How to let your marriage burn:

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When I was about 12 years old, I attended a family bridal shower for my soon-to-be aunt Marilee.  We played a game where we had to think of marriage advice inspired by different kitchen utensils.  It was pretty nerdy, with a “Treat each other ‘grate’ (cheese grater)” and, “‘Open’ your heart to each other (can opener),” etc.  Until we got to my cousin Lexi, who was my exact same age.  Inspired by a spatula, she advised: 
 

“Don’t flip your love over.  Let it burn.”

 
The crowd went wild, especially because it came from a tween!  And I haven’t forgotten it, fifteen years later.  You know what else?  That might be the best marriage advice I’ve ever heard from anyone.  Ever.  It has helped my marriage, that’s for sure.  But of course you have to think of ways to let your love burn, so it involves a lot of work.  But that is when marriage thrives the most.  
 
So without further ado, here is my not-so-professional but I’d-like-to-think-awesome list of marriage advice.  It’s a compilation of things I studied in college, things I’ve learned about myself in marriage, and things my sweet husband has done that I deeply appreciate.  These snippets of advice are centered around building and maintaining trust, friendship and affection.
 
1. DELETE THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX FROM YOUR PHONE.
If there is a number you truly need, have your spouse put it in his or her phone.
And if for some reason someone of the opposite sex needs to get your number, tell them that you and your spouse have a special deal where you don’t take numbers of people of the opposite sex, and offer to give the person your spouse’s number instead.  I have a great married pal at work who wanted to double date with John and me, so he asked for my phone number so he could call and set things up.  I told him of John’s and my rule, offered to give him John’s number instead, and he absolutely loved that idea.  He said he wants to start doing that with his wife, too.
 
2. FORWARD ALL TEXTS CONVERSATIONS OR EMAILS FROM PEOPLE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX TO YOUR SPOUSE.
Of course there might be a few stragglers from all the numbers you deleted, but you can still foster trust with your spouse by reporting any type of technological interaction with someone of the opposite sex to him or her (FACEBOOK, ANYONE?).  John and I do this, and it strengthens our love for each other a little more each time we do, even though it’s something seemingly little.***editor’s note:  A lot of people have expressed issues with #1 and #2.  I may have made it sound like John and I formally and rigidly report all interactions of the opposite sex to each other, and that we get in huge fights and lose trust if we don’t, but it’s really quite casual.  We just mention it in passing to keep the other informed, and to help keep ourselves accountable (and believe it or not, we do have friends of the opposite sex…).  A lot of people have told me that they think doing this would foster suspicion and distrust in their relationship, but I still stand by what I said.  From my personal experience (which is far more extensive than I let on on this blog…) it is just so much safer to keep your husband or wife in “the know.”  Plus, no matter how great a marriage is, its strength and passion naturally ebbs and flows over the years.  John and I have talked about the importance of investing in and protecting our marriage every second, even when it’s at its best, so that when things get a little tougher we are in the habit and never let it get away from us.  If you don’t supervise your marriage when it is good, what motivation would you have to when it’s hard?  It’s the “little things” like mentioning your old boyfriend from High School wants to be friends on Facebook (etc…) that can prevent a lot more damage that you might not even realize is possible in a healthy relationship.  I mean, why NOT try to keep our relationship as safe and cherished as possible?  It is our MARRIAGE, after all.  Kinda important to us.

 
3. TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONES AFTER 8:00pm
(we are working on this one…)
Or whatever time works with your schedule so that you have undivided time together each day, even if it’s only for twenty minutes at night.  During this time, talk about your days.  Invite the other into your world by painting them a picture of what you experienced that day.  If you do this for several nights and you start to see patterns in your spouse’s day, ask him or her about it, or about things you’ve recognized are important to them.  
 
4. ASK FOR ADVICE FROM YOUR SPOUSE
Everyone loves to hear that their opinion is valued.  If you ask your spouse for advice, it gives him or her a sense of importance and being needed by you.  Plus, chances are they’ll give you their advice even if you don’t ask for it, so it would be nice to take the opportunity to turn the exchange into something more meaningful that builds the other up.
 
5. SCHEDULE ALONE TIME
What you do with that time is up to you and your spouse, but just make sure you make a schedule of when you will spend time alone with each other and then stick to it.  It will give you something to look forward too, think about, get excited about, and that way your spouse is always on your mind and in your heart.
 
