Marriage is HARD! But it is also awesome! And when God is in the center of our lives, we have everything we need to make marriage, well, merry! Here are some secrets I’ve learned over thirteen years of marriage. 

One: Communicate, communicate, communicate - then communicate again! 

My mother gave me the best advice when I was getting married. She told me never to make my husband guess what I was thinking, what I needed, or what I wanted.  Making men guess, according to her, is not playing fair and won’t result in a happy marriage.  After thirteen years, I think she is right.  My unhappiest times in marriage have been when I expected Phillip to read my mind.  Don’t let your happiness be held hostage by someone else’s ability to guess!  Don’t suffer in silence.  Speak up!   

Two: Be honest but also kind. 

When we are thinking good thoughts and communicating, we are creating an environment where honesty can thrive!  And that is great, but don’t forget to be kind!  Kindness means holding back and saying things in an appropriate time and appropriate frame of mind.  It means being honest about what is important but not picking on everything.  Do you really want someone looking at your life with an magnifying glass? No. So, give your spouse the same space to be human, make mistakes, and grow. 

Three: Don’t overspend.

Financial pressure destroys so many couples.  Choose early to put your financial future ahead of short term fun.  Save.  Budget.  Talk about finances.  You won’t regret it.  

Four: Remember the good times on purpose. 

Don’t wait for your anniversary to reflect on the beautiful moments.  Tell each other sweet stories.  Ask questions.  If your guy isn’t into reminiscing, ask easy questions.  Don’t drill him on the details of  your wedding.  Ask, “What’s one of your favorite times with me?  What do you like doing together?  Where have we been you’d like to go again?”  And quietly, alone, remember the good and beautiful moments.  It’s like insurance for the future.  Those good memories, if you dwell on them, will overwhelm the bad.  

Five: Smile for no reason at all. 

When you are getting frustrated, smile to yourself.  When you are annoyed, smile to yourself.  Have a sense of humor about life!  And ask yourself “How would my 16 year old self have reacted?  What will my 85 year old self think?”  Life’s mundane trials become more manageable, less urgent, and more humorous when viewed through the lens of the end and beginning of adulthood.  

Six: Kiss when you don’t want to. 

Seriously.  Phillip and I were going through a rough patch and I walked into the closet and announced we were kissing for thirty seconds and I set a watch.  At first I was mad and by the end I was laughing and still mad.  That kind of intimacy may seem forced, but it reminded me that he isn’t my enemy.  He is my love and my partner.  Kissing sometimes isn’t a response to emotion.  Sometimes it is a catalyst for emotion.  Mark your territory well.  Kiss when you don’t want to and you will be glad you did. 

Seven: Think good thoughts about your spouse - especially when they aren’t around!

This is the twin to communication.  If you think mean thoughts and have inward conversations with your spouse all day long, don’t be surprised when you guys are together and seem to fight all the time.  Choose to intentionally think good thought, attribute good intentions even to stupid actions, and recall wonderful memories.  That is what I Corinthians 13 is talking about when it says for us to LOVE! 

What are some of your favorite marriage secrets?