Marriage advice: free for all

As I am getting married soon, hit me up with your top pieces of marriage advice. Both men and women are both welcome to comment.

It does not necessarily need to be from the Scriptures, as those have been extensively studied on this blog. Other prudence and wisdom is useful too. However, if you want to quote the Scriptures with specific advice that is good as well.

Hopefully, those who are single can find such advice useful in either understanding the opposite sex and/or preparing for marriage themselves.

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50 Responses to Marriage advice: free for all

  1. I hope the wedding (and the marriage thereafter) goes well! A lovely, short engagement – long engagements are just torturous!

    My one piece of advice (that applies to men and women) would be: remember your purpose in being married. Namely, to glorify God.
    If we do things God’s way, that tends to make life run more smoothly in general. Following God’s directions for marriage tends to make marriage go more smoothly.
    But when two sinners get married (even two sinners who are daily being regenerated in Christ’s image…), there will be times when doing the “right thing” does not result in pleasantness all around. Sometimes, you might do the right thing and your wife meets that with a sinful response (and vice versa).
    If you remember that your purpose in being married and being a good husband (or wife) is to obey Christ and glorify Him, it will help you not to get bogged down in what is “fair” or what you “deserve”. 🙂

  2. Married says:

    Ecclesiastes 3 is a favorite chapter of mine. Sounds silly but I lay near the center of my bed at the end of the day, whether or not it’s gone well, with my wife by my side (we go to bed within several minutes of each other), and think of myself as the king of my home. Not in the sense that I consider myself important, but that my wife, children and property need me to be wise, strong and happy. This small ritual seems to be good for our marriage, especially on busy days when we have little time together.

    I also occasionally talk through Proverbs 31 with my wife. Particular emphasis would depend on the woman but I have especially encouraged her with, “she considers a field and buys it.” And I reward her for acting wisely by praising her and encouraging our children to do the same (Prov. 31:28.)

    I also advise you spend time on your own memorizing the Bible. I memorized the last half of Ephesians by printing it in very large type and reading it three times a day while commuting several years ago. I don’t have the chance to do that now, but it’s still part of me and I benefit from becoming so familiar with that wisdom about husbands, masters, the armor of God, who we wrestle against…

    I also advise a fixed dinner time. When you’re newlyweds it’s a cute little date, but it’ll be more important when the family schedule threatens to demand every minute.

    Well wishes!

  3. Dismal Farmer says:

    Don’t get married. Embrace celibacy and love God.

    If you choose to ignore this advice, expect marriage to be a heavy cross. Bear it well until it kills you.

    Your fiancée is not special. All women are like that. You will be disappointed. Without a culture that supports real marriage as established by Christ, you don’t have a chance. If you choose to accept the cross, make sure you give it to God and attend mass often.

    And go to confession.

  4. amblingsaint says:

    Keep talking…often the issue which is the deepest cause of a problem is not the issue which initially caused the squabble…but it will surface if you keep talking about it, and then you’ll know and be able to pray about it.

  5. Ame says:

    i’ve been pondering this for awhile . . .

    ~ don’t eat watermelon before a road trip 😉

    ~ take all advice, filter it through prayer and the Bible, keep what works, save what you need for later, and toss the rest.

    ~ hold your frame.

    ~ hormones are real. still, hold your frame.

    ~ remember … for everything there is a season … so, hold your frame.

    ~ don’t put anything, including the church, above God; don’t ever let your wife be above you.

    ~ routines are good. traditions are good. but don’t let them rule you. you are master of your wife, your home, your future children, and all routines and traditions.

    ~ if you ever need to, cocoon your family for a period of time.

    ~ keep, develop, and maintain male friends.

    ~ develop and seek and maintain male mentors you can trust. use them when you need to.

    ~ if the decision does not need to be made immediately, and you have any concerns at all, take your time. you get to control this. you are head of your home.

    ~ sometimes women just don’t make sense at all. we just don’t! often we can’t be fixed, and we don’t want to be … we just need to babble. learn which times your wife is like this and let it be what it is.

    ~ Dismal Farmer is right … AWALT. i know your beloved is precious and wonderful, but she’s still a daughter of Eve.

    ~ if ever something raises a concern, don’t ignore it. you may not need to address it immediately, but do not discount it. store it, pray over it.

    ~ find every way to enjoy and delight in your wife and your marriage! there is really so much good in marriage – find it and enjoy it thoroughly!

    ~ i love what ‘Married’ said above … how he takes time before he goes to sleep to put everything back in order in his mind.

