Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Marriage Advice

I recently scrolled upon this postmodern tidbit of marriage advice in my Facebook feed:
Those butterflies you got on the first date shouldn't stop just because the years have passed. Wake up each day and pursue your spouse as if you are still on your first few dates. You will see a drastic change for the better in your relationship.
{Read the full article here.}
Hmm. That's a lovely sentiment. I am definitely in favor of sweet exchanges and I agree that every marriage benefits from some tender loving care.

But let's get real. It takes a lot more than chemistry to build a marriage that will last for the ages. Dates, love notes and sweet surprises are not going to do much good when the baby is throwing up, the money is gone before the bills are paid, and the news from the doctor is grim. 

Frivolous advice like this sends young people the wrong ideas about the challenges of marriage.

So let me throw in my two cents' worth.

But once the knot has been tied, what are the secrets to making a marriage not only survive but thrive through the decades?

Let's be honest. No one knows. If you Google the topic, you'll find suggestions from A to Z.

And I don't claim to have any answers myself. 

But when I look around at the couples in my life whose marriages seems to have stood the test of time, they have things to teach me

^ Meet Steve and Betty, parents of my friend, Jenifer. Together, they've raised three interesting children, doted on a handful of grandchildren, cared for aging parents, and weathered significant financial up and downs - nothing more or less than the challenges that most couples face. But on top of all that, these two have grown a wildly successful human resources firm from scratch, welcomed their daughter and son-in-law into that business, and created an effective family executive leadership team. At the same time, this couple's unusually strong ability to partner is balanced by their independent pursuits, as they give each other plenty of time and space to honor their individual interests.

^ Mak and Abah are the gracious parents-in-law of my primary host in Malaysia. I spent a lot of time with them during my extended visit to their country, and was quite charmed by their fire-and-ice marriage. Mak is chatty, energetic, and full of spunk; Abah is a laid-back, gentle-spirited man of a few well-chosen words. In that balance of extremes, they devote themselves to shepherding four generations of family who gather under their roof on a day-in, day-out basis, and use their contrasting personalities to everyone's best advantage. 

^ Then there's Heidi and Scott. Any parents who raise four children are going to get some grey hairs, but these two have stared down some particularly rambunctious moments from their strong-minded young'uns. And while Mom and Dad definitely have different dispositions and ways of seeing the world, they live by the same clear set of moral values. By articulating their shared sense of right and wrong, these two have offered important guidance with a unified voice and their kids have listened.

* * * * *

None of these couples present a definitive how-to on married life. But, different as each of the three couples may be, all share one important element: they rely on God to keep their marriages on track. 

And that may be the most important marriage advice of all.

* * * * *

My other musings about marriage:


  1. Wow, thank you! So glad I found your blog (read a comment you made at Little Green Notebook). I will come back for some wisdom and wit.
    Homeschooling-Art loving Mom of 4.

    1. Ooh, I am so glad you found me! Given your description - Homeschooling-art loving Mom of 4, we have a LOT in common! Hope you enjoy my little stories. :)


Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!