1 Give your significant other the benefit of the doubt
We, as women, will many times roll our eyes or begin a fight because we know exactly what our significant other is going to do. Here’s an example: I ask my husband to not drop his backpack in the middle of the kitchen for the MILLIONTH time. He says “Ok I’ll move it in a minute, Chels.” I lash “Ugh, no you won’t.” Then I roll my eyes and move it myself before he has the chance to follow through. To be fair, we know our significant others pretty well. But how would you feel if you were always being judged on what you were probably going to do based on past experiences? Always allow the opportunity for change, even if it’s not likely. If you don’t you’ll be inviting a lot more nagging into your relationship than you want, trust me. This brings me to my next point.
2 Do. Not. Nag.
Not nagging can be as easy as simply rephrasing how we say things to our spouse/significant other. Example:
Nag: “Josh, why do you always forget to put your socks in the wash?”
Not nagging: “Josh, try to remember to put your socks in the wash.”
And if he says “Ok, ok, I will…” refer back to point 1.
Also, remember that we are here to serve our husbands and marriage is not 50/50. Many times you will need to do more than “your share” of the work, and that’s what we signed up for when we said “I do.”
3 Be kind
To make things pretty simple, “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself (Proverbs 11:17).” also “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath (Proverbs 15:1)” These two truths really say all that’s needed to be said. Wouldn’t you rather stop a fight sooner rather than later and not have to deal with so many apologies later?
4 Don’t forget to have fun!
Sometimes I can get into severe busy-body mode when I get so caught up in getting things done and needing my husband’s help and bla bla bla that he’ll sometimes make a joke and I completely forget that I can laugh. When busy, I am almost always, by default, on edge. I need to consciously remind myself to not take myself so seriously, to slow down, and remember that I can be busy and still have fun. Being able to laugh with your significant other will strengthen your friendship and ultimately protect your relationship from complacency. It’ll be great in the good times and bring you closer together in the hard times.
5 Quick forgiveness
There will be times when our significant other messes up. There will be times when we are clearly wronged. In those times, it is best to forgive, and forgive quickly. Don’t get me wrong- this is not easy. Everything in us demands justice and vindication- but marriage isn’t about justice. It’s about humility (just as apologising is humbling, so is forgiving), it’s about service, and it’s about love. And in the times when you find it the most hard to forgive, repeat this to yourself until you can “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive (Colossians 3:13).”
6 Unconditional Respect
Emerson Eggerichs writes in his book Love & Respect, “We asked 7,000 people this question: ‘When you are in conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?’ 83% of the men said ‘disrespected.’ 72% of the women said ‘unloved.'”
We many times assume that in marriage our husband owes us unconditional love, even when we are at times not very lovable. On the other hand, however, our husband needs to earn our respect and, in that case, can lose it in an instant. According to Dr. Eggerich’s statistics, men need to feel respected just as much as women inherently feel the need to be loved. Not sure how to help them feel respected? Refer back to the previous points for help.
I’m not going to go into detail here. Basically, you know what you should do. If you find yourself “hanging out” with your spouse just staring at your phones, tv, laptops for an extended period of time- just give it a break. Put your electronics in another room. Go on a walk. Get some coffee. Have a conversation that is not circumstantial together. You won’t regret the time missed on your phone, trust me.