Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Best Marriage Advice, Not that Anyone is Asking

Katrina is much nicer than me, and resists the urge to share her marital advice with everyone she meets, but her post on it got me thinking. I think I did share my best advice when I was younger and knew everything, but now that I'm getting older and wiser, I keep a few more of my opinions to myself.

My can't-fail non-conventional advice?

Don't marry for love.

Love is fleeting. Well, more specifically, romance and infatuation and passion is fleeting. Marrying someone simply because you are in love with him or her is not always the best singular criteria. I have a few that are better (and yes, I even thought these things through when I was twenty-two and getting married myself):
  • Marry someone you like. Most of us have dated someone who made our hearts pitter-patter, but to whom all of our friends and family could not quite understand the attraction. They aren't all out to get you. If they don't "get" the match, there's probably a reason. If you like each other--as people, not just as mates--you'll grow together and not apart over your lifetime.
  • Marry someone you respect. You will disagree in the course of a marriage (and not just in the first few years). If you respect your husband (or wife), then you will give their position some weight, instead of discounting it immediately. Understanding the other side often diffuses some of the tension in an argument.
  • Marry someone who is likeminded. There are some critical areas: religion, children, money. You won't be able to hammer all of them out. especially if you are young and know everything, but if there are big question marks or big disagreements about a philosophy in one of these areas, it will probably haunt you for the rest of your marriage. Love doesn't make the world go around, and love doesn't make all the troubles go away. You aren't going to change him/her, so make sure your philosophies line up on the important issues.
  • Marry someone who makes you feel secure. Do you trust him/her? Is he happy with himself? Especially if you are young, you aren't going to know about financial security, and I think that's okay. However, does he have a plan? Does he have a passion? Does she expect you to fill her every need? Those things (or the lack of them) can breed insecurity, and if your spouse is insecure, you lack security as well and are then saddled with the impossible task of becoming their security.
I just heard Shannon Ethridge on Jim Burns' Homeword podcast, and she herself said that the enduring and intimate qualities of a true friendship are more valuable than love, which will fade or change over the years. So, if you don't like my opinion, take her expert advice on this one. She was doing the podcasts promoting the book Every Woman's Marriage, which I coincidentally just received in the mail, so I have dug into it with relish!

If you are already married, and didn't follow some of these guidelines, Every Woman's Marriage offers fresh insight and hope on "igniting the joy and passion you both desire" (as the book is subtitled).


angeleyes Blue said...

My son now a teenager won't date Angie because she is his best friend. I told him So--Your mom married her best friend 17 years ago after she dated him for 6 years. Mom you are weird.


Thanks for the advice and I can't agree with you more :)

Dad said...

Good advice. You followed it and probably "married up".

Dad said...

Good advice. You followed it and probably "married up".

Dad said...

Good advice. You followed it and probably "married up".

Dad said...

Good advice. You followed it and probably "married up".

Heather said...

Chris and I got married a little bit later than what is typical, I think, and it paid off. Not saying we're perfect by any means, but I can check off all four of those mostly because of his relationship with Christ.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I honest to goodness married my best friend. We had love, and all the other stuff too, which is a huge thing! You are very right---"love" and "affection" are fleeting things, fickle things.

If you can marry for ALL those reasons you gave, plus love, and hey, throw in a little money too...


I tease Chad and tell him that if the best friend thing doesn't workout for us long term, I'm going for money next time. (its a joke)

kittyhox said...

I'll definitely check out the book. Looks interesting.

I just have to totally second your advice.

I can honestly say I didn't marry for love. That probably sounds bizarre, since I am crazy about my husband.

But I didn't really have that romantic, weak in the knees feeling toward him. What I did have was an intense LIKE.

Like I wanted to spend all my time with him. I always wanted to know what he thought about things. I always thought he was interesting, fun, and funny. liked the way we laughed together and were totally comfortable and honest with each other. I liked all of his qualities and the way he took care of his family, friends, and especially me. I liked the way he made me feel.

I just LIKED him SOOOO much!

We've been together seven years and married for five. Albeit not the longest marriage in the world. :) But we are literally the most happily married couple I know.

I think LIKE is more likely to be forever.

And besides, "The heart is deceitful above all things." :)

Katrina said...

This is really great advice! I think the problem with many people is that their definition of love revolves around all those "mushy feelings" and excitement. In my book, real love is a consistent, committed relationship with my best friend. And I SO agree with the "likeminded" advice. "They" say opposites attract but it really helps to be on the same page with those critical issues.

Carrie said...

Yay! Cheering for you! WONDERFUL advice. I married my best friend. I LIKED him so much. Still do. And plan on liking him and respecting him for years to come (even when I disagree -which is frequent). =D

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Yes, still deeply "in like" over here for over 22 years. The issue of respect is one I did not understand when I got married at age 19 but it is way up there at the top now. Lack of respect can corrode virtually every interaction in marriage.