Marriage is tough work. If you have been married any length of time, you will completely understand this statement. One thing I have learned in nearly fifteen years of marriage is this: forgiveness and communication are the lifeblood of your relationship.
My wife and I were married at a ripe age of eighteen years old. I thought I had life by the horns. Little did I know, I had only slapped the bull. The bull had not charged me yet. When life punched me between the eyes the first time, I wasn’t ready.
I packed my bags during the first year of our marriage probably about twelve times. I was a horrible husband. In the first several years of our marriage, I held about seven different jobs. As I said, I sucked as a husband.
After about six years of marriage, I began to settle down. I didn’t settle down because I found my “dream job.” Rather, I settled down because I became a father, and I realized the life of my wife and child were more important than mine.
I survived marriage because of the love my wife showed me. She was forgiving, and I was forgiving. During our marriage, when problems arose, they were mainly because of miscommunication or lack of communication. Once I learned my passion, understood how I was created, and why, life became a little clearer for me.
So how can we have lasting marriages? Many couples live under loads of tremendous debt, constant stress, super busy schedules, and tons of activities for the kids. Here are five ways I have found that have revolutionized my marriage.
I should make this one, numbers one through five. It is truly critical to our relationships. Not only communicating, but how we communicate with our spouse. When we communicate with hate, resentment, or jealousy, we tend to be rather ineffective with our communications.
I love my wife and kids and I want them to know I love them. Words are powerful, however, our actions can positively change our relationships with our spouse and kids if they are done in love.
2. Be Present
You may be asking, “What in the world does this mean?” It means when you are with your spouse, be with your spouse. Put the smartphone and tablets down. Return your emails, messages, and calls later. Look at your spouse as your teammate. You don’t want to neglect your spouse for a temporary business deal.
Be intentional about listening to your spouse when she talks to you. Chances are, she will give you a pop quiz at the end of her lecture (tongue in cheek.) If you do not have an answer she will know you were not listening, and now you have compounding problems. Be present. Listen well. Put her first.
3. Never Stop Dating Her
If you do not have children yet, let me encourage you to live life to the fullest. Don’t get me wrong, having kids is awesome. However, kids or no kids, you should always pursue her. Send her texts. Tell her she is beautiful. Praise her in public. Hold her hand. Hold the door open for her. I could go on, but, you get the drill here.
She wants you to continue to pursue her. She needs you to continue to pursue her. Our wives don’t want to feel like trophies we have won in a contest, only to sit idly by and watch her do life alone. Never. Stop. Dating. Her.
4. Treat Her With Kindness
Have you heard the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” This applies to marriage as well. Be a gentleman to her. Kindness is a rare quality nowadays, especially when we take someone we love for granted.
Show her kindness, respect, and love. When she performs some act of kindness to you, show her your appreciation. Do not take her for granted. Kindness shows you have a concern for her. Trust me when I say, you will not regret showing her kindness.
5. Freely Forgive
I have been on both sides of this issue. We should be free to forgive our spouses as we would want someone to be free to forgive us. Everyone makes mistakes, but we should forgive freely. I have learned this lesson the hard way. I have had to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made.
Everyone always asks me, “What about if your spouse does (Fill in the Blank) or (Fill in the Blank), would you forgive then?” The answer is yes. My religious beliefs control my decision of forgiveness, and I live with a great freedom.
If you are a man and you are reading this, listen up: It is time for us to man up. Don’t allow society, movies, television shows, whatever, tell your wife what makes her beautiful. You are responsible for building her up. You will not meet every need. However, too many are abandoning their families for “Second Chance Lives.” Love the spouse you have, follow the five tips above, and you will thank me later.