If you are married, how long have you been married? And what axioms might you share with us?

I am a widow/widower
0% (0 votes)
I am divorced and now single
2% (1 vote)
I am single and never married
4% (2 votes)
I have been married less than 5 years
7% (4 votes)
I have been married between 6 and 20 years
38% (21 votes)
I have been married between 21 and 35 years
38% (21 votes)
I have been married between 36 and 50 years
13% (7 votes)
I have been married more than 50 years
0% (0 votes)
I will soon be getting married
0% (0 votes)
Other
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 56
9974 reads

There are 41 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Obviously there is nothing like Biblical advice. But sometimes there are some secular truisms that really make a point. Here are a few of mine:

Most men are afraid of looking bad in front of their wives and wives are oblivious of that fear.

The biggest problem in marriage is deceitful heart syndrome -- our mind rearranges reality so that we are always the less guilty party.

"If you don't want to argue, don't get married" from the Honeymooners, advice given by Ed Norton (Art Carney).

What are some of your favorites?

"The Midrash Detective"

Dick Dayton's picture

When we were married, the pastor spent 45 minutes in Ephesians 5, and that was it. I invest 5 sessions over 6 months with a couple. We focus on Biblical communication, Biblical roles, forgiveness, finances, spiritual growth.
A big help to our marriage were the things I learned as I studied to counsel others. I was raised in an unsaved, but loving and stable home. My dad always treated Mom with dignity, respect, and honor. I am thankful for his example, and have coupled that wtih the Biblical expectations God puts upon me. I believe I am to be a servant leader in the home, and should be my wife's ultimate cheerleader and supporter. We are best friends, and our hearts go out to couples who do not seem to really enjoy being together. We are "in it together," and have seen times of heartache, loss, and leanness, but we have chosen to be partners. We enjoy working, serving, and just being together. Learn to develop some common interests you can do together, but don't expect your partner to do everything you do. My wife has no interest in being in the garage running the saw when I am woodworking, and I have no interest in learning to be a scrapbooker, but we can appreciate and support one another in those endeavors.
Of course, the spiritual unity and partnership must be of the highest priority. The "not unequally yoked" can also apply to believers. If one person feels called to vocational ministry, and the other feels called to a secular career as a faithful and fruitful church member, this would not be a good match. My wife and I were in the same church after I was saved, and she sensed that I was called to ministry before I did. She entered ministry with her eyes wide open, having been raised in a church, and I amd deeply grateful for her partnership in ministry.

Dick Dayton

Dick Dayton's picture

Ed,

After I finished the previous comment, the Lord drew my mind to James 1. "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. Because the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God." (My memory of the verse) I am a talker, and have had to learn to be a better listener to my wife. The phrase "helper comparable" in Genesis 2 indicates a person who "corresponded" to Adam, not a cute little servant who would bake him cookies. Without my wife's support and partnership, I never could serve God.

Dick Dayton

L Strickler's picture

Advice for women -

Before marriage - make sure you respect him, make sure he respects you, make sure he is loving, make sure he is fun. You do have to submit to his leadership if you want to be right with the Lord.

During marriage - talk less, pray more (easier to say than do). Lean upon the Lord as you attempt to do him good and not evil.

L Strickler

Joe Griffin's picture

Since you asked, here are a couple:

"Choose your battles very carefully, most often it isn't worth it, and you won't remember what you won tomorrow."

"If you think there are winners and losers in marital arguments, you are the loser every time."

Jim's picture

If your wife asks about the turkey at Thanksgiving

Don't say ... "it's kind of dry"

I learned from experience on this ... trust me!

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong admit it;
Whenever you're right shut up.
(I think that one is Ogden Nash)

There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye-to-eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends. (not sure- maybe Homer)

Don’t try to send your spouse a message by having fake conversations with your kids.

Husbands should never refer to caring for their own children as 'babysitting'.

When your wife says, "I want you to be honest with me" she's lying.

Don't attempt to force your spouse to have an affectionate relationship with your parents and relatives. They married you. If they form a good relationship- great. If they don't, they don't.

Your marriage is not over if you have to sleep apart because one of you is sick, or restless, or snores/talks in their sleep. A rested spouse is a happy spouse.

Dick Dayton's picture

When there are times of conflict, see yourselves as team members working to solve a problem rather than as combattants seeking to win the fight. Winning is not worth it. Solving a problem is.

Words are like bricks : We can throw them at each other, we can build a wall separating us from one another, or we can build a path connecting ourselves to one another. Be a pathbuilder.

