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Friday, July 9, 2010

10 Steps to a Successful Marriage (For Men)

Recently my wife and I celebrated ten years of marriage. The day after our anniversary a friend of mine who has been married less than a year came to me and said, ‘you’ve been married ten years, yet you guys still seem happy. How do you do it?’

I told him I’d get back to him, and that evening I sat down and wrote the ten things every husband must do, at least in my opinion, in order to ensure a successful marriage. I’ll be the first to say I’m no expert, but a decade is a decade, and we’re still madly in love, so something must be going right. As a gift to all husbands everywhere, here is my top ten list for a successful marriage:

10. Communicate!
I know, I know, cheesy. We’re men! We’re supposed to get through life with grunts and hand gestures, but sometimes we do need to talk, and daily conversations with your spouse, even something as mundane as hearing about the rude customer at work, or the lady who tried to exchange a used pair of shoes, allows for the interaction that is essential in a healthy marriage.

9. Know her favorite flower!
Not all women like roses. My wife’s favorite flower is freesia. I know, she could have picked something more readily available, but since freesia is her favorite flower, it’s freesia she gets.

8. Less is more!
Instead of giving her a dozen flowers once a month, give her one flower every few days.
As men we like bombastic things. We like cannons and high powered rifles, big explosions, and giant fireballs, and we attempt to extrapolate these things and incorporate them into our marriage. Well, bigger isn’t always better, and rather than quantity, in general wives appreciate frequency much more.

7. Tell her you love her at least once a day!
‘But she already knows.’ Well, it doesn’t hurt to remind her. Just as we already know certain things yet we like to hear them repeated to us, wives like to hear the words ‘I love you!’

6. Little things matter!
I’ll be the first to admit that even after ten years of marriage I don’t fully understand my wife. About a year ago I bought her a pair of earrings for her birthday, and although she said thank you, she didn’t seem all that impressed. A few days later, I noticed we were running out of toilet paper, and so I went to the store and bought some. When she saw what I’d done, her smile and reaction were such that one would think I’d just gone out and gotten her a diamond necklace. It’s the little things that wives remember most, those things that we might deem insignificant.

5. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to do something special!
If it’s her birthday, or your anniversary, a wife expects that you will do something special. That expectation cancels out any sort of surprise or excitement. While my wife was still going to school, once in awhile I would cook a meal and have it ready when she got home. I could see in her eyes that the simple act of burning some chicken and overcooking some rice meant more to her than a candle light dinner on our anniversary. I am no culinary expert, by any stretch of the imagination, but after ten years, she still lights up when she finds that I’ve cooked for her.

4. Love her for who she is, not for whom you’d like her to be!
Every married man has uttered those fateful words ‘would you marry me?’ and when we did it no one forced us to do it. We entered the bond of marriage with our eyes wide open because we loved the person that was standing before us, and not some apparition of who we thought they could become. My wife is too skinny, and I knew this about her when I asked her to marry me. I am overweight, and she knew this about me when she agreed to marry me. We love each other for who we are, not for who we think we can make each other into. Would I like my wife to gain twenty or so pounds? Most definitely! Do I love her any less because after ten years she hasn’t gained an ounce? No!

3. Respect your spouse!
I have a very visceral reaction whenever I see husbands disrespecting their wives. If we understand the bond of marriage from a Biblical perspective, then the two have become one, and when a husband disrespects his wife, he is in essence disrespecting himself. We value and esteem our wives because they are a gift from God. And if we value them, we will not neglect them; we will not disrespect them, but see them through the eyes of Christ and cherish them accordingly.

2. Keep the marriage bed pure and undefiled!
You said ‘I do’, and from that moment until death does you part, there is no one else. Simple, to the point, and paramount for a successful marriage!

1. Love your wife just as Christ loved the church!
The day we said our marriage vows to each other, was the day I committed to the notion that I would readily and without regret lay down my life for my wife. If the Word commands us to love our wives just as Christ loved the church, then as Christ, we must be ready and willing to lay down our lives for them.

I’m sure there are more, but these ten things have kept us happy, fulfilled and in love for a decade now. Anyone that tells you a successful marriage requires no work either hasn’t been married, or doesn’t have a successful marriage. Without actively working at it, there is always the tendency to grow neglectful, forgetful, or indifferent, and these things can readily breed contempt in the heart of our spouse. I realize some of the things I’ve listed might sound sappy, but they work.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! These are sweet and sappy and yes, TRUE. Thanks for sharing this list, Michael. Many blessings to you and yours. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael, this piece on how to have a successful marriage is so VERY moving to my soul! So precious! Oh, would that every husband and husband-to-be could read it! Would that MY husband would read it! Oh, what lonely agony in trying to build a relationship with an indifferent spouse who would rather be alone during most of his free time, with TV, video games, and novels. How painful it is to be ignored on anniversaries or rarely have any bonding activities. How very careful we must be in choosing a spouse! Alas, I was not a Christian when I chose mine. I believe now that the basis for true oneness is to be, first of all, truly one in Christ. When one spouse is living in the world and the other is walking in the Spirit, it's hard to find common ground for communication.

I didn't mean to get carried away with this response, but your message hit something way down deep inside me. I found myself cheering as I read each of your ten items and saying, "YES!" How wonderful it is to know that there ARE some sensitive, caring, understanding men in this world. Bless you, Michael, and also your wife. May your marriage continue to grow and flourish like a beautiful, ever-blooming springtime garden.

In Christ,

Melanie

Anonymous said...

I hope you will follow up next week with the "For Women" list. So timely in today's "throw away" generation. Thanks, again, Michael. The Lord really uses you. Ever so often, I can still hear your grandpa shouting "Hallelujah" with such emotion (when he would pause for you to translate his message on Wake up America video). This morning I say "Hallelujah" !

Mary

Lloyd D. said...

Congratulations, Michael, to you and your wife on your 10th anniversary of happy marriage. May God continue to bless you both.

Blessings,
Lloyd D.

Lloyd D. said...

Oh, I forgot: great advise on marriage. If Christian men followed the Number 1 piece of advise you gave: "Love you wife, as Christ loves the Church." There'd be a lot less divorce and infidelity in the Church; and a great witness of godly couples for young, single people to be encouraged and strengthened by.

Thanks again!

Blessings,
Lloyd D.

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