Friday, April 4, 2014

Some Doosies and Some Dontsies

This first week of the A-Z Challenge is kicking my behind. I think I say that every year, because for some reason the first week of April is always pretty full around here. We were out of town four days just prior to the challenge kick off, and I've had my mom visiting since we got back home. There hasn't been a lot of time to blog, or even think about blogging, let alone visit around like I normally do. Next week people! 

On top of all that we had 55 participants in the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week, and since I'm the hostess I like to at least say hello to the bloggers who link. Pretty sure I'll be declaring a Hodgepodge Spring Break sometime during the month, which is also something I say every year. 

Wednesday April 16th. Hodgepodge Spring Break. Done. Whew!

Okay, where are we now with this A-Z thing? 

D is for Do. And also for Don't.

You would think something as weighty and significant as marriage would come with an instruction book of some sort wouldn't you? Technically it does, but I'll save that for a later post, and in the meantime share my very own list of Top Ten Do's and Don'ts For Married Life.

Do small things on a regular basis. We all know big things matter in life, but in my experience it's the small acts of kindness, self-sacrifice, and generosity, done regularly and without a lot of fanfare, that help create a deep and lasting affection for my husband. It's not that I don't appreciate the big grand gesture, but in a sense husbands and wives expect those.

That compliment when I'm feeling low, encouragement given when I'm feeling beaten down, a Payday candy bar brought home just because he knows I love a Payday candy bar...those are the sorts of things that make my heart feel tender. They fill up the well of love and good will a long marriage needs to go the distance. There are things in a marriage that are going to require you dip into that well from time to time, so keep it full. 

Don't hold a grudge. I know it's not p.c. to say it, but we women kind of excel at this one. In the words of an uber-popular, over-played Disney tune...'Let it Go'. 

Do keep a mental list of your spouse's admirable traits.
Don't refer to that other list you keep of his less than admirable traits.

Oh don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. 

Do put up a united front against the things of this world that threaten to divide you. There are many-popular culture, 'the Joneses', family junk, the almighty dollar, the clock and the calendar, to name just a few. 

Don't talk negatively about your spouse to other people. I think so much of how we feel about our spouse is what we tell ourselves we feel. If we talk about and focus on the things about that person we wish were different, we start to feel dissatisfied. Once dissatisfaction takes root its easy to feed and water it. Conversely, when I focus on all the many things I love about my husband, I feel loving. Funny how that works. 

Do pray. When I get irritated, frustrated, feel impatient or hurt, it helps to step back and take a good hard look at myself. And you know what? Sometimes I realize that I really am the one in the right, and I want to say to God, change him. It's his fault, he's to blame, so Dear God please make him aware of it. Ha! I'm sure God laughs too.  And I'm fairly certain my husband prays a similar prayer from time to time because we're all so human.  It has taken me most of the last 30 years to accept that God is not about proving me right. He is about changing hearts and minds, beginning with my own. I've learned that what helps me to soften, forgive, let go of the hurt, is to ask for eyes to see my husband the way God sees him. When I remind myself of how much God loves him, he becomes easier to love.

Don't nitpick. This is a big one. Nitpicking over every little thing that bugs you does not a harmonious marriage make. Sure there are going to be things that must be worked on or changed as we grow old together, but there are also some things that just have to be lived with. 

Do make your relationship a priority. Laugh. Choose to be happy. We are emotional beings, but we don't have to be ruled by our moods, or those of the person we live with. In fact that word laugh will get a post of it's own because I think laughter is good medicine for whatever ails you, your spouse, or the two of you together. 

Don't compare. Instead do water the grass right where you live. No two marriages are exactly the same. Focus inward on your own spouse, home, and family with all it's joys and challenges. When we have a disagreement it's tempting to say, 'so and so said her husband does xyz'.  My hubs always responds with 'I don't care about so and so, I care about us.' Truth. Me and him. Him and me. We are what matters in terms of our marriage.

There's a quote I've seen many times, I'm not sure who it's attributed to, but it goes like this-"A successful marriage is not about finding the right person. It's about being the right person." 

Be the person you want to be married to. 


  1. My mother's first advice for my married life was "Never start a family feud, Stephanie". I often wonder what She said during her marriage lol But I have listened and since I live next door to my in-laws, it has been the best advice ever in my life!!

  2. Very good list for marriage. I agree with all of them.

  3. Superb list. The mind is such a powerful arena.

  4. Look at your wedding picture - I always love wedding dresses - through all the years!

    You deserve a break - hosting weekly things like that have to get tiring!

  5. From the looks of this post, you'd never know the A-Z Challenge is "kicking your butt"! It's a wonderful post, filled with wonderful advice :)

  6. These are great tips. I would add:

    Do: Communicate your feelings; don't expect him to read your mind.Too often, I think spouses keep their thoughts/feelings/needs to themselves until it's too late and they are turning to someone/something else to meet those needs.

    Don't: Forget that you have plenty of your own annoying behaviors to be tolerated :)

  7. Excellent do's and don'ts for married life. I'm not married yet, but I'll bookmark this for future use. ;)

  8. Well, that was superb and would be a great list to hand every "nearly wed." Marriage is a whole lot of work and but the rewards are definitely worth it. Great, great post!

  9. More good advice, Joyce. Thank you, and thank you for calling a spring break on my birthday!

  10. I like this, some great advice. I have given your blog a shout out from my letter E post on the A to Z tour

  11. This goes hand in hand with what we talked about in our Bible study group last night; be a peacemaker!
    All good advice!

  12. An excellent post. As one who has been through a divorce, I can attest to the validity of all you say above!! Joe and I are going on 30 years (next year). Taking a week off from Hodgepodge - sounds like a plan! You will give us all a break! ;)

  13. Many Christian marriages can function quite well in this manner. Can I add a "Do and a Do not'? Do not blame yourself if you are abused. Do get out for the safety of your children.
    Since I "got out" with nothing but my children, I can't tell you how many (Christian) women I have met who have been in the same situation and never say a word.