea.

    • Hey Mike, I spent 41 years with the same woman, 17 years on the church elder board, and fathered 2 college grad kids, one with a Master’s. When you get past that, let me know. And try writing at other than three in the morning so we all know it’s not just insomnia.

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