Marriage Advice I'd Give Myself

Ten years ago this month, my husband, Jon, and I stood at the front of our church before family and friends and promised to love, honor, and cherish one another for the rest of our lives. The people in the pictures have definitely changed, both on the outside and inside. The faces don't look quite so youthful anymore and maybe not so idealistic.

If I could go back to that young bride and give her some advice, what would I say? Here are just a few things I hope I’ve learned throughout these ten years . . .

1) Be more patient with my husband. (1 Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:14)
Whether it’s waiting for Jon to pick out just the right screws at Menards, riding in the passenger seat as he searches for the perfect parking spot, or just wanting him to do some task differently (a.k.a. “my way”), I can so easily go down the impatience path. But every time I give in to that temptation, I regret it. I wish I could take back my words and actions. And when I stop to consider why my husband is taking so long to find a parking space, for example, it usually is because he’s being considerate and doesn’t want me to have to walk so far!

2) Listen more. (James 1:19)
Even though I like to consider myself a good listener, it often gets put to the test in my marriage. Instead of being quick to listen to Jon, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, I dance to the opposite beat. I respond quickly to him out of annoyance or anger. If he’s frustrated, I immediately assume it’s with me, and I get mad back at him. When I do this, I usually make the situation even worse. But when I listen, really listen, to Jon and take time to understand what’s going on, not to mention wait before opening up my mouth, we become closer and have a greater intimacy. Plus, I usually gain a better perspective on how God is working in Jon’s life and how I can better pray for him.

3) Be his champion. (Heb. 10:24-25)
We all need encouragement, someone to root us on, to tell us to keep going even when things get tough. So why in marriage is it easy to do just the opposite and become our spouse’s greatest critic? When I’m with women who are indulging in some husband-bashing, instead of going with the flow I try to speak positive words about Jon. And the last few years I’ve made a concerted effort to express my gratitude and praise to Jon, whether it’s for doing things around the house, supporting our family through his job, or even with how he’s responded to a difficult situation. Sometimes he responds with a questioning, “Okay. You’re welcome.” But I’ve observed that when I encourage him, it often gives him increased confidence, particularly in his job. And if he wants to keep helping me vacuum every now and then, who am I to complain?

4) Hang on to your faith in God, and trust Him when life doesn’t turn out exactly like you thought it would. (Ps. 16; Prov. 3:5-6; Hab. 3;17-18)
No husband and wife will have the fairy-tale “happily-ever-after”—there will be all kinds of ups and downs and unexpected twists. Whether you can successfully navigate your path together will depend on what you’ve placed at the center of your relationship—a faith in yourselves or a faith in Christ Jesus. One of the most difficult situations we’ve faced as a couple has been infertility, followed by years of waiting for a child through adoption. This trial was certainly not something I imagined as part of our future. But it has forced us to communicate more deeply, to re-examine where we found our value, to rely more heavily on each other, and ultimately to surrender this area of our lives (not to mention other areas as well) to Christ’s control. We’ve often said we don’t know how we could have gotten through that time if we didn’t know Christ. And even though this trial was not something I would have chosen for us to experience, I’ve been thankful for how the Lord has refined us through the process.

How about you? If you could go back to the day you got married, what advice would you give yourself?

About the Author

Mindy Kroesche

Mindy Kroesche

Mindy Kroesche is a stay-at-home mom who works part-time for Revive Our Hearts on a remote basis. She has degrees in journalism and French and has worked in ministry for over twenty years. Mindy and her husband, Jon, make their … read more …

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