What Makes a Good Marriage? (Week 1)

I like to stockpile old People magazines under my living room coffee table and flip through them when I have an extra ten minutes to kill before nap time ends. Through some mix up that I cannot even begin to explain, a new issue arrives in the mail every single Friday even though I’ve never paid them a dime. Anyway, I can never get through the whole thing in a week so they tend to accumulate in that basket under the table.

That explains how last week I found myself sitting on the couch reading an article from an October issue about Mandy Moore.

“Mandy Moore Opens Up About Moving on After a Painful Divorce: ‘I Feel So Much Lighter'”

“My story deviated in a different direction than I expected,” Moore tells PEOPLE exclusively of her 2015 split. “But ultimately, life is about being happy and fulfilled and sometimes that means making hard choices.”

These are the role models People magazine puts forth for us young marrieds. If your marriage isn’t making you happy, get out. Do what’s best for YOU.

What terrible advice! No wonder so many people get divorced – look at the examples being set forth.

To combat all the unhelpful and often times negative input about marriage, I’ve started making a point to ask people I know who have been married a long time how they’ve done it. What makes a good marriage? How do you avoid divorce? Until recently I was just making mental notes of the advice they gave, but a few weeks ago I got a little bold and asked them to actually write it down for me.

For the next couple weeks, I am going to post what one of them has written each Friday. Hopefully you find it as encouraging and uplifting as I do!

***

Today we’re hearing from Mrs. Chris Vickers. Chris has a B.A. in Psychology,  is Wife to Tim, Mom to Luke (27) & John (24); MOPS Mentor; Sunday School Teacher; Moms in Prayer Leader and former Babywise Mom. She blogs occasionally at Christine Janine. I met her through MOPs two years ago and she has been encouraging me ever since!

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Chris and her husband Tim

Thoughts On Marriage

By Chris Vickers

Marriage is a wonderful thing, right? Then why is it so hard at times? I have been married for 32 years to a man I refer to as my “Best Friend.” We met at a Christian group in college and quickly became close friends. Two years later we were married. We’ve been through a lot together during these three decades: We’ve experienced the death of parents, moved cross country and back again, bought and sold a few houses, birthed & raised two sons, seen each other through surgeries, traveled to exotic places and lived side-by-side through the ebb and flow of life. Although we have a great marriage, we’ve had our share of arguments, disagreements and frustrations (like the argument tonight over visiting extended family after Christmas). We’ve had some seasons that were pretty awful and some seasons that were pure bliss. Over the years, I’ve made a few observations and developed some strategies that have helped me in my marriage. I hope they will help you as well.

1)  Men are different than women. Duh, right?! They are not like the men in some romance novels! I read some Danielle Steel romance novels when I was in my 20’s and then expected my new husband to act like the guys in the novels. When he didn’t, I had a negative attitude towards him. So—I stopped reading those novels. Instead, I read books about men so I could understand my husband better. Some of my favorites are The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger; Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn.

2)  Our husbands cannot read our minds. You could be cooking dinner with a toddler on your hip while talking on the phone to your sister when the doorbell rings. Your husband doesn’t know if you want him to: a) Answer the door, or b) Take the toddler from you so you can answer the door. He can’t read your mind or even guess what you want him to do. He needs you to be very specific about what you need and say it out loud: “Could you please answer the door?” I have learned through the years that my husband is SO happy to help me if I’m specific about my needs. I’ve also applied this to other areas of need, like asking him to hold me when I’m crying and upset (which was so strange for me, but actually helped).

3)  Focus on the positive.  The other day I caught myself feeling frustrated at my husband for something he had done and thinking “Pet Peeve #101: Leaving the clothes hanger out for me to put away again!” I was unconsciously mentally keeping score of things he was doing that annoyed me! Once I realized what I was doing, I forced myself to think about good things my husband does, like cook dinner every Sunday night to give me a break. I made a list of all of my husband’s positive traits and keep it in a drawer in the kitchen. When I am frustrated or annoyed with him I read over the list and it resets my attitude.

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“Suck it Up” straw

4)  Suck it up. I have a fat straw in my jar of kitchen tools next to the stove. The straw is a visual reminder for me to “suck it up.” In other words, to let things go when there is a conflict with my husband. When I’m tempted to make an issue out of something, I see my straw and think “Chris, suck it up” and it really helps! I then say a quick prayer, asking God to help me let the issue go, and he does!

5) Remember the boy he was. I’ve noticed that men seem to get more and more burdened with the stress of  life as they get married, get into a career, add a few kids, buy a house, etc. At times they become consumed with stress! It really helps to “remember the boy he was” by thinking back to the time you first met, how he acted as a young man and the things you did together as a young couple. I guarantee you will fall in love with him all over again!

6) Meet your husband’s need for sexual intimacy. Men need regular times of connecting with their wives in this way. I’ve accumulated a wardrobe of lacy things that I put on for my husband to make it fun for him. I learned from Shaunti Feldhahn’s book that the only time men release oxytocin (the bonding hormone that Moms release while breastfeeding) is during love-making with their wives.

I sincerely hope that sharing these things will be helpful in strengthening your marriages.

Come back next Friday for another guest post on having a successful marriage!

RELATED POSTS:

What Makes a Good Marriage: Week 2

What Makes a Good Marriage: Week 3

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6 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Marriage? (Week 1)

  1. I love that you’re going to share marriage advice from women who have been married a long time! What a great idea! There are so many great Christian marriage books out there (and books not by Christians…Proper Care of Feeding of Husbands is one of my favorites!), but my mom recently gave me one that I’m really enjoying. It’s called This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. I highly recommend it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I Love this! Looking forward to reading all these posts! And any book recommendations on marriage would also be super helpful.

    Thanks for this series.

    Jerusha

    Like

    • Jerusha- the young mom’s bible study I’m in right now is reading Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage and are loving it so far. I’m not even done with it and already recommending it to everyone!

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on christinejanine and commented:
    My friend, Cole, asked me and a few other women who have been married a long time to write posts about marriage. She did such a great job introducing this important topic that I want to repost the series so my readers can read all the articles as well. Enjoy and may your marriages (or future marriages) be strengthened!

    Like

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