Dick Dayton

Ed Vasicek's picture

If your wife asks you if she looks like she has put on weight, remember, you are too young to die. Pray that you get a charlie horse to hit you or some other diversion.

"The Midrash Detective"

RMSprung's picture

Though unsaved on Nov 14, 1970, my wife and I were married in a Catholic church (I was the Catholic). We attended what was called "Pre-Cana" Conferences for 6 weeks before the big day. The only thing either of us remember from those personal visits was ONE WORD -- TOGETHER!!

Whatever you do, do it together. It has been so much a part of our ups and downs that without it we would have surely failed. Saved only a few years later, we continued to follow the priest's word of wisdom. However, when my wife was completing her degree in English Education, she studied the great English poet, John Milton and his epic poem -- Paradise Lost. One of the main issues was Adam and Eve and the fall. Milton's imagination targeted why Eve took the bait from the serpent for she was not TOGETHER with Adam. And when confronted by the Almighty, Adam ultimately sinned for he (according to Milton) loved the woman more than God. It is called uxorious.

Bob

ChrisS's picture

The minister at my grandparents' anniversary celebration (70 years, they made it to 75 years until my grandfather died at 99) told this story:

"When I asked Walter what his secret to longevity was, he told me it was very simple. 'When my wife and I got married, we decided that whenever we would have an argument, one of us would step away from it, or take a walk outside, until things calmed down. Well, I attribute my long life and good health to the fact that I have spent most of my married life outdoors!'"

It was very much anecdotal because, in honesty, both sets of my grandparents made it past 75 years of marriage (75 and 76, respectively), and I realized soon after I got married what a great example they were to me, without ever really trying to be. They grew up in simpler times, and besides the Lord, they had each other, in small houses, with few possessions, and their priorities very much in order. I can honestly not remember seeing them show each other anything other than respect and love, even during disagreements; in his late 90s, my grandfather still always helped my grandmother into a vehicle or down some stairs, helped her with her coat first, and treated her with the utmost love a husband could, from my view.

One of my grandfather's brothers was married 70 years before he passed, and I remember him coming though our receiving line at our wedding, he shook my hand strongly, and reminded me clearly of the (at that time) more than 125 years of marriage between his and his brother's marriages. He meant that this was a life-long endeavor, and worth every moment. In so many words, he said, "It's up to you, but you can do this well if you will try." 18 years later, still trying hard, and very much blessed with a Godly wife.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
Ed Vasicek wrote:
If your wife asks you if she looks like she has put on weight, remember, you are too young to die. Pray that you get a charlie horse to hit you or some other diversion.

Made me think of this Geico commercial where Mary Todd asks Abe, "Does this dress make my backside look big?"

http://youtu.be/RPX2cQP8uoI[/quote]

Missed the commercial, but saw something similar in the comics. Family standing around a grave. On the tombstone are the deceaseds final words, which were foolishly tweeted for all to see.

"I think her backside makes the pants look big."

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Rev Karl's picture

1. Pick the right wife: the one God wants your to marry, not the one you have chosen.

2. Let it go. Life got so much easier when, about 15 years ago, our disagreements stopped when they stopped. They did not continue on into the afternoon, the evening, the next day.

3. It's all about your spouse. I recently conducted a wedding for a couple locally. They asked what was the most important advice I could give them. "It's all about your spouse: it's NOT about you." As I have observed failing marriages (new marriages, long term marriages, young couples, middle age couples), I have noticed that they most often fail when one spouse decides it's all about him/her, and what he/she wants. Christ loves us, and gave Himself - willingly - for us. Despite our rebellion and wandering, He still loves us and forgives us unconditionally. We (His bride - the church) love Him, and dedicate ourselves to serving him. He gave all of Himself for us, and we give our all for Him. It's all about our spouse.

Jim's picture

It's about the marriage not the wedding.

Today young people seem determined to spend thousands on "the wedding"

Our wedding (picture earlier in this thread) was a bargain basement type of wedding.

  • Kathee bought her dress for $ 100. (Per http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm this website $ 460 in today's dollars)
  • We had a simple cake ... in the picture above
  • Food at the reception: besides the cake: mints, nuts and punch
  • No band, no music at all at the reception
  • Music at the wedding was the church organist (whom we paid)
  • Church flowers: We got married just after Christmas and used whatever flowers were in the church
  • Honeymoon. One night fancy at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Cesar ]Don CeSar
    . Every other night at a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Days_Inn ]Day's Inn . We lived in Florida and drove around to see sights in Florida. Typical honeymoon breakfast was an Egg McMuffin (which had just been introducted), juice and coffee
  • My wife's diamond wasn't much more than a little "chip". I guess it was 1/4 carat. 25 years later (after it developed a flaw or whatever flaw it had devoped into a serious flaw) ... I bought her a more expensive diamond for our anniversary.

