As my wife Ashley and I have worked with couples, we’ve discovered an crucial principle…
One of the most important factors to determine the success or failure of a marriage is where the couple gets their marriage advice.
In other words, if you’re getting solid marriage advice, you’re more likely to have a solid marriage. If you’re getting bad marriage advice, you’re more likely to have a bad (or nonexistent) marriage. Marriage advice can be incredibly helpful or it can be incredibly dangerous!
So, how can we tell which is the good advice and which is the bad?
Is it all a matter of opinion or feeling or preference? I would challenge you to put ALL the advice your process (whether from online sources like me, from TV shows, books, friends, relatives, co-workers or any other source) through the following matrix to determine the good and throw out the bad:
To determine if marriage advice is healthy, ask yourself these questions…
1. Is this advice based on fact or opinion?
There’s certainly a place for opinion, but your marriage is far too important to base solely on opinion. As a Christian, I firmly believe all marriages are stronger when they’re based on the truth of God’s design for love. I put all my marriage advice through the filter of the Bible. If you’re not sure what the Bible actually says about marriage, check out my post on 8 surprising teachings about Marriage in the Bible.
2. Does the giver of this advice have a healthy marriage?
Get advice from people who have the kind of marriage that you’d like to have. Your hairdresser might give advice about everything, but if she’s been married five times, take her advice about hair but not about marriage. No marriage is perfect, but plenty of marriages are healthy. Ask the healthy couples.
3. Does the giver of this advice care about me AND my spouse too?
Some people in your life may love you, but not care much about your spouse. Their advice will never be balanced. The best advice will come from those who care about you and your spouse too. Any advice that would help you but hurt your spouse is NOT good marriage advice.
4. Is this advice truly what’s best for my marriage and family?
With anything anyone (including me) tells you about marriage, ask yourself, “If I put this into practice, will my marriage and family benefit as a result.”
For more tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, check out my bestselling book, iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage which is now also available on iTunes as an ebook download for iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices by clicking HERE.
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