Marriage tips come in all shapes and sizes, from the desperately needed to the unasked for. A lot of times we know what we should do, but prefer to do what we "want" to do. In other words, we cave into our prodding anger or false pride. Or we act in ways we know won't bring a good result, but we go for it anyway. It's a lot like banging the TV on its side because the Wi-Fi isn't working. Really? Does that ever work? It is always better to figure things out before reacting.
The top three of the best 10 marriage tips I ever received start with a special technique I invented for our clients and students; The S.E.W. technique.
1. The S is for STOP
As soon as things are heading toward a rat hole, in your head, or in a discussion - STOP! And, by the way, yes, you can! It is your mind, and you can do with it whatever you choose. So, STOP.
2. The E is for EVALUATE
Once you have stopped, you have a chance to ask yourself what is really going on, and what did you do to start heading in the wrong direction? Once you have a little intelligent objective idea of where things are at that moment you can go to the third tip.
3. The W is for WISDOM
You act with wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is found in your heart, and when you are calm it is found in your intuitive conscience. We never get into trouble when we listen to our conscience because it is the actual voice (in a whisper for most of us) of God. And He seriously wants you to be happy.
4. Have NO expectations
I love this tip because it is so darn hard, and I like a challenge. But it is also extremely useful, which is another reason I like it. Ah! I can hear the "yea-buts" flying in like a flock of birds. But, you see, our expectations are always rooted in what we want, and not what our spouse wants. Expectations are based in selfishness, not love. So although there may be reasonable expectations in any relationship, it's the selfish-based expectations that get us in trouble by focusing us on our personal whims instead of expressions of unconditional love.
5. Remember how you saw your spouse when you were dating
Does this need commentary? When you were dating you saw your pre-spouse through eyes of love and gratitude. Why not keep it up? They are still the best spouse in the world-oh yes, they are!
The next four tips I refer to as the three c's and t. They are the Thou Shalt Nots of marriage. Not all of them, but the big ones.
6. Never complain
Complaining reduces you and aggravates the complainee. 'nuf said.
7. Never criticize
There is no such thing as constructive criticism no matter what people who like to complain might say. Complaints do not endear, do they? I want my wife to love me, not watch out in case I complain about something that is probably my weakness, anyway.
8. Never condemn
Oh, my! Seriously? People condemn the person whom they vowed to love, honor and cherish? I would never condemn my wife. I love her. And when she slips and condemns me, I know she is having a very rough day. I do not condemn her back.
9. Never tease
(Sigh) TV and movies would make you think that sarcasm and teasing are funny and make for interesting banter. NOT! The teased is hurt and may react positively because of social expectation. But, they are still hurt.
10. Keep your marriage private
Don't share with friends, family, preachers or therapists. The details of your interactions are not meant to be shared.
You live in a sacred space of marriage where you two, and nobody else, can build your loving relationship. These 10 valued tips can help you along the way.