Mike and I were married January 25, 1972. After 47 years of marriage, I believe I can offer some helpful advice. These are just four keys that I have used in our marriage:
God first, Husband Second
Mike and I are different in many ways; our diet, our politics, our workout regimens, but yet we manage to find balance in our marriage.
When I left the Catholic Church for a season, Mike had a difficult time accepting my newfound faith. Mike believed that the “Born-again” Protestant faith was too emotional, and that the services were too long. I was so busy growing by leaps and bounds in my newly found faith, and becoming a good Christian, that I lost sight of the fact that we had become unequally yoked.
When the Lord called me back into the Catholic church, Mike decided to made a serious commitment to attend Mass with me as a family. The Catholic Mass is structured, and so is Mike, he understands the status quo of the service and feels comfortable.
Things were shifting in our lives when we returned to our cradle faith. I now make it a priority to attend Mass every Sunday. My prayers are a personal dialogue with God. I pray before the Blessed Sacrament regularly. We all need special graces to make a marriage work. Both Mike and I understand the importance of God in our lives.
God should always be first in your lives. Many marriages fall into disarray because the spouses fail to follow this order. For example, if a man puts his mother before his wife, this will just cause dissension between the wife and mother-in-law. The husband’s message to his wife is that his mother is more important.
If a wife puts their children before her husband, the husband will feel the void and look elsewhere to nurture his emotional needs.
Roles have changed and marriage is a two-way street. Mutual respect is what is needed to keep that open line of communication. Communication is the main factor in filling your needs in a marriage. Half of our workforce is made up of women, and this changes the household responsibilities. Men need to help more with running the household.
Prayer is the bond that firmly holds a marriage together. I cannot go one day without asking God to help with my daily endeavors. Through all of our marital trials, God has always been in the midst. At times, when I do not feel His presence, so my prayers became more intense. The Lord will never leave us, or forsake us. Mike and I pray together, especially for our children and grandchildren.
Mike is a special man that does much for our relationship. He washes my car, fills it with gas, and regularly brings me fresh flowers. Many times Mike cooks for our family, and he helps me clean up our home. Why does Mike do all these wonderful things? Because I am submissive to him as the head of our household, I fuss over him! If you confuse your role in a marriage, as feminists would have you believe, you will have no peace. This is a saying that I have coined: “If you want to be treated like a queen, treat your husband like a king.”
I always thank Mike for all that he does for me. Sometimes I will call him just let him how much I appreciate him. We must always be appreciative of our husbands; we all need affirmation. Showing gratitude toward your husband instills in him his proper godly role. A good man will go above and beyond when he is shown true love.
Never nag; this is the worst display of berating a man, and a sure way of causing great division.
Do Mike and I have arguments? Yes, we are human, but it’s how we learned to resolve our differences that has changed. We try to not let the sun go down on our anger. After an argument with Mike, I ask him something as simple as, “Are you ready to have dinner?” We do not rehash the argument. We move past it by allowing the Holy Spirit to heal the present situation. I occasionally will slam a door, because it does release tension. As wives, we need to know how to handle a difficult situation; picking your battles carefully is the most important advice I can give you, I learned from my friend Helen.
Ephesians 4:26-27 New King James Version (NKJV)
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give [a]place to the devil.
Leave the little things to prayer, and address the big things in a calm manner. A lot of times when things escalate, read the body language, or the tone of voice. Learn how to walk away without causing pain or saying unkind words that you will regret; this works both ways.
I know that there are a lot of things in my life that need improvement, and we need to take into consideration that our husbands do not come perfect from the marriage factory. My biggest dilemma is patience. I struggle from lack of patience, and in turn I make Mike suffer. Patience is a virtue, and it has taken a lifetime for me to understand, so pray for me. I still toil with the misfortune of being easily irritated by things that are out of my control. I’m a complainer, because I have yet to mastered patience.
Marriage is a daily task that needs special attention. Start your day with prayer. If your husband does not pray with you, read him Scripture, starting with Proverbs.
James 1:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [a]perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Sometimes you need to talk to a good friend or trusted family member to help you sort through spousal disagreements. Always go to people who serve God and want the best for you and your husband. Many times just by talking to my sister Norma, or my dear friend Cindy, I feel a cloud is lifted. Spirit filled-friends always offer solid advice, and can quench a fire before it get out of control. My daughter Sonja recently shared with me that I was not being gracious about a concern that I was going through with Mike. She was right, and I took her counsel to heart. If this does not work, go to counseling, which has worked for us. When we are sick we seek the expertise of a doctor, and when our head is not right we need to seek the assistance of a therapist, a Christian therapist. Talk to your priest, or your pastor, go to confession, get rid of the anger.
2 Corinthians 6:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
If God hates divorce, guess who loves it? Always be aware that Satan wants you to fail in your marriage and will do anything to cause division. Recognize the signs of the Devil, and fight for your marriage. Become the fascinating woman God created you to be. Be the wife that when your husband walks into a room filled with people, he will scan the crowd until your eyes lock and you both know all is well with the world.