Hannah and Alex are good friends of ours and have been mentors to Mark and I for the last 5 years. They have spent many a skype call giving us marriage advice, asking us how everything is going and whether we are taking enough time together to be a couple. They have done a great job in giving us wise advice when we have been stuck at a pit-stop or two along the way! Their marriage has been an inspiration to us, and I am so pleased that they have agreed to contribute to Marriage Month on this blog.
Our best piece of marriage advice? My husband, Alex, and I were on a road-trip together the other day and were processing this question. The first thing out of Alex's mouth was, “Choose Well!!”
Thankfully, I think I did choose well – hooray!
Presuming you've managed to do that, what would be another piece of good advice?
I don't know what you'd say, but we thought that mutual submission and putting the other's interests before your own was a good one.
Ephesians 5:21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”.
When Alex puts me and my wishes first (which I must say, he's quite good at!) it fills me with a greater love for him. When he really goes the extra mile and puts himself out for me (gets my favorite food in and rents a chick flick, or spends several hours working on a business website for me instead of ploughing through his mountain of work) then I love him even more! Are we fickle or what?!
Over the years, and we're coming up for 19 years of marriage, we have got to know each other's likes and dislikes. I normally try hard to avoid the things he dislikes, like a messy house, and try to focus on doing something nice for him.
Despite this, when I'm in life's busy routine, I can, from time to time, feel myself getting resentful and annoyed with my husband. That's often due to the build up of, let's face it, the silly little irritants that come from living with anyone, however nice they might be! I can get into selfish ways of thinking: how it's not fair or why doesn't he do this or that.
That's the moment when I need to stop and pray, confess my selfishness and think of what I can do that's best for him. Sometimes, that will be confrontation, or a talk to clear the air. More often, though, it's neither of these, but an act of kindness that shows him that I love him. It's about seeing and bringing out the best in your spouse. It's about telling them what they're good at, encouraging them (a lot) and, very importantly, having fun together!
Sometimes it's easy to serve my husband. I love to do it, it makes me feel good and it reaps immediate reward. At other times, it's a chore. I have to swallow my pride and make a choice to submit.
Years ago, I read a book that talked about love-banks: what are those things that make you feel emotionally valued and loved?
What are those things that make your spouse feel emotionally valued and loved?
We need to put points in our spouse's love-bank and never let it become overdrawn!
When we're busy, that is sometimes hard to do!
However, I've learnt (for instance) to take 2 minutes from time to time, to stop what I'm doing and give Alex a big hug and say something nice to him or look lovingly into his eyes.
I know that this helps fill his love bank, and is part of how I put him first.
- So, what could you do to bring out the best in your spouse?
- Do you need to submit in a particular area?
- Talk with your husband or wife and ask them to name 5 things which you have done in the past week which have put points in their love-bank.
- Write them down and do them again sometime!
Hannah is married to Alex. They have 3 very cheeky sons and a very bouncy chocolate lab called Molly. They have lived in The US for almost 6 years but originally hail from England. They are passionate about raising up kingdom leaders who will extend the gospel all over the world! Check out Alex's blog at www.alexabsalom.com