    ~ and … this is fun 🙂

  6. Novaseeker says:

    I posted a comment but it isn’t coming though for whatever reason.

  7. Novaseeker says:

    * Do not let things fester over time. When there is a problem, and there will be, confront it calmly together until it is resolved.

    * Do not expect perfection in your spouse. Learn what you can live with, and live with it. You are also imperfect. Don’t sweat the small stuff, err on the side of overlooking things that are really not important, even if they are somewhat personally irritating.

    * Set aside a set time every day when you are together, just the two of you, regardless of work, kids, other responsibilities. If you do not do this, you will pay the price for it eventually.

    * Sex is important, and not just for you — without regular sex, the wheels come off a marriage faster than almost anyone thinks. Learn how to have good sex with your spouse when you’re not really feeling like it — it’s important.

    * Don’t compare yourself to other couples. Every marriage has its own dynamic, and couples, especially in churches, have a way of projecting their “Facebook” selves outwardly, so you really have no clue as to what the marriage really is like beyond the facade — even for people you know more than superficially. If there is anything people are excellent at hiding, it’s the garbage in their marriages. So don’t get caught up in comparing yourselves to other couples.

    * Keep the parents at bay. Treat them with respect, but it isn’t their marriage, it’s yours. If either set of parents become an issue, learn to tactfully keep them at bay. If you don’t, it very well may wreck your marriage entirely. Same for other family members and in-laws. Same for friends.

    * Do not let go of yourselves. Embrace your differences, your distinctiveness, your specialness that is different from each other. Do not “become each other” — when that happens, the distance between you shrinks to a claustrophobic level of closeness that paradoxically chokes off real intimacy, and especially sex. Don’t fall into that trap (easy to do today because it is more or less encouraged by the culture to become each other — don’t do it).

    * Pray together every day, preferably more than once. Do it according to your own tradition, but do it and do not let it slide. It’s very important because among other things it provides a time each day to reorient and check yourselves together and focus on what is needful and important, together. Very important.

    * Don’t get hung up on dishes and laundry and cleaning the gutters and so on. Don’t let the regular aspects of daily life grind you down to the point where you are angry or resentful of each other. If you need help, get it — it costs, but that cost pales compared to the cost that resentments over these trivialities can exact on a marriage, trust me.

    * Don’t keep score. It’s not a competition about who is the better spouse. It’s also not an archivist, scrivener, or journalist position. Do not keep score — let it go, let your spouse grow out of things and into new things without constricting her in the past. Everyone will have something to put on the scorecard anyway, so it’s pointless. Live and love in the present and don’t keep score about what each of you has done in the past during the marriage which you may find irritating, annoying or less than fully acceptable.

  8. Elspeth says:

    Everything Novaseeker said is good. I would add one thought to his comment and it’s be prepared to make necessary adjustments. In general, but especially when children come along.

  9. John Doe says:

    Mate guard. Women are like little children, always swayed by the brightest charm, the newest IPhone. Face it, mate, you ain’t the hottest, richest, smartest, funniest guy on the planet. And never let her be alone with a guy who is more of the above than you.

  10. anonymous_ng says:

    – Lots of marriage advice presumes a level of maturity that may not exist. Grow up and continue growing up. I found that pushing myself out of my comfort zone was necessary for that growth.

    – Lots of conflict comes up because we speak the same language, but have different internal meanings and expectations for ideas, words, and concepts.

    What I mean is that there are certain things that have to be done. The bills need to get paid. Food needs purchased, prepared, eaten, and the mess cleaned up. Laundry needs done. The toilets need scrubbed. Eventually, the kids will need fed, cleaned etc.

    There is no one way that’s the right way to do these things. You can send the laundry out. You can hire a housekeeper. You can order take-out every night. Or, you can do those things yourselves.

    The point is that how it was done in your family growing up and how things were done in her family growing up are unlikely to be exactly the same. EIther one can work for your family. Or, you can come up with a new way, but a lot of conflict can arise when we assume that one way or the other is the right way without any conscious discussion of how things will be done in your family.

    – Don’t fall into the modern trap of looking to your wife for all of your social needs. Maintain friends, and hobbies, and parts of your life beyond your wife. And, don’t let her try and use you as her emotional dumping ground. She needs girlfriends for that as much as you need your male friends.

    – Be on the same page about things. If she wants the house to look like an Architectural Digest magazine spread, there’s nothing morally wrong with that, but if you aren’t on board with the costs of having a house that looks like that, it can cause conflict.

