The best marriage advice ever.

The best marriage advice ever. September 24, 2014

Below is a list of 25 ways to instantly improve your marriage. For daily marriage-building tools, a library of marriage ebooks and some stellar communication tools to help you and your spouse stay connected download our new Marriage App in iTunes by clicking here.

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When Ashley and I got married thirteen years ago, we were young and in love, but we were also pretty clueless (me especially)! Along the way, we’ve had so many people share wise advice and life experiences with us which has helped guide our family through good times and hard times. Through the years, I’ve been collecting some of the best wisdom others have shared with us (and some I had to learn through my own mistakes).

If you’ll apply these twenty-five principles below to your relationship, it could make a life-changing difference in your marriage!

 

In no particular order:

1. Choose to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not a feeling.

2. Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling and when possible, try to keep your phone off when you’re together with your spouse.

3. Make time together a priority. Budget for a consistent date night. Time is the “currency of relationships” so consistently invest time into your marriage.

4. Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage and remove yourself from people who may tempt you to compromise your character.

5. Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage. Share moments of joy, and even in the hard times, find reasons to laugh.

6. In every argument, remember that there won’t be a “winner” and a “loser.” You are partners in everything so you’ll either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution.

7. Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It’s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak. (This is one of the many wise nuggets from my amazing wife, Ashley!)

8. Prioritize what happens in the bedroom. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it!

9. Remember that marriage isn’t 50-50, divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It’s not splitting everything in half, but both partners giving everything they’ve got!

10. Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone else.

11. Learn from other people, but don’t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone else’s. God’s plan for your life is masterfully unique!

12. Don’t put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your kids or else you’ll end up with an empty nest and an empty marriage.

13. Never keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy.

14. Never lie to each other. Lies break trust and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage.

For more marriage-building tools, download our new Marriage App in iTunes and you can also download a FREE chapter from my new book “The 7 Laws of Love” by clicking here.

15. When you’ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly seek forgiveness. You should be quick to say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” 

16. When your husband/wife breaks your trust, give them your forgiveness instantly which will promote healing and create the opportunity for trust to be rebuilt. You should be quick to say, “I love you. I forgive you. Let’s move forward.”

17. Be patient with each other. Your spouse is always more important that your schedule.

18. Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives.

19. Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not his/her biggest critic. Be the one who wipes away their tears, not the one who causes them.

20. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places.

21. Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you’re always connected to your spouse and it will remind the rest of the world that you’re off limits!

22. Connect into a community of faith. A good church can make a world of difference in your marriage and family.

23. Pray together. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it.

24. When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time!

25. Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other!

For more tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, check out our new download our new Marriage App on iTunes and you can also download a FREE chapter from my new book, “The 7 Laws of Love” by clicking here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Love is not leaving. Too many times I’ve thought, I’ve got to get away from her. I then remember that I love her and I will do what it takes to “solve” whatever is making me think that way. It’s easy to leave, It’s hard to stay, I stay because I love her.

  • David

    Thanks Dave. I truly appreciate the website and all the content you put out. I really am working on the list, being an Ephesians 5:25 man. For most of our marriage it was about me and I was not truly Christlike, ultimately enabling a huge rift between us.

    Each day I choose love and seek out the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me so I may be a true source of life and strength to my wonderful bride. I am praying for you and your family today. Please keep sharing the good news. God bless.

  • tabatha

    I’m trying

  • Kathy

    my mom said “there will be good and there will be bad..remember don’t tell me because you’ll forgive him and I won’t” been married 47 years and she was so right

  • Leony Mancilla

    Thank you for a good advice. God bless you and more of God’s wisdom.

  • Leony Mancilla

    Thanks for your good advice it’s helpful and may God bless you more, of wisdom and knowledge.

  • Jeff

    Wow! Best instruction I’ve seen and free! Thanks so much. Will definitely be getting this book. This information is useful before your married, during a marriage, or even after a divorce to educate you so your prepared to start the next relationship off correctly.

  • alicb17@gmail.com

    God bless for helping couples to do better.:)

  • I love this. Thank you for puting this out there in a world where divorce seems to be America’s favorite pass time.

  • When your soouse is having trouble finding work, help them, don’t say things that will cause them to feel like a loser who doesn’t deserve your love. They will resent you for it. My husband helped me these passed two days and I feel like I may actually find a job now. I feel validated, like he really does love me. I think we’re going to be ok.

  • Cyd

    1-Tell your spouse at least once a day every day that you love them.