6. FLIRT UNAPOLOGETICALLY
Flirting, in essence, is using words and actions to make someone of the opposite sex feel good about themselves.  Don’t feel silly, just be sappy and sassy to the extent you feel comfortable.  Simply expound on the feelings you are already feeling–tell your spouse why you think they are amazing, not just that you think they are amazing.  Tell your spouse how you are physically attracted to them.  Tell your spouse how they are intelligent, capable, and competent.  Men like to feel like heros, women like to feel appreciated–so keep that in mind and tell your spouse what he or she likes to hear.  And try to vocalize it as often as you think it.  No one ever gets sick of hearing how amazing they are.7. SAVE YOUR BEST SELF FOR YOUR SPOUSE
Life is full of obligations that wear you out.  Then when you get home at the end of the day you are too tired to have meaningful exchanges with your spouse.  So, throughout your day, think of ways you can conserve some of your energy so that you can return to your spouse at the end of the day ready to give all your heart.    

8. PRIMP FOR EACH OTHER
This goes along with saving your best self for your spouse.  Before you are reunited at the end of a long day, take time to freshen up for your spouse.  Brush your teeth or pop some gum.  Reapply deodorant and smelly-good spray.  Blow your nose.  Gals, touch up your makeup and hair.  Put on a cute outfit, or at least appear like you’ve made a little effort.  It helps keep the courtship fresh.

9. PROACTIVELY THINK OF WAYS TO SERVE YOUR SPOUSE
It is my opinion that there is no better way to continually fall in love with your spouse than by serving him or her.  We love the most the things we sacrifice for, so make sure you are thinking of ways to sacrifice for your spouse.  It could be time, comfort, interests, convenience, but just make sure you consciously sacrifice a little each day.  When John is annoying me for an extended period of time for one reason or another (Don’t worry, Baby, this is just hypothetical…) I brainstorm ways I can serve him, and then I do it.  My heart is always softened and I remember why I’m crazy about him and forget why he drives me crazy.  Having said that, it is equally important to let your spouse sacrifice for you, which can often times be a little more difficult to do.

10. FEED YOUR SPIRITS TOGETHER
This could be up for individual interpretation, but for John and me it involves praying together, reading the Word of God together, and thinking of ways we can serve God’s children together.  Your dyad is stronger when it’s really a triad with the Lord.

So there ya go.  Like I said, I’m no professional or anything.  I just love my marriage and have pinpointed some little things that have made ours so great.  So hopefully they can help yours, as well.  I’d love to hear things that help your marriage, too, so share the love!!

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23 comments

  1. Kirsten Wiemer says:

    i love all of this. my husband thought i was a freak when i said id feel more comfortable if he only spoke mainly with males. he has to do a ton of group projects for his major and i feel like its always the stupid girls texting him. but now i can show him im not the only one. i love all this advice, i’ve only been married for like 2.5 months, but i love it all..love your blog, your wedding pictures are seriously so cute.

    -k

    kirstenandryanwiemer.blogspot.com

  2. Kim says:

    I just came across your blog on Pinterest today. I love it! I love your advice on marriage. I have been married for 8 years and we have had our trials but I have learned that marriage takes a lot of love and forgiveness.

  3. adam.katie521 says:

    This is awesome advice. You should probably make another pin on pinterest with this advice. It totally makes sense and is very applicable. I love being married too! 🙂 Thanks for putting down into words what some people just do in action and can’t find the right words to say.

  4. wendiw80 says:

    I like all of those! I would like to add to remember that there’s not a one size fits all for marriages and to always respond with love! If you do that, even if you make mistakes, they’ll still know how much you love them!

  5. Miranda says:

    I love your post! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 I’m going to pin this so I have it to look back on.. I’d really like to incorporate your advice into my marriage! 🙂

  6. Madeline Claire Rogers says:

    I have been praying for marriage advice and came across this on pinterest. Totally has inspired me! Turns out too that I am good friends with your brother in law Tanner! Small world. But thank you for being the answer to my prayers.

  7. Jen says:

    The spatula thing is adorable! What great insight for a 12 year old. I love your list – it’s so true that it’s the little things that matter most. Habits, daily time with each other, simply letting your spouse know they’re important. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Micah and Katie says:

    I love this!!! Its the same advice I would give anyone and thank you so much for sharing about the opposite sex…so many couples do NOT do this and its so important!!!