    – Take the lead on things. “Where do you want to eat tonight?” Puts the burden on her versus. “I made reservations at Fancy Restaurant.”

    – Don’t be afraid to ask for things you need. For example, if you need an hour to decompress from a horrible commute. Let your wife know that, but it’s probably easier to get that time by going to the gym for an hour than sitting in front of the computer putzing around on Facebook.

    IDK. These are the things I wish that I’d done differently in my marriage. I’m firmly convinced had I done so, I’d still be married, and we would have been happier.

  11. Caspar Reyes says:

    Find another man, preferably your age, with whom you can discuss in detail your sex life as well as difficulties in the marriage. You may have to initiate that level of discussion yourself, but it will help you to know for sure that the struggles are universal or at least shared. In your twenties you have a lot of energy that you can waste trying to maintain a front because of what you think everyone else’s life is like. Of course, you run a blog in the ‘sphere, so you’re already decades ahead of where I was.

    Women love weddings but don’t have a clue about marriage. A wedding is a little girl’s day in the fairy-tale spotlight. The business of marriage is work for a woman and involves making babies or at least doing what makes babies, and no babies are made without a man’s pleasure. Someone in one of Dalrock’s threads a long time ago suggested that it should be a tradition for the husband to burn the wedding dress the morning after the wedding to symbolize leaving girlish thing behind and the end of virginity.

    Honor her “as the weaker vessel, as a co-heir of the grace of life”: i.e., as a sinner like you, yet also unlike you, in that she doesn’t see her behavior as sin. She sees her sin as virtuous; therefore she needs guidance here. Example: long ago my wife used to complain about my advances with “you only touch me when you want sex”. Thinking her idea of sex and marriage more virtuous than mine, she undermined the basis of the marriage itself. Rather than simply responding and building trust, she chipped away at the trust that would have paid off both ways with loyalty in the long run. Of course, in my ignorance I tried to adjust to her expectations with doubleplusungood results. Wives are commanded to submit to their husband in all things, including their husbands’ ideas of what the marriage needs to be successful.

    If she throws a tantrum, address (i.e., correct) the behavior but DO NOT address the issue that the tantrum is supposedly about. Because it’s not about that. (Demur; don’t traverse.) It’s not about how the toilet paper hangs; it’s about her trying to train you to respond in certain ways. It’s instinctual for her. Eye-rolls and scowls count as tantrums and deserve severe reproof.

    NEVER use a third party counselor. If she needs counsel, she may come to you. That’s direct from Scripture. Don’t let her one-up you with the pastor.

    A woman’s go-to behavior when she is feeling defensive is to assume a posture of moral superiority (“how dare you!”). The preachers, marriage books, seminars, and counselors will all abet this behavior. Breaker her of this, gently with her but mercilessly on the behavior. Get your bit in her mouth. (Take that in whatever way you like.)

  12. Ame says:

    wow. excellent.

  13. Ame says:

    excellent. especially love that there’s no one right way to do most things. when i learned that, it was freeing.

  14. Bee says:

    1. Be the oak tree, let her be the thunderstorm. Poon Commandment XV. When she is having an emotional storm it is often best to let her rage by herself. I would try to comfort and mollify her too soon. Usually best to leave her presence and go to a different part of the house when she is “storming.”
    2. On major decisions, get her counsel but don’t automatically do what she suggests, even when she feels very strongly about it. Get additional counsel (“…an abundance of counsel.”), pray about it, and then make the final decision yourself. Churches taught me to defer to my wife’s counsel so I did that for years. Practically it meant that my wife had veto power over all major decisions; that is not husband leadership. The first time I did not defer, my wife was stunned and accused me of not listening to her. I calmly said, “I did listen to you, I considered what you said but I have decided that as a family we are going to do X.” She got upset, I held firm and an hour later she was fine and we moved on doing X.
    3. Humor, teasing. “If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.” Dalrock
    4. Put sex on the weekly schedule. We go to bed together, on nights we have planned to have sex we go to bed a half hour earlier to allow time for sex.
    5. Teach your wife how to respect you. A great exercise is to have her only tell positive stories about you to others. At “girl lunches” other women would ask for negative stories about each husband. My wife lost some friends by refusing to participate in these husband bashing sessions. Sunshine Thiry experienced something similar when she took her kids to playdates.
    6. Teach her how to submit. That submission does not mean she can not discuss things with you. It does not mean she can not appeal to your authority and ask you to re-consider an earlier decision. It does not mean she can not point out mistakes or sins you are not aware of. That submission is a life long journey that will grow on her, protect her, and help her find herself.

    All the best to you and your bride. May you have many, healthy, cheerful children.

    Thank you for blogging.

  15. Wizard Prang says:

    “Be excellent to each other. And party on, Dudes!”

    –The gospel according to Bill and Ted.

  16. Grape Ape says:

    2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”

    – All you need to be a godly husband (and for her a godly wife) is in Scripture. Many seek to find wisdom outside of the Bible but its end is to rationalize fleshly desires.

    Gen 3:16 “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    – Do not underestimate the effects of the fall on your wife. It is in her fallen nature to desire to reign over the marriage. If she is not constantly in the Word and interacting with other godly women she will not be able to control this intrinsic characteristic. If she succumbs to this never ceasing temptation she will be the source of extreme displeasure in your life.

    1 Cor 7:39 “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”

    – I assume that you are truly saved. That being the case it is pertinent that you ensure that your wife is saved. Not only via verbal proclamation but by observing that she is bearing fruit consistent with repentance. The more history (even by affirmation of trusted Christian friends that know her past) that you have of her the better. If you are going to live a godly marriage by being a godly husband the only chance that your marriage has at being biblically successful is if your wife has the Holy Spirit dwelling within her. Anything short of that (again assume that you are truly saved) will be like a leaky roof that does not stop dripping.

  17. Paniym says:

    Being recently divorced having been married for 40 years I beg you not to get married since there is no such thing as biblical marriage in our present culture. If you partake in what’s now called marriage you are not partaking in God’s ordained institution of marriage.

    God never intended for woman to be in the power position in a marriage but in the US that’s exactly where they are. Women are happiest following the leadership of a man. The State, Church and culture have destroyed this God given headship giving women the power position in the relationship. The very fact that she is now in that power position destroys the marriage relationship and her desires and attitudes greatly degrade until it’s almost impossible to maintain. If you could be married in a Christian marriage without the sanction of the state it would be much better but that’s not possible in the US. So don’t do it.

    Just the fact the state gives her such empowerment will help kill her sexual desires toward her man. Her respect and deference will also diminish. That’s one reason why “Dead Bedrooms” are so prevalent in our culture.

    It will also subliminally kill your ability to be the man of the relationship because as you accumulate wealth and if she is not a breadwinner you will be an indentured slave. Now divorced at 65 I am required to pay my ex a ridicules amount of $$ for the rest of my life. Even as I get ready to retire and my income gets reduced I’m still a literal financial slave to my ex. If I don’t pay I can go to jail. For the last 10 years (before the divorce) I was living in fear realizing the power my Ex had over me. This killed my ability to be the man of the house as she actually had all the power (even though she was unaware of that.) Sub consciously my powerless ruined me and destroyed my ability to make sound decisions and to lead. She could have at any time destroyed me and enslaved me for the rest of my life. This very fact changes you and destroys your ability to be the man. Do you get that…… Do you realize the danger…..So don’t do it. You can’t be a traditional Christian man under this system. If you want to solely support your wife and family you are making it almost impossible to be successful in your marriage.

    And yes even will you will most likely succumb to a “dead bedroom” as your wife eventually withholds sex for weeks, months and years as most Christians can attest. It’s not conscious on her part. It’s just that over the years she doesn’t “Feel” it for you any more and eventually even the starfish sex will stop. She doesn’t even know why she feels this way. But part of it is your diminished ability to lead because of the power position the state has granted her. Being in a position of power corrupts her soul as even St Paul recognizes in not allowing women to have authority over a man. St. Paul’s words weren’t idle words, they are part of scripture for a specific reason.

    In the OT the Bible grants the husband most of the rights and privileges as well as the responsibilities in a marriage. Because of the God given power men were given this fact helped keep the fires of passion alive in OT marriages. Part of it is dread and part maybe just the fact that God made women to love, respect and f**k men of power in her life with abandon. In our society the state has stripped men of that power and thus the loss of respect, sexual desire and deference from Christian wives.

    So don’t do it……..

  18. Daniel says:

    Two things that I wish I had understood from the beginning.

    1. Be her father figure. Very gently at first since you know nothing about being a father yet. But praise her when she does well. If she is rude to you, remind her to mind her manners. Let her know if you are pleased or not. In this way you assume that her desire is toward you. If she is good to you she will be rewarded with your favor. If she is cross with you, she will not be favored. Forgive instantly. I don’t take it personally when my daughter needs correction. And I’ve learned to feel the same way about my wife.

    2. Don’t argue with her. I wish I could have back every breath I’ve ever wasted arguing with my wife. Talk to her about things if both of you are being reasonable and receptive. But if her attitude is wrong, refuse discussion until she is more receptive. She may accuse you of giving the silent treatment, but don’t budge.

  19. Thank you for all of the advice. Keep them coming!

  20. Daniel says:

    @ Paniym

    Sorry to hear about your divorce. After 40 years you would think you were in the clear. Your statement is challenging – “there is no such thing as biblical marriage in our present culture.”

    It is true that “what is now called marriage” barely qualifies. Yet the apostle says in I Corinthians 7 that if you are currently married, even to an unbeliever, then your marriage is sanctioned by God.
    Stay with them if they are pleased to continue living in peace, Marriage is not invalid.

    You are absolutely right, that culture, state and “church” are aligned against Biblical marriage. Your analysis is brutal and mostly true.

    When Jesus explained to his disciples that marriage is for life and that God does not sanction divorce “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.” They knew that even in a patriarchal society, marriage could become a living hell if your wife became contentious. And how could you know if that nice young woman you married would stay nice for the rest of her life? What if she just got bored with you and the sex dried up? In that society she would be less likely to leave you, but you’d be stuck with a harpy for the rest of your life. The disciples thought it is better that MGTOW.

    If that was the case then, it is more so now. Perhaps it is true that if you can do without marriage, then do without it. Jesus said “there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Paul said because of the present distress “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife.”

    But if a man does not have the willpower for celibacy, and wants to raise children…

    That’s why these blogs exist.

    I have two teenage sons, and I have been driving myself crazy trying to figure this out in order to be able to guide them as well as possible.

    Four broad categories of things to consider

    1. The woman. Is she REALLY a believer? Is she a virgin? Is she submissive?
    2. Her family. Was she raised by a Christian father and mother? Do they support Biblical marriage? Would they disown her for betraying you?
    3. Your church. Do you have a Gospel church that teaches and upholds Biblical marriage? Would they dis-fellowship her for betraying you?
    4. Yourself. Are you ready to assume the responsibility of maintaining a Biblical marriage? You are going to have to fight against the creeping influence of the culture for the rest of your life. You are going to have to fight against your wife’s tendency to rebel for the rest of your life. You are going to have to fight against your own sin, including sloth, for the rest of your life. Is it worth it?

    It is a similar dilemma to deciding to become a parent in this day and age. What are the chances that your child is going to escape the influence of the world and live for Christ? What are you going to do to guide them to Christ? It is a leap of faith – we don;t know whether the Lord will save them or not. We do our utmost, and pray that he will cause the seed to grow to harvest.

    But there are differences. When you marry, your wife will have two decades of learning (good or bad). But at least “in theory” you will know whether you are marring a believer. We are commanded to marry “in the Lord.”

    And the other difference is the consequences. If your child goes the way of the world, you are brokenhearted but otherwise unscathed. If your wife goes the way of the world, you endure far far worse, as you know much better than I do.

    Dead bedroom is an issue that I would like to see more discussion on. Is it common in all cultures among long term marriages or if it is specifically related to our culture?

  21. bdash77 says:

    just reading some comments…

    Why would there be any discussion about who cooks meals, does laundry or looks after the home in marriage?

    In Asian cultures this is not even discussed it is assumed the wife looks after the home and the husband slaves at work….

    Why do men have to even enter that negotiation?

    It reminds me of this
    https://www.9marks.org/article/complementarianism-the-single-man/

    Where it clearly shows that young christian white men cannot even fathom expecting their wife to do dishes….

    Nothing wrong with a man doing these things, ( esp when wife sick etc…)
    But I do not see why a man should waste time thinking about this.

  22. Don Quixote says:

    All the best for the future for both you and your bride. I couldn’t improve on the following:

    Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
    Who walks in His ways.
    2 When you eat the labor of your hands,
    You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
    3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
    In the very heart of your house,
    Your children like olive plants
    All around your table.

    4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    Who fears the Lord.
    5 The Lord bless you out of Zion,
    And may you see the good of Jerusalem
    All the days of your life.
    6 Yes, may you see your children’s children.

    May the Lord bless you guys, in Jesus name.

  23. an observer says:

    So many helpful tips. What to add? Hold frame. Choose your arguments. Always consider her needs and value her input, but be prepared to make decisions she may not have chosen. Awalt. Don’t side with the parents. Be aware of what influences other poeple and media will have on her.

