Do you remember those days of being a starry-eyed newlywed? Your life of singleness finally exchanged for the marriage for which you’ve waited so patiently. Everything seems so smooth and sweet for a time… until real life starts to kick back in. The honeymoon phase is over and suddenly you find yourself spending so much time and effort struggling to mesh your lives together. Not quite the hand-holding, daydreaming, perfect life you pictured, right?
Mandy Bowman here. Maybe you find yourself relating to the previous paragraph. If so, you’re not alone. Because that was, and is, my experience after getting married nearly 5 years ago. Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is worth it. However, marriage is sometimes so very tough. That’s why it’s important to seek out marriage tips, learning from godly women who can share wisdom and insight.
Not long after I got married, I came across a book by Karen Ehman, entitled “Keep Showing Up” that was an incredible resource to me as I navigated these new unfamiliar waters of marriage. Today, I would like to share a few marriage tips and notes from the book that have been so very helpful to me. So let’s buckle up and explore some truths that will undoubtedly be helpful for you, too.
MARRIAGE TIP #1: Every Marriage is a Unique Blend of Awesome and Awful
You were more than a little shocked the first time you realized that your long-awaited marriage was far from perfect? Did you silently and fearfully wonder, “have I made the biggest mistake of my life?” Yeah, you’re not alone.
We enter into marriage with all of these high expectations. And when our husband fails to meet them, sometimes by simply being the imperfect person he is, it can create resentment and conflict. However, stepping back and remembering that “every marriage is a unique blend of awesome and awful” helps to reign in our expectations. It’s a fact that there will indeed be bad days in your marriage. When two imperfect people come together, there will be plenty of imperfect days. Arguments will occur. This is NORMAL. Read that again… N-O-R-M-A-L.
That’s why grace and forgiveness is vital in marriage. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” You and I are imperfect people forgiven by a perfect God. Let’s extend that forgiveness to our husbands who need it just as much as we do.
MARRIAGE TIP #2: Fight Fair and Behave Like Jesus
When you’re in those less than perfect days and arguments ensue, how do you handle it? If you’re like me, you desperately want to win the fight and you’ll say nearly anything to make it happen. You’re right (obviously!) and he needs to know it! So maybe you pull up ancient history, maybe toss some old mistakes in his face, whatever it takes to win. But it’s important to “fight fair and behave like Jesus.”
Is pulling up all his old, forgiven mistakes fair to him? Are those angry words ready to jump off the tip of your tongue what Jesus would use? Let me tell you, sister, before I read this marriage tip, it never even crossed my mind to behave like Jesus in an argument! So what would He do? I guarantee He would exhibit every single one of the fruits of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23
How many of those characteristics do you display when in disagreement with your husband? While I have been trying to work on this for some time, I still have a ways to go. But I can already tell you how much smoother our arguments are when I stop and compare my words and attitudes to God’s commands.
MARRIAGE TIP #3: My Husband is My Husband. He is Not My God.
God’s word is clear on the expectations and roles for a husband. Love his wife. (Colossians 3:19) Be understanding. (1 Peter 3:7) Act as the head of the household, a leader in his family. (Ephesians 5:22-23) But he should never take the place of God in our hearts. That position belongs to God and God alone. All the way back to the Ten Commandments, we are told to have no other gods before Him. Our husbands are important, yes. But if we prioritize him above the Lord, we create a serious problem of misplaced faith.
If we look to our husbands to meet our every need, we will be sorely disappointed. Because that’s not his job. If we look to our husbands for our peace, we will never get it. Because that’s not his job. If we look to our husbands for fulfillment and purpose, we’ll find ourselves empty and lost. Because that’s not his job.
God alone is our provider. God alone gives peace that passes all understanding. And God alone gives purpose, fulfillment, joy, freedom, grace, abundant life, and everything else we will ever need.
GET YOUR COPY OF "KEEP SHOWING UP" BY KAREN EHMAN
This book was absolutely packed with Scripture, stories, marriage tips and plenty of practical applications. It’s perfect for both newlyweds as well as ladies who’ve been married for longer than I’ve been alive. Get your copy HERE.
**Disclaimer: These tips are ideal for women in typical, healthy marriage settings. If you’re experiencing abuse, we encourage you to connect with the Open Gate Domestic Violence Shelter by calling 910-343-0703, or contact a shelter in your area.