    2-If you open your mouth to say something and realize it is mean or just angry, tell them you love them instead.

  • Barbara Bernard

    Always let your spouse know they are still attractive to you. As the years pass time tends to take a toll on our body’s. Sometimes it is that extra few pounds of baby weight that you just can’t lose or the laugh lines that don’t seem so funny. What ever the case. Let your spouse know without a doubt the he or she is still the sexiest person in your world and that you only have eyes for them.

  • Carlene

    My mothers advise to me before my marriage 55 years ago was always be the first to admit your wrong and apologize when you have a disagreement. The best advise ever.

  • Danny meyer

    Erin, you are absolutely right! I have been in the same situation, multiple times with my wife, I feel as if this should be added to the list, because it really does make one feel “worthless” or perhaps rejected or like their spouse is trying to parent them, and not be their partner. I think this is Great advice! Thank you

  • Sharon Skelton

    Good advice and perfect timing!

  • Sidney

    This is what a “good marriage” should look like. But too many times we are not in a good marriage. I really disagree with the last one, #25. It takes two to make a marriage, you can’t do it alone! Too many times have I seen an abusive spouse, and there is no reason to stay in that situation. Sometimes divorce is the best option! Marriage should be about cooperation, love, and sharing. Many times that doesn’t exist!

    You can control your own behavior, but you can’t control your spouses!

  • Michelle

    After a 7 year split, we remarried on our 28th anniversary….happy ending…..The Lord led me to suggest to him that on the dates of our birthdays each month. i.e. the 1st for me and the 20th for him that we do something nice for each other. Whether a card, a gift, an outing, dinner out etc. It helps us to think about the other a few days before the other’s “day” and helps us to think outside the box with each other. It’s worked out very nicely!

  • Danny

    #26 – One of my former pastors advised all of us youngsters in the congregation, “Never let the sun go down on an argument or harsh words left unresolved. These days it is too easy to retreat into our own private electronic worlds and leave smoldering embers to flare up again. A fire isn’t out until it is out cold.

  • Cathi Tolbert

    Never, Ever go to bed angry. Always talk out your problems, whether they be major or minor, because even the smallest of conflicts can cause major upheaval in any case. Even one small pea sized bump in the road can cause some really substantial damage along the way.

  • GoodDad

    Actually, Theodore, I disagree. Love does NOT mean staying no matter what. It means you love yourself enough to expect and demand proper treatment. All that will happen if you don’t insist on change is that in time you’ll be 20 years older, easy to tempt into an affair, and angry at God over your disappointing marriage.

    I stay in my 30-year marriage because I WANT TO. Divorce is always an option, and I want to convince my wife that staying with me is preferable to being with anybody else!

    If you act powerless to fix your marriage, you will be. Take action, tell your wife what needs to be fixed and set a deadline. Strong marriages – not empty, duty-filled ones – are what makes Christians better.

  • GoodDad

    Absolutely right, Sidney. All relationships can end, and when you believe they can’t, most people get complacent. It doesn’t matter if you’re unhappy with our sex life, you can’t leave. It doesn’t matter if you’re constantly disappointed with my attitude or choices, you’re stuck with me. In that marriage model, I don’t have to care nor change!

    I taught my children that there are consequences to bad choices, and that applies to marriage partners as well. Once my spouse quits caring about what’s important to me, we have a problem that *will* get resolved, one way or another. It’s not a threat, it’s an expectation. I only want a spouse that WANTS to be married to me, and that I want to be married to.

  • GoodDad

    It’s too bad, Carlene, that most people play the “I’m right and you’re wrong” game. I wish more followed your Mom’s advice.

  • Azucena Montales

    i love to read about your advices. it will be a big help for married couples. more power to you.

  • EclecticPanache

    our marriage is sexless – including hubby sleeping in recliner so there is no snuggling and little touching. there is very rarely any laughter at all. I’ve caught him lying to me about something very serious involving a financial transaction. Just a few negatives from the above list of advice for a great marriage. I am open to comments.

  • This is some awesome advice and well worth passing on to other couples. Marriage is one of the hardest things to maintain in our society today, but it can be done by implementing these wonderful tips.

  • Kelsey Jo Routson

    This is absolutely on point. We just learned a vast majority in our marriage sermon at church. Except instead of “perfect marriage” we call it a killer marriage =] My marriage is the best it has every been! Blessings! <3

  • Madelline

    I’m sorry. :- Maybe instead of scheduling a weekly date night, try to schedule at least one day a week that he joins you in bed for some snuggling before you fall asleep in each other’s arms. You have to start somewhere but focusing on positives instead of negatives.

