There are a few helpful books and guides out there designed to help people solve problems in marriage. Unfortunately though, just like parenting, there is no handbook that they hand to you after the ceremony that gives you exact directions on what to do for every circumstance. You’re left with your new spouse to try and figure it all out together.
- Your parents were NOT always right - and you won’t be either. I learned that what worked for my parents’ marriage may not work for my marriage. I learned that some of the things they thought were not correct. They’re not bad people, they’re very good and nice people, but I had to be willing to re-learn some things.
- You’re selfish – I know, how could I be a selfish person? I volunteer, donate to charity, and worked in customer service. How could someone who does all that be selfish? Single life is very “me” oriented. It’s hard to stop on a dime and change to be “us” oriented. This includes decisions on how you spend your time.
Here’s the practical advice:
- Make decisions that benefit both of you – don’t just think, “how can I get the most out of this?”, think, “how can we make this best for our marriage?” By putting each other first, you’ll come out with a decision that makes both of you happy.
- Put away your Xbox – maybe your wife likes to play, maybe she doesn’t. The thing is that you need to put away what ever distractions that are detracting from your relationship. Don’t do something that drives her away. Open your eyes, don’t be like guys in some TV shows or commercials: look at your wife, is she trying to get your attention? If you don’t do this, you will miss out on a lot in marriage and hurt the both of you.
- Your friends come second - you aren’t single any more. Don’t ditch your wife to hang out with your buddies. Sure your wife may not like all the movies you like, but you can find a compromise (see the first bullet). See a chick flick one weekend, and an action movie the next. Lots of movies are now integrating the two (e.g. “Knight and Day” and “Killers“)
- You’re on your wife’s side – no matter who is on the other end of the argument, stick with your wife. Stand together in public against parents, friends, and whoever else. If you think she’s wrong, take it up with her in private. Don’t leave her stranded. When the world gets dark, you should be there with a flashlight.
Above all else: Love Your Wife