Thursday, June 27, 2013

The 15 Most Difficult Lessons to Learn in Marriage

How many times have you been told, “learn from my mistakes?” Probably a lot, right? And yet, how many times did you actually do just that? For some reason, our human nature is to assume we know better and go off of the need to do things for ourselves. Well, while this may be necessary in some things, I would like to know that I can approach my future marriage with a few lessons already under my belt, thanks to some wonderful people around me who have been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt. While it is inevitable that mistakes and tiffs will happen, I think the world of relationships would be a lot less tumultuous place if we just took the advice of those who have already had to learn the lesson the hard way. 

A few days ago, after a fleeting thought of “I wonder what the hardest – but most well worth it- lesson people had to learn in their marriage” was, I decided to pose my question to my Facebook buddies. I was overwhelmed with the honest and forthcoming responses and was really touched by how willing people were to share what may have been a very tough and humbling lesson- all in the name of letting someone else learn from their mistakes. 

I truly believe people are willing to put their pride aside to help someone else. It is up to the receiver of these lessons what they choose to do with them. Always willing to help myself, I want to share these lessons with you! (I’m just a doll, I know.) I encourage you to pass them along to someone who may also benefit from them (so….pretty much everyone) and if you have one of your own, please share!

The 15 most difficult, but well worth it, lessons in marriage (straight from the horse’s mouth!): 

  1. I am not in this alone and my wife does not have ill will towards me. We are on the same team. 
2      2. being loving is way more important than being right.

  3.   Always communicate with each other, no matter the mood. Spouses are not mind readers.

       4. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on your spouse. Enjoy and embrace their differences, instead. God led you to that person for a reason. 

       5. It’s okay to hold hands even after 20 years of marriage.

       6. Don’t vent to your family about your spouse.  Odds are, you and your spouse will work it out and your family won’t forget about it when you do. 

7      7.  I am more selfish than I ever dreamed I was. 

8      8. Communicate love on purpose. Discover their love language and act on it. (For more on this, see my post on Gary Chapman or visit his website to discover your love language.)

9      9. Never go to bed angry. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Work it out before you go to sleep and wake up without stress. 

              10. Live every day and love every day like it is your last. Good or bad, you can overcome it if you stick together. 

1      11.  Make sure you agree on how to manage your money. Money is the biggest source of marital strife. 

1      12.  When you are young, you nit-pick things to death.  As you grow older, you learn to pick your battles. Example: your husband empties the trash but doesn’t put a trash bag back in the can. Instead of complaining, put the bag in yourself and give your hubby a kiss and thank him for taking the trash out. Men need to be shown how much we appreciate the little things they do.  (I personally LOVE this example!)

1       13.  I can’t fix everything. Sometimes I just have to be a listener rather than a fixer. (Now what gender do you think the friend who offered this lesson is?)

1       14.  Learning to be more feminine and let him do nice things for me. (I hope we can assume the gender of this one…)

1       15.  Always kiss each other goodnight.

I don’t know about you, but I think I am going to print these lessons and put them somewhere where I can reference them often. Now that’s what I call free, fabulous pre-pre-marital counseling!

And as a bonus, some good friends of ours who have been married for 6 years and have the kind of marriage people wish for, shared this video with me that really touched me. He said, “I don’t like to fight with my wife, so I remind myself to choose to be happy as opposed to fighting to be right.” This man is giving us the framework to literally “live like we are dying” from his experience and the lessons he took from it.

What lessons could you share with someone about your marriage that you may have had to learn the hard way? 


  1. Thanks for sharing those insights, Libby! For me, marriage isn’t only about being with someone you love. It’s also about spending the rest of your life with someone who will take care of you, accept your imperfections, and share the best days of my life with. Thus, it makes you realize everything about yourself that you didn’t know before. All the best!

    Brandi Kennedy @ Restoration Counseling Boise