We did not think for a moment to expect money from my wife's parents for the wedding. No one took out a loan or became indebted for the wedding.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Rev Karl wrote:
I have noticed that they most often fail when one spouse decides it's all about him/her, and what he/she wants.

Jim Peet wrote:
It's about the marriage not the wedding.

I notice that when young people talk about marriage, the girls are talking about the wedding, and the boys are talking about they want in a wife. I've never heard young people talking about what they are doing to become the kind of person that the person they want to marry would want to marry.

It is disturbing when guys who couldn't care less about their education and have no skills (beyond Playstation or Xbox) talking about how they want to marry a good cook, housekeeper, and someone who is good with kids. The fact that they themselves couldn't change the oil in a car or hang a picture on a wall doesn't deter them in the lest. And even more worrisome is that good character and fruits of the Spirit aren't anywhere near the top of the priority list.

I would also say that one should not worry about differences of personality or taste in a marriage. There aren't two people on earth more different than my dh and I, but as a result we always have so many things to talk about, and so much fun looking at life through each other's eyes (even when we don't understand the other's pov) it isn't about always agreeing or 'being right', but enjoying each other's company and learning from one another's experiences and insights.

Rev Karl's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
It's about the marriage not the wedding.

And how many couples - especially brides - have I heard say "I wish we had just eloped!!!"

It's supposed to be the bride's day, but it winds up being about what mom wants, or grandma, or the groom's family, or...

Attended a wedding this year where the bride was in heartbroken tears. Nearly all of her dreams for her wedding (not extravagant dreams, just *her* dreams) had been over-ridden by "Oh, no, dear. You don't want to do that. What you REALLY want is.... and don't worry about the money. Your Dad and I will pay for it all..."

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Since I paid for my own wedding out of money I had in my savings, any time someone had a critique or suggestions, I told them I'd do anything they wanted as long they paid for it. Oddly, there were no takers. He maketh the decisions who writeth the checks.~ Irish Proverb

Anne Sokol's picture

from my mom: "Unity is more important than winning the battle."

I would probably make up some advice about valuing becoming an adult, not that this is related only to married people, but since having kids, I have to choose to be the adult in the relationship, and I need to be comfortable with that and value this most-often glamourless, funless, but fulfilling need.

We had a dirt cheap wedding, fwiw. I borrowed my dress, we had mints from Sam's, etc., used Christmas decor, our two musicians played for free, and we did studio pics for the record's sake--my mom always says photos are the only thing worth the money.

I would actually like to re-do my vows sometime, when it's less stressful. An international marriage was stressful at that point in my life, with the American side of things, not my family, but with some other people. Oh, and the vows are the point of the ceremony, so print and frame them or something.

Wink

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Susan R wrote:

I would also say that one should not worry about differences of personality or taste in a marriage. There aren't two people on earth more different than my dh and I, but as a result we always have so many things to talk about, and so much fun looking at life through each other's eyes (even when we don't understand the other's pov) it isn't about always agreeing or 'being right', but enjoying each other's company and learning from one another's experiences and insights.

I think this is very good advice. My wife and I are also *very* different, not to mention also being an international marriage. One of the best pieces of advice we received was "If you are too much alike, one of you is irrelevant." We've been reminded of that many times over the years!

Dave Barnhart

Dick Dayton's picture

On the "Wedding or Eloping" I noted that the bride's mother was heavily influential in that case. As a pastor, i devote at least one session to the wedding ceremony and preparations, in addition to talking about it in the other sessions. I emphatically share that the wedding is primarily the bride's time, and my wife and I (I involve her in this part of the counseling) make sure we ask the bride what she wants. When we come to the rehersal, i mention that we have thought this through with the couple, and have come up with our format. I have a full order of service for the rehersal, and basically ignore all suggestions.
I feel very strongly about the need to protect the couple in this time.

We also tell them, "Something may not work exactly according to plan, but, at the end of the day, you will be married."

I see far too many couples focusing upon the ceremony, the event, and not the marriage.

Dick Dayton

Jim's picture

On the Bride's time!

It's interesting that in the NT model for marriage (our Lord being the Bridegroom!), the Groom is the center of attention. It's about the Groom.

Maybe there would be less " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridezilla ]Bridezillas " if this were remembered!

Can you imagine if the Pastor said at the rehearsal ... it's all about the Groom!

