Monday, November 7, 2011

A Key to a Successful Marriage

As you may know, I'm not married nor have I ever been, so I'm not the ideal person to offer marriage advice. But Christian novelist Colleen Coble recently celebrated forty years of marriage and one piece of advice she offered recently is "Appreciate all the things your spouse does for you. Verbalize it in front of others too." And then she said, "Focus on your spouse's good qualities." Good advice.

When was the last time you said something in public about something you like that your spouse does? Some people are so quick to tear criticize their spouses in public. I'll probably get in trouble for this, but it seems to me that women are the worst offenders. If nothing else, you can hear it in the tone of their voice when their husband does something they think is childish or silly. You don't see many men who will say something like, "You'll never guess what my wife did this week. She went out and bought a purse to match her shoes. Then she decided she didn't like the shoes." Some will, but good Christian men don't do that. The wife is to be protected. No matter how silly she may act, you don't go around laughing about it.

I always loved open house when I was in school. Both of my parents always went. What I liked best was when the teacher would talk to them and tell them how good I was doing at one thing or another. It made me stand a little straighter. There's just something about hearing someone praise us in front of other people. And though I've never been married, I'm sure the principle works the same for couples. Men, if you want your wife to feel loved, the next time you and your wife are out with other people, talk about how much you enjoyed that casserole your wife fixed the other night. Or talk about how well she does with the kids. Or tell them how you enjoy coming home to a clean house. Women, if you want your husband to feel respected, tell people how you like seeing him take the leadership role in your home. Tell them how much you appreciate the time he spends at work. Tell them about the work he’s been doing to fix up the house or keep the cars in running order. That’s what we’re all looking for. We long for someone to love us and appreciate us. That love and appreciation should primarily come from one’s spouse.

And another thing, make a commitment that you won’t criticize your spouse in public. There is never a reason for you to criticize your spouse in public. Never. Maybe they did something you don’t think they should have done. Save it until you’re in the car or until you get home, but don’t do it in public. Resentment comes quickly when a person is publically ridiculed. Don’t do it.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? I think I should add one more thing. Offer praise at every opportunity and never publically criticize your spouse, even if your spouse does. I think one of the problems couples have is that one half of the couple is willing to do the right thing, but only as long as the other person is doing it too. When the other person hurts them, they take that as permission to hurt the other person back. That will only result in disaster. Instead, praise your spouse in public anyway and it is very likely that your spouse will soon be returning the favor.