He brushed past me, arms loaded with the overflowing trash bag, muttering, “Nice of you to empty the trash today. Did you save all this for me?”
I rolled my eyes, to his back, of course. “Seriously? I’ve emptied the trash twice today, thank you very much!”
Ten years later, we laugh at this, but taking out the trash was one of our first arguments as a married couple. When Hubs requested permission to marry me, I distinctly remember my father warning him that I was raised differently than Hubs, who viewed marriage as “his roles and her roles.” Laundry was her role; taking out the trash was his. Cooking was her role; mowing the grass was his.
There were no gender specific roles in my family growing up and we all learned to pitch in together, so my dad was wise to warn Hubs of our different backgrounds. I felt no shame reminding Hubs of this when he wondered why I didn’t take the trash out. That was his role, remember?
We both entered marriage, blissfully unaware of the daily challenges we would encounter. No one warned us of the stupid things we would disagree about. No one offered suggestions on how to move past these disagreements. We watched as countless friends, who married the same time we did, ended up divorced.
Why was this happening over and over again? Why were young couples not staying together? Why were people encouraging them to split and go their own ways without counseling them through their problems?
I’ve asked six women who have each been married over 35 years to share with us the secrets for a successful marriage:
These women have experienced everything from mountaintops and the rewards of a lasting relationship to valleys and the pain accompanying it. They’ve succeeded in their marriage and are happily sharing their tips with us. Here are the top 10 tips for a successful marriage:
- Make eye contact when talking or listening to him. Remember those sappy romance novels you read as a teen, where the woman gazed deeply into his eyes while he spoke? Yeah, do that for your husband because it makes him feel important and you’ll be effectively showing how much you love him. It’s the little things.
- Hold hands. You’ve seen those older couples walking through the cobblestone streets downtown, clutching each other’s hands, acting as if no one else is around? They’ve learned one of the secrets to a successful marriage –keep it physical! Men need that physical touch, even if it’s something as simple as holding hands while you’re walking down the street or watching television; hold hands.
- Date night. Whether you have ten children or two, date nights need to be a priority at least once a month. If you’re kids are grown and gone, make it a weekly affair to date each other. Don’t fall into the rut of married life or family life, but consider date nights an investment in your future and your family.
- Be friends. This means like each other and share interests together. You’re on the same team so stop fighting over the things that don’t matter. Remember all the reasons why you married him, find a neutral activity to enjoy together as well as learning to like what he likes and have fun with your spouse!
- Let him lead. It’s hard for your spouse to be a leader if you refuse to let him lead. He was created to be the head of the home, so let him make decisions and trust God that things will work out fine.
- Communication. Talk to each other, help each other, share your fears and concerns with each other. Make sure you’re on the same page as your spouse and if you’re not, spend quality time together side-by-side to reconnect. When raising a family, both parents must be on the same page concerning discipline matters. Never argue in front of your children. When disagreements arise, as all marriages have them, talk to one another, and it is very important to work it out before you retire for the night.
- Respect. Always let him know he can do anything he sets his mind to. Never belittle your spouse in public, especially in front of your children. If you don’t respect him, they won’t either. Treat him as you want to be treated in all areas, even in conversation, when you’re around others.
- Trust. Don’t hide things from one another, especially what’s bothering you, but share your burdens and concerns. Allow your spouse access to your private email or social media and vice versa, proving your trust.
- Encourage. Be an encourager to your husband, lifting him up when he feels down. He is the best friend you have, so build him up with your words.
- Be unified in Christ. “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” The most important thing in a marriage is to always have God in the center of your lives. Unity in Christ will give you the strength to withstand any storm.
Quotes to Remember:
“Remember, if the wife wants to be treated like a queen, she must treat her spouse as a king.” –Sue Battreal
“Let your kids know you think their Daddy can do anything.” –Jeffie Bennett
“It’s a funny thing, you’ve been married long enough to know this marriage goes in cycles, some are great and some you just work through.” –Linda Wages
“I thank God for my soulmate/husband and I look forward to growing old together. It has been hard work but the reward of a Godly marriage is worth it.” –Deb Carpenter
“Always make your husband #1, making him feel like the most important person in the world.” –Beverly Carregal
“Life has not always been easy, and that’s when our love for each other and for Jesus Christ grew. We work very well together as a team and have realized we shouldn’t try to do things alone.” –Susie Jones
What wonderful, practical advice from these women who have experienced it all in their marriages. Thank you, ladies, for taking the time to share these helpful tips with us! I hope you all take their advice to heart and have your own successful marriage!
We have an awesome Valentine’s gift set from Antoinette’s Bath house for one winner this week! It’s perfect for him and her –handcrafted soap and bath bombs for her and manly whipped soap for him. It’s easy to enter the giveaway, just follow these two simple rules:
- Subscribe to The Farm Wyfe blog by entering your email below.
- Comment below, letting us know you subscribed and tell us why you deserve this awesome bath gift set!
*Failure to comply with both rules will result in disqualification. A random winner will be selected on Friday, February 12, 2016 and will be notified by email.