Kevin Subra's picture

I don't disagree that the marriage is more important than a wedding. I really think that should go without saying. I also agree with Jim Peet that the focus in the NT model is more on the groom, as he is gaining his bride. However, the bride's identity & purpose is largely realized at marriage, and that is what the bride therefore looks toward. It is the beginning of oneness for the groom and the bride for the rest of their lives, and a big deal to God.

I wrote 2 brief articles answering the question, "Why Have a Wedding Ceremony?" when this came up "close to home" for me this year:

Part 1: http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com/2011/07/why-have-wedding-ceremony-pa...
Part 2: http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com/2011/08/bible-and-wedding-ceremonies...

Is there one right way to "do" wedding ceremonies? No. Can there be problems? Yes. Do people waste money and burn bridges at times? Yes. But I do believe there is much gained by having a good wedding ceremony (one focused first on the One Who established marriage).

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Jay's picture

My wedding was also low key and relatively inexpensive, since I was straight out of grad school and didn't have a job. Fortunately, my then fiancee had built up enough savings that we could do one that was nice.

My first advice to couples these days is "don't go nuts". Save the money for a home, for retirement, for grad school (or your kids' college might need to be added to that list, now that I think about it...) - anything other than the one night event. The wedding industry is notorious for overcharging and double overcharging, so don't even play that game. The couple is the center of attention, so keep it on the couple and not on providing the world's biggest and best block party for all your guests. Don't feel the need to invite everyone you've ever crossed paths with. Find a dress you like and use that, but you really don't need a 10K dress, veil, shoes, and the rest.

That may seem a little callous, but it never ceases to amaze me how quickly a wedding can turn into a three ring circus, and I shake my head everytime I hear stories of people (not Christians) maxing out their cards or taking out loans for a wedding.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Rob H's picture

15 years this Christmas Eve. I've learned far more of what not to do than what to do. Two verses come to mind that speak to my experience.

Quote:
On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
- is not a fundamental mindset to maintain in your relationship to The Spouse. Two reasons:

  1. Sometimes we have to be firm about our convictions and the temptation to overcompensate conflict with sweetness and light can set us up for worse later on.
  2. And sometimes we tend to be more interested in heaping burning coals via our "good deeds" because we perceive The Spouse as Our Enemy. I've fallen for both of these repeatedly.

    Quote:
    Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,
    - should be a fundamental mindset to maintain in your relationship to The Spouse. 3 Points:

    1. Don't actively pursue or require hugely dynamic lifestyles in attempts to "devote the family to Christ" or whatever religious theme sounds awesome. The call to such a heavy burden shouldn't be sought - just try to live as Paul says.
    2. MYOB- sometimes in Keeping Track of the Joneses and their religious or anti-religious activities the temptation to draw The Spouse into the equation is a temptation. Our "Christian Agenda" may well not be of value to The Spouse and may even be detrimental to a good marriage in general.
    3. Work with your hands - Do the things that hands were made for: fix and clean and maintain the framework of life together. Things like the house and the car and food and touching are built in - don't find "other more important things to do" when you could be sprucing up the environment.

      Edited to fix numbered lists -Aaron

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Good post, Bro. Rob. It brought to mind the idea of a spouse speaking unkind or critical words and using the excuse "I'm just being honest". If what you want to say is not helpful, kind, or beneficial in some way, we should ask ourselves if it really is necessary to vocalize it. After all, what we think of as 'being honest' is not always the truth. Our deceitful hearts often want to blame the other person for our weaknesses and follies. We should always focus that microscope of honesty on ourselves first. Then perhaps we will be in the position to be a real blessing to our spouse.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
On the Bride's time!

It's interesting that in the NT model for marriage (our Lord being the Bridegroom!), the Groom is the center of attention. It's about the Groom.

Maybe there would be less " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridezilla ]Bridezillas " if this were remembered!

Can you imagine if the Pastor said at the rehearsal ... it's all about the Groom!

If it were all about the groom, Jim, they would typically elope!

"The Midrash Detective"

Rob H's picture

Susan R wrote:
We should always focus that microscope of honesty on ourselves first.

Thanks, Susan R.

I've noticed that it's kind of like a magnifying glass, actually. God's light on my sin burns. A lot. I wrote more about it at LAH.

Ann B.'s picture

(or wish I could say I have learned):

--You can’t say “Thank you” often enough.

--Never, ever, cut your husband down. Don’t even joke in a cutting way. Make it your mission to make sure your words always build him up, not tear him down.

--Accept his style of conveying “I love you” and “I am sorry.” It might not be with words.

--Your husband needs to hear “I appreciate you” and “I admire you” more often than he needs to hear “I love you.”

