We (Phillip and Shannon), just celebrated our twenty-first wedding anniversary together. We are also in the middle of raising two teenagers: our sixteen-year-old daughter who is a junior, and our fourteen-year-old son, who is a freshman (the dinosaur in the background is not a family member…just sayin). Wow, how time flies!
While we have definitely had our ups and downs, we have discovered a few things that have become cemented in our minds as some pretty clear do’s and don’ts specific to our marriage relationship. We are not perfect at these by any means, but we have definitely taken some very intentional strides to improve upon them or to be mindful of them. Remember the twenty-one years of marriage we mentioned at the beginning? That means we have had that much time to make a lot of mistakes, or to at least be seriously challenged by the things we are about to share. A few of these may sound old fashioned, but at the end of the day, we will stand by them. Perhaps one or more of these will register with you as well. We invite your input.
If you attended any pre-marriage counseling whatsoever, you likely heard that there are two words that should never be used in a marriage relationship: always and never. Well, today we are going to break that rule and give you ten things you should always or never do in your marriage. Granted, these could probably use further explanation than what we are providing in this short blog. So, if you see one that stirs you a bit and would like us to expand on our thoughts toward it (or maybe bring clarity), mention it in the comments and we will be glad to address it more thoroughly.
Here are ten things (or Ten Commandments) to always or never do in your marriage relationship.
1. Never criticize your spouse’s family to your spouse, even when it is clear that their family is in the wrong on a particular issue. And even if your spouse criticizes their own family, be very careful in your responses. A strong “agreement” with your spouse as they criticize their own kin can backlash on you. Addressing hurtful or frustrating issues in a beneficial way is possible. Want to know more? Just ask in the comments.
2. Always keep sex (including all things sexual) between the two of you.
3. Never thoughtlessly or dishonorably discuss the failures and shortcomings of your spouse behind their back with family, friends, or co-workers.
4. Always reassure your spouse that they are the only opposite sex “besty” you have, or better yet, the only opposite sex close friend that you really need.
5. Always do your best to recognize each other’s need for appropriate time spent with friends and family, or time needed alone to regroup. Encourage it, even!
6. Always keep a no secrets policy, hiding nothing from each other (except maybe their surprise party or gift).
7. Always honor your spouse as the most important, funniest, strongest, most beautiful, most charming (the list could go on) person in your life.
8. Never invalidate your spouse’s feelings.
9. Never expect a character trait to be evident in your spouse that you aren’t willing to exemplify or work on diligently first for yourself.
10. Never use your children as leverage against your spouse in an argument, or argue and fuss in front of the kids.
We could add so many more to the list, but this is where you come in. We would love to hear from you on the always and nevers you would include. Also, which of these struck a chord with you? We would love to hear from you. And one last thing: we are for you! Phillip and Shannon