    After a few weeks, you could also schedule a weekly date night and alternate staying in and cooking and/or eating dinner together and watching your favorite movies. These nights could be followed by snuggling then falling asleep together.

    It sounds like you may need to talk to him about redirecting your marriage and come up with a plan together (it could help to come with a couple of ideas of your own). Without knowing anything except what you’ve shared, I think you both need to decide that this is not the type of marriage you want and work towards improving your situation. You may need to consider more drastic changes, like separation, if he’s absolutely unwilling to try. Good luck dear.

  • Robert Chandler

    Because people never make mistakes…………… I have found it best not to judge other peoples relationships based on your expectations….. Love can conquer stupid mistakes.

  • Robert Chandler

    Dont install your needs for a relationship on to others. Intimacy is important but some people can live without it.

  • maryellensue

    So in other words, there should be no compromise or conversation, but instead the use of ultimatums? Plus make sure the sex is great, because the other person must be unlovable mentally and physically otherwise?
    Seriously?? Are you serious? Maybe it works for you and whoever is willing to go along with that, but your advice probably won’t work for everyone.

  • Robert Chandler

    Obviously there all unforgivable things that I am sure this author wasnt trying to advocate. Some of which you mention. Though you idea that refusing to have sex is an unforgivable behaviour is quite scary.

  • Robert Chandler

    Thats for you then. Everyone is different. So if you can no longer perform your wife should leave you?

  • Heather

    Meh. Some of it is unrealistic. Doesn’t take into account cheaters, porn addicts, drug addicts, users, abusers, embezzlers and gaming addicts….you can’t forgive those, and you must stop putting them first. i guess I only really need advice grounded in the real world of not-so-perfect. In a perfect world, this advice, however, is golden.

  • Prophet George W Bush PBUH

    If you dont make the mistake of getting married guys like Paul advised the Corinthians, you’ll never have to worry about any of this.

  • Victoria Gevara

    D: ..my father can’t be with my mom due to medical reasons, ( scars me that she told me that) but she told me that bc she just wanted me to know that marriage is about so much more than sex. You can be intimate without full on sex. This is why you wait to have sex until your married I think, bc you don’t want it to be centered around each others bodies. Because we all will get old and ounce your old it’s hard to find another partner and even harder so an active sex partne

  • Dee Light

    This is the truth. Marriage helps you to be changed into the image of God. Allowing you to think about (a significant) other more than about yourself. A wonderful adventure where you learn about God and His creation. Paul did say that but for those who do not have the gift, marriage is such an everyday life changing experience — As long as we never forget that we are 3, not for our own pleasure, but for a greater purpose. Marriage with God is always about His greater plan to use us as a tool to touch other’s life. May God keeps on blessing you And your half.

  • trebor

    Ogden Nash wrote: To keep the marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, whenever you’re wrong, admit it, when ever your right, shut up!

  • Michelle

    If these character traits were not evident before you married, then it sounds like one of you is keeping secrets. So, this advice would apply to an imperfect world – don’t keep secrets. Mistakes are made – big and small – and forgiveness should be offered, and then professional help should be sought, with the support of a loving spouse (if there is true love), and hopefully healing will follow.

  • Michelle

    I completely disagree. The definition of intimacy is “close familiarity or friendship; closeness” not just endless amounts of sex. Yes, intimacy is very important in a marriage, but intimacy does not always equal sex. If you think that your wife should leave you when your wiener stops working, then clearly you’re in it for the wrong reasons. What will you do when your wife is going through menopause and her sexual drive is diminished? Poor woman.

  • racknstack

    Get out.

  • Johanna in NZ

    Marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the Church – sacrificial, unconditional and eternal. Christ does not set deadlines or threaten to divorce us.

  • Johanna in NZ

    It is possible that your husband is finding sexual fulfillment in other ways – even masturbation. I would suggest praying about this. Ask God to show you anything you have been hiding from your husband. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in your husband so that he can no longer keep secrets from you. God wants you to have a good marriage – He is on your side!

  • Johanna in NZ

    You boast about your great sex-life and your financial status. These things mean nothing eternally. How is your relationship with God and have you repented of your sin?
    “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.”
    But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
    Jesus calls you to repent and open the door to Him.

  • Johanna in NZ

    Being a Christian for 40 years doesn’t mean you really are walking with the Lord.

