Having a happy marriage

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When you first get married, things usally go pretty well. There are a lot of adjustments to make because you are used to doing things one way and now you have a spouse that will be there all of the time. They don't go home at the end of the day because they live at the same place that you do. Perhaps you had to decide who's furniture to keep and what to get rid of. You have to decide how you both want the house set up and many other decisions. One thing you have in your favor during this time of change is that you are in love and you have all of these great plans for your life.

After a while reality kicks in. Hopefully it waits a while and doesn't come in your first week or two of marriage. You will have more disagreements because you are now living in the same house. You will disagree on what to spend your money on, what to eat, where to go at times and so on. You need to talk about your disagreements and see what what is good for the two of you as a couple.

Be sure to make a budget and stick to it. I remember talking to a young man who had a job but never had any money. I had him to make out a budget showing how he spent his money and how much he should have left over to put in a savings account for a rainy day. He made out the budget and showed it to me. After we were finished he threw it into a garbage can. I asked him why he was doing that with his budget. He asked me "You mean I have to hang on to it?" I told him that's the only way he will know how much to spend on things and to know if he is not living according to his budget. With a budget you have to figure out how much you make and what to pay on bills. After you get everything planned out, you will have to keep the budget around to make sure you stay true to it. Otherwise you will wake up some day and discover that you are $50,000 in debt and have nothing to show for it. With a budget you will know if you can afford to buy a new TV or if you can go out to dinner because you will know just how much you have set aside for these things. If there is something that you feel that you have to have you may have to go in and make some changes to the budget. If you can't justify it with your budget you may have to forget about getting it for now and see if you can afford it later.

In your marriage vows you say "for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health..." Most people don't mind the better, the richer, and the health part of that vow but they get upset with the worse, the poorer, and the sickness part and may want a divorce. Remember that when you make this vow that it is to God and to your spouse. Just because things get hard to deal with doesn't make it ok to call it quits. You are a team and as a team it is up to the two of you to work things out.

Don't go into this marriage with the attitude that if it doesn't work out that you can always get a divorce and move on with your life. If you have this attitude there is a good chance that your marriage will eventually fail. Go into this marriage with the attitude that it is "Till death do us part".

Have a family alter.
A family alter is when you get together with your spouse (and eventually with your children too) and have a time when you read the Bible together and pray together. You can discuss what you have read if you want to. That way you can teach and learn from each other. Hopefully this will be done every night (or morning). When you make time for God in your marriage it will be a better marriage.

Don't try to change the person after you are married. I have talked to many engaged people that have the attitude that "I can change this bad habit of his after we get married." I have found that this is usally not true. Usally the bad habits get worse over the years, not better. and if you nag him or her about a bad habit you can make things really bad for your marriage.

Don't correct their grammer constantly, espically if they are from another part of the country than you are or from a foreign country. Each part of the country has certain ways of saying things that may differ from the way that you say it. This doesn't make it right or wrong, it's just different. We all tend to believe that we say things correctly and if someone says it differently then they must be wrong. That is part of the person that you marry. Don't bug them about expressions that they say or about the way that they may pronounce a certain word. There are enough rude people where you live that will make fun of their accents. It is your job to lift them up, not tear them down. If it is important to them, they will change the way they talk. When I first got married, I used to correct my wife's grammer. She would not say things the way they should have been said. As the son of a mother who's favorite subject in school was english I thought it was my responsibility to teach her the right way to speak. The only thing it did was to make her mad at me. I learned the hard way not to critisize the way she talked. Later I realized that it wasn't that big of a deal and there were a lot more important things in life and in a marriage to worry about. If it is really that big of a deal that you don't think you can live with the way they talk then don't marry them because you will have problems with this for the rest of your life.

Watch out about criticizing how they dress. You should have a long enough dating time to know about their fashion sense. You can make someone really mad at you if you are not careful. If you have expectations about how they are to dress make sure that they know them before the marriage.

Remember that you are now a team and should help each other out. This means that one person should not do all of the work. This means that you should not do everything for your spouse. I have seen many older couples that have health problems and one of them goes into the hospital and has a really hard time because they are used to their husband or wife doing everything for them. I met a couple where the husband was in a rehab hospital because he had to have a hip operation and he didn't want to do anything because he was used to his wife doing everything for him. She told me that she has waited on him hand and foot for the last 50 years. I told her that it was a mistake to do that and she said that she now sees that. I have known wives that had no idea how to use a check book or anything else that had to do with finances or running the family business because the husband had done all of it. The husband didn't want her to have to worry about those things so he did it all. When you do things like that you are not helping the person that you love. If something happens to you, your spouse will be dependent on other people to help that may not understand your wishes or may not have your loved ones best interests in mind.

Have a DATE NIGHT!!!
Go out on a date one night a week for the rest of your marriage. You may go out to eat and then go out to a movie or you might go out hiking or on a bike ride. Make sure that it is something that you both enjoy and will have a lot of fun doing. The date doesn't have to cost much money. Some people just like to walk on the beach holding hands and sitting down in the sand to hear the ocean waves. This is cheep and very romantic for most couples. It is up to you what you do and how you spend your time. The important thing is to have this time together at least once a week. This will really help your marriage out. Make sure that you keep this up after the children come along. After you have children it becomes even more important to do this. Make sure that nothing interferes with your weekly date. Don't get too busy to have your date. Hire a baby sitter if you have to. If your parents are able to or you have some good friends or other family members that are able to help you out, take advantage of their help. Don't be like a friend of mine that wouldn't even let her parents babysit her newborn because she didn't trust anyone to take care of her. I told her that her parents were more qualified to take care of the child than she was since they had raised several children and she had raised none.

I will be adding things to this page as I have inspiration and time.

Brother Hugh

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