After 5 years of marriage and 5 kids, I feel I have learned a few things about marriage (mostly through doing things wrong).
Above everything else, the absolute best thing you can do for your marriage is to become completely selfless and learn servant-leadership. Always put your wife first, yourself last. However, this is much easier said than done and you will fail often. With that being said, here are some tips to try and get closer to that goal.
- Always take your wife’s side in front of others.
Nothing hurts a relationship more than your wife thinking you don’t support her and that you won’t stand up for her in front of others. This is especially true when it comes to your own family. Even if your wife is in the wrong, you want to discuss that in private. If things are getting heated and you’re trying to calm things down, don’t do it by telling her she’s wrong in front of your family. This will only make things worse, and often times she may be wrong about certain aspects of what’s going on but that doesn’t mean her feelings aren’t valid. If you don’t support her in that time, she’s going to feel like you are putting your family ahead of your marriage. It can be very difficult and it’s something that takes a lot of trial and error. You may upset your family and they may feel like you should be on their side, but your marriage comes before your family and you have to find a way to explain this to your family and set boundaries.
- Just don’t lie.
This is pretty simple, but many struggle with it. Don’t lie, even about small things. If you’re going to hang out with friends, don’t say your doing something else because you think she would be upset if you were hanging out with your friends. She will likely find out eventually and it will make it hard for her to trust you. Even if she seriously would be upset, which she probably wouldn’t be, it’s better to tell the truth and upset her then to lie to her and have her not trust you. If you’ve done something stupid, like forgot to pick up the kids from school, don’t lie and say you got stuck at work. Just own up to it and apologize. Which leads to the next point.
- Don’t blame others or make excuses.
If you get home later from work than usual, don’t blame your boss or traffic. Blame yourself and apologize for not letting her know as soon as you knew you were going to be late. Blaming others shows an inability to take responsibility and makes it seam like you think nothing is your own fault.
- Don’t fight about finances
If you’re having financial problems, don’t let discussions turn into fights. You’re both on the same side and you both want to be financially sound. Don’t blame her for the problems, it’s most likely your fault just as much or more. Blaming her won’t fix anything. Seek outside financial help or figure out how to talk about finances without letting emotion control the conversation. Even if you’re in the worst situation possible, it’s better to have each others help, support, and love while you work through it rather than to add anger, blame, and more stress on top of everything.
- Don’t complain when you get home
It’s easy to want to come home and tell your wife all the bad things that happened that day, but that’s probably the last thing she wants to hear when you first get home. This doesn’t mean you can’t discuss your day, just don’t bring a bunch of negativity up when you’ve been home for 5 minutes. It will make you coming home something to dread instead of look forward to. Also, depending on her day, she’s probably had just as many negative things happen and she’s probably just as tired. If you force your bad day on her, she’s going to feel like she shouldn’t share her bad day to add to the negativity and going to feel like she’s just there to listen to your problems. Obviously, this isn’t an issue if it happens every once in awhile, but if its a constant occurrence its going to cause problems. It takes a lot of work to get your ‘coming-home-routine’ right. You want it to be a breath of fresh air when you come home. If you’re tired, complaining, and defeated every day she’s going to feel like she never gets a break and you’re not happy to be home. This even more true if you have kids.