I’ve been married 12 years. To the love of my life. My best friend. My soul mate. My boogie-woogie choo choo train 🙂 . Plus, I’m the daughter of two loving parents who have been married for 36 years and have shown me everyday the proper way to love one another and make a marriage go the distance. So, I guess I’m qualified to pass along some of the best marriage tips ever. Tips that I have used in my own marriage, and ones that I have seen in action in other successful marriages.
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But back to me and Boogie Woogie…
We met in high school. Our young love survived two proms, my learning to drive (I swear I did not see that stop sign!), my four years of college, his 9 month deployment in the US Navy, a cross-country move, the starting of a business, a few different career changes, two beautiful kids and lots of diapers, and my literal near death experience (during which my hubby was telling me to “walk it off”).
Don’t get me wrong. We’ve been in the valleys. We’ve had our highs and our lows. Our marriage has not been without struggles. But our love and mutual respect for each other has brought us through everything that life has thrown at us so far. We are each other’s best friend – as corny as that sounds. We love each other no matter what, and we can each be our own true selves with the other. He still loves me make-up free and with stinky morning breath. And I still love him even though I sit in pee on the toilet seat a few times a week.
So, what are the best marriage tips I’ve heard? What has worked for me and my marriage? I’ve narrowed it down to the best marriage tips I’ve come across:
The Best Marriage Tips from Couples who Have Been Married more than 10 Years
Tip #1: Choose to Love Each Other Everyday
This tip actually comes from my Memaw. I remember sitting on the corner of her bed with her one day and she told me bluntly “I may not like your Grandpa everyday, but I choose to love him everyday”. It’s true. Sometimes you won’t really 100% like each other. But you have to make the conscious choice to LOVE each other. News flash – marriage isn’t like a Hollywood chick-flick. Don’t wait to be swept off your feet. The butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling will fade. But, if you choose to love each other no matter what, your marriage will thrive, and your love will last.
Tip #2: Date your Husband
Don’t just go out on dates… actually date each other. The way you used to. When you would put perfume on and fret about which jeans made your butt look best.
Tip #3: Build Each Other Up
Be each other’s biggest cheerleader! Encourage each other through trials, and cheer loudly and proudly for your spouse’s victories. Go, Boogie, Go! I literally painted a sign that said this for my husband when he was playing in a softball league. See proof below:
Tip #4: Do Whatever You Can to Make the Other Person’s Life Easier
This tip comes from the required marriage counseling that we received from our pastor 12 years ago before he would perform our ceremony. And it may be one of the toughest to implement. I don’t know about you, but when I have a spare 2o minutes, I want to take that time for myself (usually hiding in the bathroom with an Us Weekly). I definitely don’t want to pile on another task to complete just to make my husband’s day a little easier. But, I try to do it anyway. I make his lunch for him each night so he just has to grab-and-go in the morning. I take trash to the dump so that he doesn’t have to do it on his day off. I even work about 6 hours per week doing his job so that he can have two TRUE days off each week (his job requires a 7 day work week).
We all deal with hardships. We all have days that we just want to come home from work and curl up in a cocoon for the rest of the night. So, lessen the load for your spouse. It doesn’t have to be much. Taking on just a bit of the other’s burden can make a big difference.
Tip #5: Show Love by Doing Little Things
Leave each other little love notes where they are least expected – on his driver’s seat or in the pocket of his jeans. Sneak his favorite candy in his lunch box. Buy that shirt he’s been wanting, just because. Celebrate your 1,367th day together with a homemade cake (that says “Happy 1,367th Day!”). Get creative! It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, or cost a lot of money. It just has to be heartfelt and unexpected.
Tip #6: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
And 99% of it is small stuff! Pick and choose your battles, and let all of the “small stuff” roll off your back. Is it really worth fighting about what type of coffee to buy at the grocery store? Or the $10 purchase that he made that you think is unnecessary? If you are fighting about “small stuff” like that, then it probably means that you have a deeper issue to deal with, or a larger problem that is bothering you. Find the time to have a constructive conversation about that instead.
Tip #7: Carve out Small Amounts of Time Each Day
So, this may be TMI (too much information!), but my hubby and I take a shower together every night. That is OUR time each day. You can’t take your phone in the shower, or be distracted by the TV or what kind of mess the kids are making. It’s just the two of us, talking about our days or goofing off together. I’ve developed a sixth sense to detect when he’s about to turn the ice cold water on and spray it in my direction, usually when I’m washing my face and my eyes are closed 🙂 .
Find a way to carve out time each day that works for you. Time that is just yours with no distractions. Maybe spend a few minutes discussing life in the bed at night before you go to sleep. Or maybe take a walk together around your neighborhood each night after dinner. And then make that time a priority. In today’s fast paced world, it’s easy to push aside tasks that don’t seem important or productive. But what is more important than your marriage?
What should you discuss during your no-electronics time together? Check out my big list of 100 Questions to Ask Your Spouse for funny, serious, and everything in between conversation starters!
Tip #8: Know Each Other’s Buttons, the Good and the Bad Ones
Chances are if you are married, then you know your spouse well enough to know what really pisses them off. Don’t piss them off intentionally. Duh.
This includes knowing what makes your hubby feel extra loved! Find out what your spouse’s love language is to be most effective at letting him know you love him! You should definitely check out this book, a #1 New York Times Bestseller for 8 years in a row:
Tip #9: Get Handsy!
This one is for you, Mom and Dad! If I had a nickel for every time I saw my Dad grab my Mom’s butt! Ewww! I know… you don’t want to think about your parents like that. But I didn’t mind. It was a constant reminder to me of how much my parents loved each other. That and the stories my Dad would tell about seeing my Mom on the beach in her blue bathing suit when they were teenagers. Show your affection physically. Keep the romance alive. 🙂
Tip #10: Put God First and Put Your Marriage Second… Everything Else Comes Next.
God should come first and foremost in your life. And your marriage should come second. But what about the kids? Some may think that children should come first because your spouse is an adult and can take care of themselves, whereas children are reliant on you. However, putting your children above your husband can lead to your spouse feeling neglected. A happy spouse equals a happy marriage which, in turn, equals happy kids.
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So, there you have it. The best marriage tips ever, from my parents and grandparents, pastors, and dear friends. I’d love to hear how you keep your marriage happy and healthy! Leave me a comment below, and I may add your tip to my list! And don’t forget to sign up for my email list so you don’t miss any of the new stuff here!
Want even more best marriage tips ever? Looking for a good read to gift to a new bride? Check out these highly rated marriage books on Amazon: