All over the internet you can find hundreds of thousands of articles about making your marriage better, stronger, and unbreakable. If you’re a Pinterest user, you’ve seen entire boards dedicated to these things. I can’t lie, I have a board for my marriage that consists of articles, pieces of advice, and quotes.
I get this love for marriage related things. I truly do; I enjoy reading other’s advice and taking it all with a grain of salt. Marriage is a hard thing. I’ve only been married 3 years at this point and I will already openly tell you it’s a rough walk to make. There are so many things out there fighting against a successful marriage; lust, infidelity, the need for instant gratification, pornography, differences in opinions and needs...sometimes it feels like the world doesn’t want you to have a happy marriage. So I understand reading these articles and taking away what matters to you.
I want to mention a few pieces of advice I’ve seen quite often on these articles that we personally don’t(and won’t!!) subscribe to-and why.
Sex is SO IMPORTANT.
I’m not about to jump into a Puritanical rant here-I love sex.(Sorry, Grandma.) I’ve talked often about making sex a beautiful, wonderful part of a married life and I stand tall next to that belief-it’s a gift from God and I intend to celebrate that gift in full. Anyone who has seen my husband and I in public know we are a touchy two; we kiss, we hold hands, we sit close to each other. And without inviting you too far into our bedroom? I was pregnant for the second time in less than three years. I’m not denying it’s beauty or importance in a marriage.
But sex is not everything and sex is not the only way to be intimate in a relationship. Sometimes sex is hard. Sometimes it will not live up to your expectations. Sometimes, we have physical or health issues that make it uncomfortable or impossible. I’ve found a lot of these things will talk about how you should work at having it as often as possible or making time for it no matter what else is going on in your life. My hope is that you don’t read these and put more pressure on yourself than you’re already feeling. Intimacy is deeper than the physical showing of it. And it’s okay if your sex life isn’t measuring up to the usual ideals you see online.
“A relationship that’s great doesn’t need to be talked about.”
I have an amazing relationship. I married the best man out there-I apologize to anyone else who may have wanted or thought they were getting the best man, because you didn’t. I also love to get praised.
Yes, I said it. I love when he compliments me, on social media, with friends, in public. This need of mine is based mostly off the fact that my Love Language is Words of Affirmation. The Love Languages are a wonderful resource for keeping your relationship healthy-they talk about how a person responds best to the love of another. As I previously stated, mine top language is Words of Affirmation. When I read a recent article about why it’s silly to want your spouse to talk about you one social media, I was upset by it. Not because I think it’s a necessary part of a marriage-but for some of us? It will be.
Instead of taking these pieces of advice blindly, explore with your spouse how they need to be loved and what will help them feel better. My husband does not praise easily, nor does it come naturally. It’s not his love language. We’ve had to work to learn each others and show the love the way we need it.(Spoiler alert though, Physical Touch is pretty high for both of us!)
Have friends of the opposite-just have boundaries set.
Another really common one I see is setting boundaries when it comes to friendships of the opposite sex. These are sometimes ones I agree 100% with, but most often they seem to really intense and like you don’t trust your spouse. I have seen ones that tell you not to have friends of the opposite sex and I cringe.
I have a few friends of the opposite sex and Josh does as well. Josh has one he talks to almost daily and I have a few that I talk to often. Friendships are not the enemy. Keep your discussions with them clean, allow your spouse the option of seeing what you’re talking about and trust each other. That’s a hard one for me, I won’t lie. Trusting him has been a constant battle. But he has proven time and time again he chooses me and I refuse to allow messages online to dictate how I trust him. Boundaries are a great thing, honesty is a great thing, and if your spouse is uncomfortable with a relationship-listen to them. But you don’t have to cut every friend of the opposite sex out of your life.
Don’t just go along with inexperienced people on blogs.
The truth of the matter is most these people are simply speaking from their experience. Very few are therapists or licensed marriage counselors. I know, I just wrote this out and all I have to base my beliefs off of are the marriages around me and the three years of my own. While they can be awesome places to jump off from, ideally you shouldn’t be basing relationship choices off blog posts. Talk to your spouse, figure out what they want and what you want in your relationship before marriage occurs, and then keep talking and listening until the day one of you dies.
These conversations can be hard and they will be continuous. Even in our short years together, we’ve had to deal with differences in family values, how we were raised, exes who were terrible, and how to handle many things thrown at us through the foster care system. If I’m honest, we’ve both failed a lot of nights(I fail much more often than he does) and there have been times where I’ve desperately searched the web to find an answer and tried to use it-only to realize it did nothing to help us.
Your marriage is your marriage; you are the only ones who can decide how to make it great. Maybe there’s been previous infidelity which heightens your fear of your spouse being alone or having private conversations with the opposite sex-so talk about it and set that boundary. Maybe you both feel embarrassed by online praise and adoration-choose to keep your private life private.
My point isn’t to tell you why these things are wrong in every relationship. It was to show you how they don’t apply to us personally and to remind you that your marriage is yours…and you and your spouse are the only ones who can dictate how it will work best.