    Expect loyalty. I was in emergency for eight hours Monday night and my spouse waited it out with me until being discharged the other side of midnight. That’s the quality you want to see in a keeper.

  24. Lost Patrol says:

    @bdash77

    That article you linked is borderline goddess cult material. If all your energies are continuously focused on serving women, or finding ways to keep them happy, you make yourself very low value as a soldier of God and a man.

    Love your wife and take care of her. One way is by making sure she doesn’t get established as a goddess. Plenty of women will, and have, taken that and run with it.

  25. Guy Gardner says:

    You and your bride should take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class, preferably before the wedding. This is a great class on how to get out of debt if you have any and how to make and use a real budget. Some of the biggest value is that it forces you and your bride to discuss spending on various categories such as clothes and entertainment in an neutral classroom type setting instead of an emotional situation at home when the bills come in. You can then spend agreed upon money guilt free as long as you are within budget. I also highly recommend his cash in envelope system for staying on budget instead of using plastic to pay for things.

  26. Bee says:

    @Paniym,

    “Being recently divorced having been married for 40 years I beg you not to get married since there is no such thing as biblical marriage in our present culture. ”

    Your theory is FALSE. Just in the manosphere alone there are a number of bloggers and commenters that write that they have happy, healthy marriages. Count me as one of the many commenters that have written this on several different blogs.

    I am sincerely sorry your wife nuked your marriage. My sympathies to you.

    But, Not All Marriages Are Like That (NAMALT)

  27. Pingback: Attitudes and marriage | Christianity and masculinity

  28. Robin Munn says:

    Sleep naked.

    I suppose I should write more than just two words, though. So… make it a rule to sleep naked whenever it’s possible (it may not always be possible when you’re a guest in someone else’s house). Even on nights when you’re not having sex, having lots of skin-to-skin contact really helps with the emotional bonding (because of oxytocin, etc.), which is great for the long-term health of your marriage.

    Carve out one night a week as a date night where you and your wife will go out and do something fun together, then come home and have sex to cap off the evening. If something comes up that interferes with your date night (like the recent time when my wife and I went to babysit for some friends, on what was supposed to be our date night, while they dealt with a minor emergency), then don’t cancel it, just reschedule it for a different time. (We had had plans to go visit other friends the next day, but we just called them and said, “Sorry, something came up”, rescheduled our visit with them, and went on our date on Thursday instead of Wednesday that week).

    I have a few other pieces of advice that have worked well for me so far (two-year anniversary was a month ago), though these are more dependent on personality (yours and your wife’s) and may need some tweaking. Still, here they are.

    Set a leadership style where you base your decisions on what will be best for the family. Get your wife’s input, since she almost certainly has different strengths than you and can make good recommendations a lot of the time. Then after thinking it over, make your decision and carry it out. And the first time that your decision isn’t what your wife recommended, pay attention to how she reacts. If she gets upset, you’ll need to deal with that before Satan tempts her into full-blown rebellion. If she accepts your decision calmly and does what you asked her to do, even though she would have preferred the other choice, then congratulations: your selection during the dating process was a wise one.

    When you do have to point out a fault that your wife is committing, do so at a time when you’re calm, so that you can calmly and dispassionately lay out the facts. If you’re feeling upset, wait until you’ve calmed down before you talk to her. That way you’re not coming at the problem from a personal point of view, but rather from a “I’m taking the course of action that is best for our family” frame. (Also, in my case, my wife is extremely aware of my emotions, so if I have even a slightly angry tone she feels like I’m really angry with her, and so if I were to rebuke her in tone that’s even slightly angry, it would come across as far harsher than the problem actually deserves).

