I am no expert on marriage, after all I have only been married once. (That's a joke, not intended to offend those of you on your second or third marriage.) I am happily married and have been married for 15 years. I have 6 children and they all know that I am totally in love with their father. So though I am no expert, I have opinions and ideas that have worked well for me. Here they are, my 10 Thoughts on Marriage.
1. With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) No matter the state of your marriage, God can fix it. He is the healer and restorer of broken hearts.
2. Without God, I'm not really sure how two sinful, selfish people ever expect to make it. Maybe other people can figure out how to put aside their selfish nature and seek first the happiness of of another without the help God, but I'm just not sure how. Before I knew God, my marriage was good. But then, it was new. We were happy enough the first 5 years, but looking back I can see the road we were heading down would never have worked.
3. Children are a blessing of a happy marriage, not a ticket to a happy marriage. Having a baby will not fix a bad marriage, nor improve an already good marriage. Children add stress as well as joy to a couple's lives. The inability to have children adds even more stress to a marriage. Your marriage needs to be strong and happy independent of children.
4. Don't let the other adult living in your house be a stranger when the children move out. Children will be a huge focus for about 20 years, then you have the next 20+ that you still have to be able to live with this other person. There will be days, sometimes many back to back, where you must give more focus to the children than your spouse, but you must make time for your spouse. My children love and are comforted by the fact that my husband and I adore each other. It makes them feel secure.
5. Your spouse should be your best friend. See number four. There may be times you need to talk to a woman (or man) about things your husband (or wife) doesn't understand, but your spouse should share the secrets of your heart. He should be the one in whom you confide your fears and the one with whom you share your joys and successes as well as your heartbreaks and failures.
6. Men and women are different. Deal with it. Try to appreciate it.
7. Marriage isn't 50/50. It is 100/100. On the days that you can only give 20% your spouse has to give 80% so that on the days he can only give 20% you can give 80%. If you are looking to get what you give in a marriage, you will always be disappointed.
8. It's a good thing your spouse isn't perfect or he(she) would never have chosen to marry you. I'm thinking this shouldn't need any more explanation. You know you. If you are honest, I'm guessing you know what I mean.
9. Forgiveness is essential. Even when you don't want to. Perhaps especially when you don't want to. See number 1.
10. Laugh. Play, have fun. This is probably the hardest for me. Sometimes you have to let your husband chase you down with a garden hose. Laughter helps with the joy. It helps children feel happy and secure. It is essential for a healthy heart.