    Thanks again for sharing from your heart.

  9. Laura says:

    Rule number 1 is incredibly sad. You don’t trust your husband to have female friends phone numbers?

    You seriously have NO male friends? I find that kind of sad.
    I have loads of male friends who are not friends with my boyfriend.
    If he asked me to delete their numbers…I would have to consider deleting his!

    I find my male friends incredibly useful, and they are great at suggesting gifts for my boy that I may not have thought of myself.

  10. Kristen says:

    This is GREAT advice. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year and we’ve been talking about marriage a lot. This will come in handy as a little reminder later in life 🙂

  11. Enna says:

    I love your blog so much! I am not married,but I think these are great tips. I really love the first one. I would never have even thought to do that. It’s not that you don’t trust each other, it just protects you from any sort of temptation. Most bad situations start from something completely innocent. Can you be my future marriage guru?

  12. Jessica says:

    Yeah I really don’t agree with the first few numbers (namely cell phone rules) – If you can’t trust your spouse to have numbers of females in his phone, there seem to be larger issues at hand. I whole heartedly trust my husband to be faithful to me. Removing females numbers from his phone wouldn’t stop him from contacting them another way. Do you tell him he can’t be friends with females on facebook? Can he work in an office with females whom he interacts with daily without your supervision? I like some of the second half of your list, but the first half is just way too controlling in my opinion.

  13. Amira says:

    Great list! Although, my husband and I do have friends of the opposite sex (mutual friends really) who we are allowed to correspond with. For us #1 & #2 wouldn’t be beneficial for growing our marriage (in fact, that might make me paranoid), but if that is something that a couple requires in order to foster trust, then more power to ’em 🙂 You gotta do whatever it takes to make your marriage work, and trust is one of the biggest foundations.

  14. Sheila says:

    Awesome list! If more people simply took care of their marriages–and watched their relationships with people of the opposite sex, and nurtured their spouse, more marriages would last! And I totally agree with the flirting. I wrote a post recently on 16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband that was awfully fun to dream up. Thanks for this great post! I’ll be sharing it on my marriage newsletter.

  15. Jen Baierl says:

    I love this! They all hit home. My husband and I forward texts, emails from the opposite sex and only have phone conversations concerning business that can’t be avoided. It is free and completely full of trust because we choose it for ourselves for accountability. I love the Primping for your spouse. What a great reminder after a long day!

  16. Val says:

    Love this! My husband & I generally follow these, & also share a Facebook page just to be “safe”. We know quite a few marriages that have failed because of actions that resulted from unintentional romantic feelings for someone they never expected. We want our marriage to be foolproof in this regard no matter what we have to do:) we have to work on the phone one though… Great idea! And iPad…computer… Etc

  17. Valerie Boyles says:

    I disagree with 1 & 2. I don’t understand why controlling who your spouse can talk to promotes a trusting relationship. You should never have to take messages from your spouse in order to correspond with coworkers or friends. I’m glad my husband and I trust each other without having to control communication with people of the opposite sex.

    Can you explain why this is supposed to help your marriage?

    • Emily says:

      It’s not a trust issue, in my opinion, but simply a way to avoid any potential temptation that may arise. I am completely confident that my husband will never cheat on me but I want to always be aware of conversations he has with other women (outside of work of course) and I will reciprocate the same to him. It shows mutual trust and respect towards each other and the very important relationship we have with each other.

  18. emma tew says:

    I enjoyed reading this. I agree with the concepts of pretty much everything you said. Recently i had an old guy friend from highschool reach out to me on myspace…yeah myspace remember that? ha. anywho i had texted him and we started talking and instantly i was feeling guilty about it. Not because we were saying inappropriate thigns or anything but because it just didn’t seem right. So i told justin and he was glad i told him in the end. At first he was like why are you talking to him then i explained and everything was ok. I don’t know if i would ask him to delete female numbers but i know that if he was talking with a lady friend he would tell me about it. I sure love you i think you’re great!

  19. Alana McEachern says:

    I’m just curious to know; how long have you two been married?
    I read through the comments and one thing that I have learnt with our marriage is that something that works in one persons marriage doesn’t always work in someone elses.
    Alana
    Married 7 years 🙂

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