This is a letter from a Father to a son who was getting married. I have never met them, but found these as good practical reminders from someone successfully marriage 40+years and counting. ... and yes, they work both ways! What would you add to the list?
Talk! Talk! Talk about everything with your wife and respect each other’s opinion, and use each other’s areas of expertise. Together you will be an unbeatable team!
Standard Don’t ever complain about your wife to your friends about little or big things. It gives others the wrong impression about your marriage and relationship.
Money! Agree on how to spend it. Make a budget together so you are in total agreement about where your priorities are. Decide how much to spend without discussion.
Complaining! A little goes a long way. Don’t fall into the trap of making complaining a major topic of conversation. Don’t go to work somewhere for eight hours a day then spend the first hour together complaining about it. Be a positive person! Change what needs changing. Fix what you can fix. Understand the realities of a situation then comment on it, learn to live with it, or take yourself out of the situation. Complaining is counter-productive.
If something bothers you about your wife, discuss it with her, that is, only if it is something you can’t live with. Remember, you did not marry her to change her. You fell in love with her the way she is.
Date Have a real date at least once every other week – I mean something alone. People get too wrapped up in their groups and don’t make the time for each other. In most group activities, you really are not getting much time together.
Romance Keep the romance in your marriage! One minor part of that is giving each other a little privacy, for example, bathroom privacy. How romantic is it for your wife to see you go to the bathroom.
Kids will change everything. Get to know each other well first. One major change in your life at a time is enough, although not always possible. Kids will be fun, but much work. You really have to be a team with the kids. Give each other a break for a few minutes each day. You will have to devote yourselves to your kids, but don’t forget your date! You start out just the two of you, and you will end up again that way. Keep your personal relationship alive and well while you go through the other parts of your life.
Embarass Don’t embarrass her in front of friends or family. This could be an embarrassing story that you could choose not to tell, or choosing to discreetly help her avoid a potentially embarrassing situation even though it could seem funny on one level. Make the distinction between funny and embarrassing — it is an important one.
Thinking of You Always be the person, do the things and say the things, that she can be proud of when she thinks of you.
Trust Always be the one person she can trust in any situation and never do anything to shake that trust.
Secrets Don’t keep secrets! Don’t let someone tell you something that you can’t tell your wife! Tell them, “Of course you don’t mean my wife.”
You two will be as one against the world!
A few I would add...
- Set the example and standard of developing intimacy with God
- Learn to say "I'm sorry" / "I was wrong" to your spouse and kids