Posted by Todd Smith
Authors: Todd and Joy Smith, Founders of Little Things Matter
Yesterday, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We can’t believe we are old enough to have been married for 25 years. Recognizing the importance of building a successful marriage, we want to share with you our top 25 marriage tips. The following points are not listed in any specific order. It is our hope that these tips will help you enjoy a more rewarding marriage.
We recorded the podcast version of this post and we’ve added commentary that’s not included in the written post. Click here to listen to this podcast.
1. Marry the right person. There is only one way you will know if the person you are dating is the right person to marry and that is by spending time together. We recommend dating at least one year before getting engaged. We dated for four years before getting married. Once we got married, there were no surprises.
2. Make your marriage your top priority. If you are married, there is nothing that should take precedence over your marriage and that includes your children and career.
3. NEVER say the word divorce. If you are committed to building a long-term healthy marriage, make a vow to each other that you will never say the word divorce or anything else that would leave the other person to believe you are not 100% committed to your marriage.
4. Don’t argue over petty things. When we first got married we argued over every little ridiculous thing. It made our lives miserable. We then made the decision that we would no longer argue about meaningless things. Now when one of us bring up an issue, the other person takes it seriously.
5. Make a weekly date a priority. This is HUGE! Dress up, get out of the house and enjoy a special time together. During these times together show an interest in the things that are important to each other and avoid talking about subjects that could create tension.
6. Find at least one 30-minute block of time to spend together each day. It could be in the morning before work or in the evening. During this designated time, discuss what’s going on in each of your lives. We all have a lot going on, but if your marriage is a priority, spending time together should take precedence over all other activities.
7. Serve one another. Be intentional. We are both very thoughtful about the little things we do to serve each other. This is about putting the other person’s needs before your own. The more you serve and meet the needs of your spouse, the more your spouse will serve and meet your needs.
8. Communicate. Effective communication is critical for any marriage to last. This is especially important during difficult periods. Learn your spouse’s communication style and the way he or she needs to hear what you have to say.
9. Freedom in intimacy. You know what we mean. Make it a priority.
10. Take care of yourself. This includes everything from your physical appearance to the clothes you wear. Do your part to be an attractive mate.
11. Don’t use absolutes. This means not saying things like, “You always…” and “You Never…”
12. Be considerate. This means everything from cleaning up your mess to specifically avoiding doing or saying things that you know irritate your spouse.
13. Understand it takes hard work. Building a marriage of 25 years is not easy. We have had some very difficult periods. We have even had to go to marriage counseling to work through difficult periods. Know there will be challenging times and when they occur, work through them with a genuine desire to improve your marriage.
14. Be Encouraging. When your spouse is going through a hard period of time, starting a new endeavor, or working on an important project, be there to encourage and support him or her. You should be your spouse’s number one fan.
15. Always show respect to each other. This includes the way you communicate to each other, they way you talk about your spouse to others and the way you treat your spouse.
16. Make family decisions together. We are a team and we make all family related decisions as a team.
17. Leave your work at work. When you come home from work, resist the temptation to talk about work, unless your spouse wants to hear about it. Instead, focus your time together on subjects of interest to everyone.
18. Be the best parent you can be. We make all parenting decisions together. We are intentional about our parenting. Your spouse’s love and respect for you will grow when he or she sees you loving and parenting to the best of your ability.
19. Give your spouse freedom. We give each other the freedom to do things that give us pleasure independently. Of course, we don’t take advantage of it, but giving your spouse the opportunity to do the things he or she enjoys is important.
20. Stay out of debt. Financial stress is the number one cause of divorce. Sit down together and create a budget that you will both stay committed to and don’t allow yourselves to justify spending more money than you make.
21. Continue growing as people. We are both committed to learning, growing and achieving our personal best. This includes growing as a spouse, parent and individual. As one of us gets better, it helps the other person get better, just as iron sharpens iron.
22. Love your spouse according to his or love language. Read Joy’s post titled, Loving People the Way They Need to be Loved to learn more about the significance of love languages.
23. Show your appreciation. In a marriage, it’s easy to take things for granted. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate the little things he or she does for you. Cleaning the house, picking up the dry cleaning, walking the dog, doing the laundry, cooking dinner for the family, and fixing the leaky faucet are just a few examples. Don’t let one good deed go unnoticed.
24. Be honest with each other. Once trust is lost, it is difficult to regain and this adage is especially true in marriage. Being honest also includes being honest with your feelings.
25. No holding grudges. After you work through an issue, move on and don’t harbor ill feelings. We also strongly encourage you to not bring up past challenges. The past is the past. It’s been years since either of us has brought up a negative issue from the past.
For those of you who are married, we want to encourage you to review this list with your spouse and discuss the steps you can both take to make to improve your marriage.
If you are reading this post and you are not yet married, we strongly recommend pre-marital counseling. We suggested this to both of our married children and their spouses and they will readily tell you that it was valuable, enlightening, and set the foundation for the marriage they now enjoy.
How long have you been married? Do you have some tips you can share with the LTM community? Please tell us in the comment section below this post.
You can enjoy an amazing marriage, if you will focus on the little things that go into building a successful marriage.
About the Authors: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. Joy is his lovely wife.
Communication, Encouragement, Family, Fulfillment, Goals, Hope, Priorities, Relationships, Respect, Things you were never taught
Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.
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