    If your wife points out a fault in you, use the same dispassionate approach. Is she accurately pointing out something that you do? Then acknowledge it, and say, “Yes, that’s something I do need to improve.” Then what I do next is to figure out an action plan to help me improve that fault, and tell my wife, “I would like you to remind me to do X, because I’m prone to forget about that.” Then when she reminds me, I say something along the lines of, “Thank you. It really helps me to have someone to remind me about the things that I’m prone to forget. You’re such a great helpmeet to me.” You should see her face light up when I praise her like that: it makes her so happy to hear that she’s helping her husband. On the other hand, if the fault that your wife is pointing out is something that she’s misreading, or she’s nitpicking something minor into an argument, then don’t acknowledge it, because she’s not correct. The right approach for that situation really depends on why she’s saying it. If it’s because she’s trying to pick a fight, then rebuke her for her sin. If it’s because she’s simply misreading a situation, then, well, whether or not you explain to her that she’s wrong will really depend on her personality. Is she a woman who will actually accept that she’s wrong if someone tells her so? Then simply explain that. If she can listen to reason, but only in certain moods, then say nothing when she’s incorrectly pointing out that flaw, and wait until she can actually hear you before you tell her (for example), “By the way, you know how you were saying the other day that I never seem to read my Bible? Well, you simply don’t see me doing it, because I do it first thing in the morning when I wake up and you’re not awake yet. Thank you for pointing that out, though — if I really had been skipping my morning devotions, it would have been a useful reminder that I needed to improve there.” Again, the approach you should take will very much depend on the attitude she’s taking: whether she’s trying to find fault because of a rebellious attitude, or whether she’s genuinely (but in this case, mistakenly) concerned about something you’re doing and respectfully pointing out a way you can improve. The latter, respectfully pointing out something you can do better, is something a wise leader never ignores, because it’s basically Proverbs 27:6.

    Much of this has been covered by other comments (I agree with everything Bee said, for example), so I won’t write much more. But I just thought of one more piece of advice to share, on the subject of sex. Most women who do not have sexual abuse in their past enjoy feeling that their husband is stronger than them. So do things that are physically dominant and sexual at the same time. They don’t have to be “big” things: just pick her up off the floor and kiss her while spinning her around, for example. This puts her in a physical position where: 1) she’s not in control of what’s happening (her feet are off the floor and your arms are wrapped around her, incidentally pinning her arms to her body even though that’s not the obvious intent of the maneuver), 2) she’s disoriented (being spun around), so she can’t easily focus on visuals and her brain has to focus on touch instead, and 3) she’s having something sexual happening to her (being kissed). That should be a pretty powerful thing in helping arouse her sexual desire. Or you could pin her against a wall and kiss her on the mouth, the neck, the shoulders, even further down depending on whether you’re planning to initiate sex right then, or just give her the tingles and then let her go back to cooking dinner or whatever she was doing. Or sometimes, when you are planning to initiate sex, bend down suddenly (giving her almost no warning) to put your shoulder against her midsection, and scoop her up in a so-called “fireman’s carry”. (A real fireman’s carry is for rescuing an injured person, but the “fireman’s carry” I’m talking about is this one). Then carry her into the bedroom, and proceed from there.

    All of these are good ways to turn your wife on — assuming, of course, that she doesn’t have any past sexual abuse that would make this kind of thing scream “Danger! Run away!” to her hindbrain instead of “Oooh, sexy times coming up real soon”. You want her hindbrain to get the latter message, not the former.

    And as I said at the start of this comment, make it a rule to sleep naked.

  29. @ Robin Munn

    Hah, already ahead of you on a few. I told her more than a year ago that I have 3 “rules” for the bedroom:

    1. Sleep naked
    2. When you’re in the bedroom you have to be naked (except lingerie and getting ready to leave it)
    3. Shower with each other and wash each other

    My intent is to build unstoppable sexual intimacy.

  30. Yes, we have slept naked for (almost) 8 years of marriage now, and it has been a real intimacy builder. As Robin Munn says, even when it doesn’t lead to sex, the touch is great for the marriage relationship.
    I was skeptical about how it would work when kids arrived, but for the most part we have maintained this. You just need to keep your dressing gowns close by!

  31. Robin Munn says:

    I was just going to say that your rule #2 might need a bit of adjusting once you have kids, at least until they are old enough to understand the concept of privacy and the importance of knocking on Mon and Dad’s door before barging in. But seriouslyserving and her husband have apparently managed to make it work, so I bow to the voice of greater experience. (My wife and I have not yet been blessed with children).

  32. You’ll figure out what works for your family. Our eldest is only 5, but we have taught her to knock before entering (mostly).

  33. Ame says:

    it’s especially fun with teenagers … telling them that if they don’t knock, they get to find Mom and Dad naked! they’ll avoid your room like the plague 😉

  34. Daniel says:

    PASTOR your family. This is your greatest responsibility and privilege. Pray with your wife (and children) morning and night. Read God’s Word to them. Assume spiritual authority. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

    I very highly recommend a book I am reading – “A Theology of the Family.”