    You have advocated divorce and finding another partner if things don’t work out. God says, “I hate divorce,” (Malachi 2:16) and Jesus stated, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18) You are blatantly contradicting the Word of God.

  • Johanna in NZ

    I actually have an amazing marriage now, but I know what I am talking about because I was in a similar situation. What changed our marriage was prayer and honesty. God has done an extraordinary work in transforming our marriage. If you use the world’s weapons and wisdom, you won’t get spiritual results. A true marriage is the wedding together of flesh, soul and spirit. It may not be possible if your partner is not going to submit to God, but if you are both submitted to God, then marriage (and sex) take on another whole dimension.

  • Vanessa

    i want to testify about a sorceress who brought my husband back to me and I’m happily married to a lovely and caring husband ,with two kids.A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn’t love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back, after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a Sorceress, because it has really worked for him too. So i never believed in Sorcery, but i had no other choice, than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the Sorceress whom he visited.{ mamajajasorceress@yahoo.com }. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the woman assured me that i will get my husband back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so she spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn’t call me for the past seven {7}months, gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a Sorceress. So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same email mamajajasorceress@yahoo.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to the Sorceress mama jaja for bringing back my husband ,and brought great joy to my family once again. {mamajajasorceress@yahoo.com} .

  • Bellanova

    I hope your situation has improved, EP. Would you care to give an update?

  • Bellanova

    Good post with good advice, even though I’m not religious and do not find use for 21, 22, and 23 (but I can see how valuable these tips are for the religious).

  • Maria Giselle

    do you want to keep your marriage strong break old habits start new routines. http://bit.ly/1PGf4Lh

  • Betty Craigo

    Yes I do want to start something new for us.

  • Betty Craigo

    I have chatted with this man in another country because of my husband and I being separated by his alcoholic problem. Later I realized that I need to let this man go before it got out of hand. On his part it did and I tried to break it off but he don’t.

  • sabrina
  • Ann_W

    1 Cor. 11:11 Neither is the man without the woman in the Lord…. In the other reference you’re referring to Paul was just talking about a specific situation that he was responsible for that required him to remain unmarried (missionary work and being imprisoned, etc.). If you aren’t married I hope you’re not committing fornication, that’s a big no-no in scripture.

  • Prophet George W Bush PBUH

    First of all, I’m already married so you don’t need to worry about me “fornicating”. I’m here to advise young men against marrying to ensure they don’t get taken to cleaners by the feminazis running our society (including the church). Secondly, you’re making the argument that men MUST marry in order to be in the Lord……so are you of the opinion that Dan Brown was correct??? That Jesus actually did marry Mary Magdalene? Otherwise He could not be “in the Lord”……your argument completely falls apart. We don’t need women…..we never needed women……you have used societal influences to convince the male species that they can’t make it without you……it’s non-sense…..and now it’s a necessity to make sure we can make it alone. Anyone that doesn’t think so should sit in a family court for a day and watch the men get financially and emotionally raped. Marriage simply isn’t a viable solution for men any longer……we get nothing from it and we lose everything when she decides she’s had enough. FORGET ABOUT IT. I stay married to have an honest shot at invoking some of my own values into my kids. I lost that shot on my first marriage/mistake when she decided she couldn’t keep her legs closed, took my kids and left. Never again.

  • Ann_W

    Wow, with that experience I can see why this is an important topic for you. Sorry, that sucks. I just don’t like to see the argument against marriage from the Bible because all the way from Genesis it’s emphasized as God’s way. I actually do believe that Jesus was married from way before Dan Brown’s theories. All Jewish men of that age were, and he had to be to preach where he did.

    But anyway isn’t a better message for young men to take the time to make sure you have a decent woman before marrying. If you don’t fool around before your married you can take the time to make sure you’re compatible without all the physical things rushing you into an I’ll advised Union, and you get an idea if the person can exercise self control.

  • Prophet George W Bush PBUH

    No, it is not a better message. At one time it was…..that time has long since passed. Men can’t do enough to protect themselves from women today. Even Pre-Nup agreements are being thrown out of courts in favor of women taking what men have when they haven’t earned it. It’s wrong. Men should NOT marry under any circumstance these days unless and until the culture of our society and its laws are changed to make it more fair when things don’t go well. Men are no longer a partnership in a marriage or a relationship…..we are simply a revenue stream.

  • Cherry N.

    Thank you very much for sharing this. This is very good advice! Wishing you joy and fulfillment in your marriage with your wife.