--Take your spiritual questions to your husband, not to your colleagues, your friends, or other people. Allow him to provide spiritual guidance and insight for your questions.

--Accept that your husband, no matter how wonderful, is never going to be able to meet all your needs and desires. He IS going to disappoint you sometimes, just like you are going to disappoint him. Learn from marriage the Christian truth that only Christ is going to meet the deepest needs of your heart.

Rob Fall's picture

1. Budget your luxuries first. If MacDonalds is your luxury, then budget for it. The same if it's All Beef Ballpark Franks. (And yes, there have been times when a pack of premium hot dogs has been a luxury.)

2. Don't be proud. If Herself is better at numbers than you are to the point she can handle the checkbook better than you, fine let her do so. I'm a humanities major, my wife is an engineer. Guess who is better at numbers. More below.

3. Herself is your executive officer\first officer. You are the captain of this endeavor. While God will hold you ultimately responsible, matters can be properly delegated to your XO. Further, it's a poor captain that doesn't seek and value his XO's advice (not that he always implements it.)

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Robb C's picture

After about four years of marriage we moved and eventually placed membership at a church in town. One of the elders came up and was talking trying to get to know me and he gave me this advice. He said "Never bad mouth or make fun of your wife around other guys." and "Always vigorously defend your wife against your childrens disrespect shown toward her." My relationship with my wife and children are much better off for it.

I would also say remember the gospel. When your spouse sins against you, remember what Jesus did to forgive your sin.

I will say that I have been married 14+ years and I still feel like I don't know what's going on at times. But it has been great.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. ~ Eph. 5:15-17

Ed Vasicek's picture

Robb C wrote:
After about four years of marriage we moved and eventually placed membership at a church in town. One of the elders came up and was talking trying to get to know me and he gave me this advice. He said "Never bad mouth or make fun of your wife around other guys." and "Always vigorously defend your wife against your childrens disrespect shown toward her." My relationship with my wife and children are much better off for it.

I would also say remember the gospel. When your spouse sins against you, remember what Jesus did to forgive your sin.

I will say that I have been married 14+ years and I still feel like I don't know what's going on at times. But it has been great.

Some good advice indeed!

"The Midrash Detective"

jlamarcrowder's picture

I've been married a year and a half to a wonderful woman and have adopted a little boy in the process who I fell in love with at the same time. My wife was a widow in her mid 20's and I was never married in my late 20's. The key thing for us was we waited an entire year before getting married and spent that year in Church together putting God first. My wife joined my Church soon after we started dating and in fact joined the sunday school class I was teaching. So we started out reading the Bible and praying together. We also spent time listening to my Pastor and his wife rather than our relatives (both of us come from parents that have had several marriages) and our families were negative about marriage. So I think it helped to talk to people that were happily married and let them mentor us. My son was my son from day one since he never knew his biological father and my wife had not dated anyone in his lifetime besides me that was a blessing. She was also mature being a single mother supporting herself and our son. I was also for several years paying my own bills holding a full time job in the same place for several years. This mean't we both were coming from a more stable place. I have several friends my age or younger that have already been divorced my best friend has been married only two months and is now seeking an attorney after his wife left him. He and other friends rushed into marriages with people they didn't know and weren't of the same Christian mind. I'm not saying my marriage is perfect but I do think something can be said to starting out with God as the center for both the husband and the wife. Just my two cents.

Ed Vasicek's picture

jlamarcrowder wrote:
I'm not saying my marriage is perfect but I do think something can be said to starting out with God as the center for both the husband and the wife. Just my two cents.

Good advice for all! Thanks for sharing.

"The Midrash Detective"

Antun's picture

My wife and I were in the same church after I was saved, and she sensed that I was called to ministry before I did. She entered ministry with her eyes wide open, having been raised in a church,

Pastork's picture

It's been covered pretty well thus far, but I might add a couple of thoughts to the many good su.ggestions thus far. For example, my wife and I banned sarcasm from our relationship before we got married. It is simply too easy to be cruel when sarcasm is employed in such a close relationship where so much is known about one another. Although we may -- and fairly often do -- employ sarcasm when talking about such things as politics or the latest heresy, we simply do not use it one each other.

We also do our very best to obey Paul's admonition not to let the sun go down on any anger we might feel (Eph. 4:26), although I am happy to say we are rarely angry at one another.

I just remember something humorous that I once heard an older pastor say, "My wife and I never go to bed angry; we just stay up and fight all night!" (Somehow I don't think that is what Paul had in mind!)

Ed Vasicek's picture

Banning sarcasm is great!  Thanks for sharing.

"The Midrash Detective"