    Scott Brown – “This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are fifty-six authors featured in this volume; authors such as: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the twenty-first-century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

    In the mid 1990s, it began to occur to me that the modern Church had actually lost the biblical doctrine of the family. Biblical fatherhood was dead. Feminists owned womanhood. Motherhood was despised. Babies were marginalized as thieves of convenience and success. In America, we have aborted millions of children since 1973. Marriages were crumbling, and the very institution was being redefined. It was almost impossible to find men in the church who understood biblical manhood or fatherhood. The twentieth century was a bad time for the family; the trends were all running in the wrong direction, and biblical ignorance was speeding the family on its way to destruction.”

    I bought the hardback, but I just noticed that it is available from the publisher as a FREE eBook.

    https://ncfic.org/store/products/a_theology_of_the_family1

  35. Don Quixote says:

    Daniel says:
    July 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I very highly recommend a book I am reading – “A Theology of the Family.”

    Scott Brown – “This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are fifty-six authors featured in this volume; authors such as: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the twenty-first-century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

    I would like to read this book.
    Most of the authors you mentioned lived and died before the rise of feminist culture destroyed the family. Does anyone in the book address recent developments?

  36. I noticed that some of the ladies at the Two Birds site are taking issue with the “sleep naked” suggestions, so I thought I would address some of those practical concerns (lest anyone read there and think it’s not really possible to do!):
    – Newborns do not care if you are naked (in fact, I think they prefer it). And I’ve breastfed 3 babies several times a night even in the winter months. If the baby was still in our room, I would put on this hooded cape thing while I breastfed them from the bed. If they were in another room, I would put on my gown.
    – It’s possible to have a general “sleep naked” rule, and still allow for things like wearing undies when you have a period or wearing a maternity bra when you are breastfeeding.
    – My husband and I have 3 little kids and we frequently shower together when they are all asleep at night. Yes, this means sometimes one of us has to jump out to deal with a crying baby. (We have also discovered that sharing a shower is not super sexy in the middle of winter when you only have one tiny shower head… if we ever build our own house, we are going to build a shower with two heads!)

    My point is, we all have different priorities in our marriages and if something is a priority, you just make it work (and I say that with not a hint of snark). Sleeping naked and showering together might seem really strange and tricky to manage if it is not your normal, but if you’ve been doing it since day one of marriage (or plan to…) it is just what is normal to you. And you may go through different seasons, but you bounce back to the status quo.

    What I don’t understand is how anyone could read through this thread of marriage advice and come away with the idea that manosphere men are horrible tyrants who have completely unrealistic ideas about marriage. Because I read back through this thread and I see (for the most part) a lot of idealistic but down to earth advice from a bunch of men (and women) who want to see marriages thrive.

  37. And one more point – sleeping naked is actually warmer than sleeping with clothes/PJs on! Skin on skin generates more body-heat than cloth on cloth does.

  38. @ seriouslyserving

    Thanks for the concern.

    But who cares about what gossipers like to talk about. 🙂

  39. thedeti says:

    DS:

    This might be controversial but I’ll say it.

    My advice is to set down very clear boundaries and expectations from the outset. You need sex. You need respect. Whatever else you want and need. And you expect your wife to provide them. The consequence for willful refusal or failure is that you will walk away, and end the marriage. You must always preserve your ability to walk away.

  40. Ame says:

    i agree with Deti and had pondered writing something similar. set boundaries, expectations, traditions, routines, the way you want them as soon as possible. be proactive about important things rather than letting them happen.

  41. Pingback: Great Marriage Advice – BlendingAme

  42. Anni Harry says:

    If you’re good with reading another post – I wrote this secular-based piece on key tips for marriages! Hope you check it out. Prayers for a happy, beautiful wedding and marriage! http://herviewfromhome.com/dont-throw-it-away-5-tips-for-a-lasting-marriage/

  43. Anni Harry says:

    And, I will add – in addition to setting boundaries, don’t be shy about readdressing them as the marriage progresses. I wrote something once about “taking the pulse” of marriage – it’s important to always take time to take the pulse, but to reassess how things are (or aren’t) working, and adjust fire accordingly!

  44. Samuel Culpepper says:

    Deep Strength:

    As a christian man preparing to exit a 16 year marriage, there is alot I could write here but most of which would be irrelevant if you are marrying a virgin. If you are “marrying” a non-virgin, my sole piece of advice is DON’T!!!

  45. @ Samuel Culpepper

    I married a virgin. 🙂

  46. Ame says:

    Congratulations! I was wondering if you’d had a summer wedding! 🙂

  47. Samuel Culpepper says:

    You are a blessed man!

  48. @ Ame, Samuel

    Thanks 🙂

  49. Ame says:

    perhaps your Beloved might like to share y’all’s wedding story (as she did your engagement story) 🙂

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