25 Things you need to know to have a successful marriage

This message is presented by Amos Johnson Jr, PhD. He is the CEO & Pastor of Church for Entrepreneurs. God has given him a calling to help Christian Entrepreneurs succeed at their calling. He believes a fulfilled life comes from clearly knowing what God has called you to do and doing it.

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Message summary & scripture references

As Christian Entrepreneurs, the success or failure of our marriages affects our businesses or ministries because God has called us to have a successful marriage in addition to succeeding in our other callings. If we don’t treat our marriage right, then we are in direct disobedience to the Word of God.

If we are in direct disobedience to God, then He is certainly not going to bless our business or ministry. Therefore, to help you have a successful marriage, I have created a list of 25 things you need to know to have a successful marriage.

#1 Marriage Takes more Work than Love

Take a manicured golf course and leave it alone for one year. Upon the end of the year, that once manicured golf course will become a chaotic wilderness. The same is true with marriage; if you leave it alone and don’t apply any work to it, after some period of time, that once loving marriage will become a chaotic prison of unforgiveness. Don’t fall into the myth that marriage works if you just love each other; it doesn’t. Marriage requires love and work, and most of the work will be spent working on you.

#2 Tears Stop Communication

Wives, sometimes your tears can stop the communication with your husbands. Tears can communicate hurt feelings, but they also communicate to your husband, “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” If a husband receives that message, he will not talk about that issue again, which will leave the issue unresolved. If you do feel hurt and tears flow as a result of your emotions, make sure that you express verbally to your husband, “I am hurt right now, but I do want to talk later and resolve this issue.”

#3 Sow Love, not Discord

If you want your spouse to hate you, then sow discord, complain, and demonstrate selfishness. If you want your spouse to show you love, then sow love into them. What you receive from your spouse is a reflection of what you have sown into them.

#4 Listen First, React Last

No one likes to be told about their shortcomings, especially when it’s coming from their spouse. A natural reaction is to explode in order to protect yourself from being exposed. However, this communicates to your spouse: “you can’t come that close to my weakness or I’ll go off.” The correct reaction is to just listen.

#5 Arguments are Natural

Arguments are a natural part of marriage because people are different. However, a successful marriage is determined by how you handle the argument. Arguments cannot be settled with anger. Approach your arguments with love and understanding for a positive resolution.

#6 Let the Holy Spirit fill in the Blanks

You are not always going to know what to do or say, but the Holy Spirit does. So lean on your helper to guide your tongue and actions. In fact, check in with the Holy Spirit first before you speak or act.

#7 Include Your Spouse in Your Work

We spend about 70 to 80 percent of our lives at work, and less than 20 percent at home. In order not to drift apart from your spouse, try to include them in your work activities. Take them on business trips with you and talk about your day. You don’t want to end up living separate lives.

#8 Date Your Wife

Husbands, are you still dating your wife? If not, send the kids to a babysitter and go out. It is important to spend alone time with your wife without the kids because the less time you spend with your spouse, the more likely you are headed to divorce. So spend some quality time dating each other this Friday night.

#9 Don’t Expect Anything

What do you expect from your spouse? The answer should simply be: companionship and faithfulness. All other expectations come from tradition. Don’t let traditional expectations hold your marriage back from being all that it could be.

#10 Forgiveness is the Secret Weapon

If you and your spouse have been in strife for years, then you need to mentally start your marriage over. This is the only solution to healing from long-term arguing. You cannot talk through years of hurt; you only can forgive, forget, and start over.

#11 Some Things You have to Put Up With

Because people are different, and men & women are especially different in their behaviors and desires, there are some things in a marriage you have to just put up with from your spouse (not physical or verbal abuse). In fact, to truly love someone means that you love him or her even if they don’t change.

#12 Change Happens from Training

Change does not happen in your marriage by trying, but by training. Training means to purposely do things differently than you did yesterday to make your marriage better.

#13 Marriage is God’s Idea

Marriage is God’s idea, which means He made His power available for you to be successful in it. You must learn how to use this power; it will make the difference between peace and turmoil.

#14 Wives Handle Things Differently

Husbands, your wives handle trying situations differently than you. Therefore, don’t look down on her for showing emotions. Instead, comfort her through the situation by just being there.

#15 Anything Worth Having You have to Fight For

At some point in a marriage, most people wish they were single again. That is a normal thought; however, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Your marriage is worth having, so fight through the disagreements, hurt feelings, cranky kids, etc. Stick with it, and don’t give up.

#16 Address your Spouse’s Concerns First

If your spouse brings an issue to you about you, then just listen and don’t bring up what they did wrong. First, address your spouse’s concern, and at a later date discuss your issue with them.

#17 Work Through Faults

Marriage done right will cause you to be more successful than you would have been single. However, marriage done wrong will be a drain on your life. Marriage done right requires two people who understand that each of them have faults, but is willing to work through them.

#18 Your Spouse will Change over Time

Change is inevitable in marriage because the person you are today is different than who you were when you got married. The same is true for your spouse. Therefore, you should be rediscovering your spouse every year.

#19 Come to Mutual Agreement

When you and your spouse argue, listen closely to their point of view before responding. More than likely, their point of view is completely different than yours, so the goal is to come to a mutual agreement that both parties are happy with. Never agree to a solution that is just best for you, or just best for your spouse. If you do that, at some point resentment will set in.

#20 Wives Must Respect their Husbands

Wives, respect your husband, even if you feel he doesn’t deserve it. If a husband does not feel respected by his wife, it is difficult for him to show love to her. On the other hand, a husband that feels respected by his wife will go out of his way to please her.

#21 Husbands Must Love their Wives

Husbands, love and learn your wife, and find out what makes her happy because every wife is unique. You don’t have to understand the why behind it; just know that she likes those things and do them.

#22 Success in Marriage is Defined by Your Spouse

A successful marriage is defined by how your spouse feels about the marriage. If you are the husband, your wife should feel loved and appreciated by you. If you are the wife, then your husband should feel loved and respected by you.

#23 Husbands Keep Doing What you Did to Win Her

Husbands, it’s your responsibility to insure that your wife is happy in the marriage because you are the one who initiated the relationship by pursuing her. If you didn’t do things to make her happy before marriage, there wouldn’t have been a marriage. So you must keep doing the things you did before the two of you were married in order to keep her happy and stay married.

#24 You Need a Short Memory

A short memory is needed in marriage, because your spouse will do something that irritates you on more than one occasion. During those times, the success or failure of your marriage depends on your ability to forgive and forget. A marriage cannot last if grudges are held, so forgive.

#25 Never Lose Your Excitement for Your Spouse

When you dated your spouse, you were so excited to spend time with them that you would go places and do things, which you normally would not do or enjoy. But because of the excitement of spending time with him/her, the fact you didn’t like the event or place was not important. In marriage, you must get back to and never lose that excitement of spending time with your spouse.

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