Disclaimer: You may be thinking, "Two years is
! Give me 50 years of experience, then I'll listen." Well, we hear you. Thus, this is not only 22 things JD and I have figured out throughout the past two years; rather, most of it consists of what wiser, more experienced couples have shared with us.
1. Put God first.
And when you do, glorious and unfathomable things will come to fruition. You will have a desperate desire to serve one another, (for the wife) to submit to the husband, and (for the husband) to love his wife and give himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22-33). Women often despise this verse, claiming that it is degrading to women and their independence. Timothy Keller confronts this view and states, "Immediately, however, [Paul] tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and 'gave himself up for her' (25), which is, if anything, a stronger appeal to abandon self-interest than was given to the woman" (The Meaning of Marriage, 53). Once again, our self-centeredness is challenged. When we allow God to overflow our hearts, self-sacrifice becomes just a bit easier.
2. Reflect Jesus.
"According to the Bible, God devised marriage to reflect his saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes into an enduring whole-life union. (The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, 16)" All things we do in life or in marriage should reflect Him.
3. Lay grace as your foundation.
Since pre-marital classes, we've heard that many things should be the foundation of our marriage. We've come to the conclusion that grace takes the cake. Trust is crucial, but when one of us breaks the other's trust, what would cover it? Grace, and grace alone. Grace says that when I give 0%, my husband will still give 100%. And when he gives 0%, I must give 100%. It is by the grace of God that we have been redeemed, and it is the grace that we have received which will sustain our marriage.
4. Respect each other.
Nothing breaks our hearts more than to hear a husband and wife knowingly put down one another. Sarcasm is simply not respectful. With each joke, there is always a tinge of honesty. Those hints of honesty can quickly damage a marriage.
5. Communicate clearly but don’t
your spouse to understand.
I graduated with a degree in Public Relations and I have quickly learned that I am one of the worst communicators on the planet. Especially in marriage. JD can say the most blunt and thorough sentence, and I still won't completely grasp at what he's getting at. Granted, it goes both ways. That's just the contrast in gender and humanity. Learn to work with it and be gracious towards one another in the process. :)
6. You can never say “I love you” enough.
Some may think it's cheesy but saying / hearing "I love you" pierces our hearts in such a beautiful way every time. Be creative. JD has written "I love you sooo much" on our chalkboards and constantly leaves sweet little notes for me. The first and last words we say / hear every day are "I love you". It can really change your attitude and perspective.
7. Serve one another.
An easy way to do this is to pack lunch for each other. It will help your budget a
nd it's fun. Write Post-It notes and place them in each other's lunchbox for an afternoon pick-me-up. Surprise your spouse with breakfast in bed. Husbands, open the doors for your wives. Be consistently spontaneous. It is a simple commitment that can transform a marriage.
8. Hold hands in public.
Most of us love seeing a couple that's been married for 50 years holding hands in the park... so why not start that sweet habit now?
9. Make Date Night Mandatory.
Strive to pursue each other even after the wedding ring hits the finger. JD and I have date night once a week (normally at Outback Steakhouse because we can't get enough of their Aussie Fries). It is an intentional time where we sit down and share what's going on in our lives together. The week is full and busy. Take time to relax and enjoy being married. On a strict budget? Visit the ladies at
The Dating Divas
for creative, budget-friendly date night ideas!
10. Wait a couple of years to have kids.
This may not be applicable to everyone... Babies are precious and we highly anticipate the day that we start a little Filipino family of our own. However, this has been advice from both couples who had babies five years after the wedding day, and couples who had babies nine months after the honeymoon. Marriage is tough enough to figure out without adding another element to the game plan. More importantly, marriage and the newlywed life is just fun. Enjoy it. Savor it. This is your one time to be selfish with one another. Take advantage of that.
11. Keep technology out of the bedroom.
We were advised not to have a TV in our bedroom. Thus, you will not find a TV in our bedroom. However, we've learned the hard way that computers, iPads and iPhones can be an even worse distraction. Simply put, keep technology out of the bedroom.
12. Go to bed at the same time together.
It's an intentional act that will carry your marriage a long way.
13. Argue peacefully, understand, forgive and laugh.
Don't raise your voice at each other. When you get into a heated argument, walk to separate rooms and develop a peaceful argument. Speak the truth in love to each other. Keep your disagreements between the Mr. and Mrs. Discuss your problems with the pastor if needed, but nobody else really needs to get involved. When the extended family gets involved, problems become escalated and very seldom do problems get better. In addition, your families will take sides and will most likely develop a bitterness toward your spouse because of the dispute.
14. Speak kindly.
ords sting and can leave scars that may not heal for quite a while. Kind words add a gentle spirit (and infinite brownie points) to the marriage.
15. Always greet your spouse at the door with a thousand kisses!
Do this and when your spouse comes home from work, it will start the evening off in quite a delightful and lighthearted way. It will also encourage your spouse to leave work at work.
16. Be active together and experience new things as one.
Go hiking. Join a gym and exercise together - or even better, run or bike together in the great outdoors. Go bowling. Take dance lessons. Cook together. Compromise on what you like to do. JD cuts fabric out for my store while I sew, and I play video games with him because that's one of his favorite things to do (I beat my first video game because of him - that's right - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
Read the same books and start your own Mr. & Mrs. book club. Travel together (even if it's to a campground a few miles down the road). Learn photography or a new sport together (we're fans of racquetball). Serve at the downtown rescue mission together.
17. Take pride in your newlywed-ness.
We are one of those couples that would shout our love from the rooftops given the opportunity. We love each other, and we love marriage... and we take joy in making that known to everyone around us. In the process, we have received lots of awesome free stuff (pastries from Starbucks, dessert, concierge seating and free candy at the movie theater, you name it!). Even if we didn't receive any of these sweet gifts, we would still take major pride in being married - but it does add a few wonderful layers of icing to the cake. ;)
18. Plan your budget, stick to the budget and don’t forget to SAVE and GIVE.
is a great resource for a budgeting tools - especially if you like color and graphs!! Dave Ramsey's tools for budgeting is also a beneficial resource to help you both decide how to allocate your monthly budget. We use
19. Distance yourself from temptation.
Be aware. Never be alone in a room with someone of the opposite sex. You may think you're strong enough, but be smart and don't test it. My parents always had this rule and Billy Graham did too. So many pastors have fallen over the past couple of years because of adultery - don't buy in to thinking you're above the temptation. This goes along with anything intimate / private. Facebook messaging has become an issue in our society. We've known two people who began communicating with their ex-boyfriends via facebook message. They divorced their husbands and married the guys they were messaging with. Bottom line: don't be naive and run quickly from temptation.
20. Encourage each other.
In every aspect of life.
21. Surround yourselves with a community of like-minded married couples,
of all ages
Soak in wisdom from older couples, fellowship with couples your age, and mentor younger married couples.
22. Never stop being Newlyweds.
Because being newlyweds is fun and filled with adventure. Plus, there is nothing sweeter than to hear a couple at their 50th anniversary say that they are still newlyweds.
The last thing JD heard before walking down the aisle on our wedding day was from our friend Dr. Archie Hooper: "Treat her like a princess every day." The words are so
simple but they run deep. It is a terribly tough task but somehow JD
adheres to it in a perfect way. We recommend this piece of advice for all husbands.
We would love to hear from you and your love! What advice have you been given prior to or within marriage? What advice do you share with couples embarking on that adventure?