Monday, August 11, 2008

21 tips for marriage

Yesterday, Michael and I celebrated 21 years of blissful married life. We're a blended family, and have far exceeded the statistics of most blended families dissolving within five years. As we drove to Prescott, AZ ( a very quaint community), we thought it'd be fun to write down 21 Things We've Learned in 21 Years of Marriage.

1. On our first anniversary, we heard an older couple talk about the "us and the them." We were the "us" and everyone else (kids and in laws included) became the "them." We drew a circle around our "us" to protect it. Have you?

2. Michael said, "You have to be IN IT (the marriage) or it's JUST A GAME. One can't get around it. You won't get any benefits and you'll just use the other person instead of really learning the true blessing of giving love and respect.

3. Listening. We are still learning and we work on practicing this because we value each other enough to slow down our own world and hear the other person's heart. Here are 10 Quick Keys to Learn to Listen.

4. Be extremely gracious with each others inconsistencies and quirks ( those little things that drive you crazy).

5. See the core (the person as to who they really are - the one that God sees) and speak to the core (believe the best of them-rather than lock them into past patterns) and grace the crud (the junk that sometimes seeps out in those moments where we knee jerk to life).

6. Don't knee jerk in a conflict and if you do recognize that it's because of your own sense of shame. Find out what the core root of that shame is and face is and make it be your servant rather than be a slave to it.

7. Develop and implement a weekly Marriage Staff Meeting that insures one-flesh movement. It's natural to tend to gravitate toward our own worlds and we do so unless we discuss and make plans for our world that fits into His world (God's). We have our own guide available if you email me at:

8. Discover and develop a personal life purpose (or mission) statement. Pen it down. Mine is: I live to use my power of influence to love deeply and change the world around me for the sake of the Kingdom.

9. Years ago we learned about something we call an arena. Arena's must be defined. I'll post a separate post to explain this. Understanding arenas have helped us in a huge way.

10. Men - learn how to love and women learn how to show respect.

11. Discover and develop a 'one-flesh' purpose statement. Need reason to write one? Need help to write one?

12. A significant change happened in our marriage when my heart turned totally homeward and toward my husband after I wrote Power Prayers for Your Mighty Man. There's just something about talking to God about your husband that turns your heart. Indeed a tip! If you email me at (after you post a comment here) and I'll send you a gift copy of my book.

13. Discovering and agreeing upon what kind of healthy family boundaries (in-laws and siblings) need to be established and then setting them and committing to them is a KEY tip for your marriage.

14. This tip is for wives: learn to follow the leadership of your husband even if it doesn't seem as if he knows for sure where he's going.

15. Another "for wives tip" - don't tell him what to do or how to do it.

16. One more "for wives tip" - don't make his anger your issue. It's NOT and if you make it yours by trying to fix it - you'll get in God's way. If you struggle with anger, find out why and face that pain and that fear.

17. Go to bed together and go to bed (generally) by 10 pm. Or at least get eight to nine hours of sleep. So many conflicts happen after 9 pm, so we don't talk about anything "deep" after 9 pm and then often by the morning none of it mattered much anyway.

18. Establish family meal time. Eat together - it's spiritual and there's power in the table. In the early days of our marriage we started celebrating Shabbat on Friday nights. For years we continued Shabbat and for some reason it fell by the way side. We are in the process of re-establishing it.

19. Learn to do hospitality and do it together. We love serving together and have figured out who does what well - you know - part of our one-flesh purpose.

20. Become best friends. This can only be viewed in explorer.

21. Learn to be comfortable and feel accepted talking about EVERY area of your sex life. Married couples must work everything and anything out so that this celebration of marriage becomes your greatest blessing and gift you give to each other.

What's your marriage tip?

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Amy Bennett said...

Thank you. We just celebrated 10 and I was already nodding at most of the these but it seems we still have a lot to learn as well!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Such great tips. We too have been married for as long as you have and I think your ideas are fabulous. I'd love to implement some of them!

Looking forward to reading more of your posts after the wedding, knee keep in setting up and last minute detail!


Audra Krell said...

I'm loving this post! Well said. Please bring me your book when we meet for coffee!

Diva Ma said...

Great tips. About to celebrate 10 years. Thanks for adding me on MBC.

Rachel said...

I love this list, especially #1. I'm bookmarking this to read again.

Lylah said...

thanks for the comments girls! woo hoo....

Anonymous said...

What a great list! Happy anniversary!

6HappyHearts said...

Awesome list! I added you to my blogroll & I'm thinkin' I need to send all my bloggin' friends over here for a visit!!!
I will email for the guide & book, thanks for the offers.

BarbaraLee said...

I enjoy your blogs.
This is my 2nd marriage w/2 children.
We had 2 more. But you wouldn't think so. Dh was in it for the whole package. The kids are real close. The 2 girls get together every couple months & the 2 boys still wrestle around.
We can't wait to have more.

Lylah said...

hi there barbara lee....thanks for stopping by and i'm jazzed that you like by blogs! woohhoo...

oh, i pray God opens your womb!