My son is getting married tomorrow.
It’s hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday he approached me on the beach in Port Aransas asking me to hold his hand while dared to approach the ocean’s edge for the first time in his life. And hold his hand I did as he stepped out of his comfort zone and grew up a little bit more. And as he kept on growing, I kept on loving him, kept on protecting him, and kept on treasuring the memories that were made. Life is indeed a vapor. How quickly it passes.
One hidden prayer I always held for my son was that he would find that perfect woman with whom he could share life’s adventures; a woman to love, to treasure, to care for, and to grow old with. Just like the one I had found. And you know what? My prayer was answered.
That said, son, it’s time for a talk. THE Talk. My dad had it with me decades ago. I’m having it with you now.
It’s a talk about marriage. About how wonderful and rewarding it can be. And about how challenging it can be. Too many marriages end in failure. And the real tragedy is that in most cases the emotional bankruptcy could have been avoided.
Learn from those men and women who have managed to stay the course together for thirty years… forty years… fifty years… and beyond. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? I guarantee you their marriages went through the fires of hell on more than one occasion. But they persevered and emerged stronger and more in love than before. How did they do it? It’s your job to find out. No, it’s your duty to find out.
That said, here are a few rules of marriage from me – a veteran of 30 years:
Rule #1: Read the book, “Why You Act The Way You Do”, by Tim LaHaye. Have your wife read it too. Then you’ll understand why you both act the way you do (go figure). Believe me, this is one of the best preemptive strikes you can make against future marital strife.
Rule #2: Love her unconditionally. Sure, you may not like what she does from time to time (you’re not going to please her all the time either). But that’s okay. Learn what makes her happy. Learn what makes her angry. Work on making her happy. And unconditional love is the first step towards doing that.
Rule #3: No matter how mad you get, no matter how frustrated you become, no matter how much you may think you’ve been wronged, NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER, raise your hand against your wife. Enough said.
Rule #4: Communicate, communicate, communicate. I can’t stress it enough. Open lines of communication keep the oxygen flowing to your marriage. Neglect them, and your marriage suffocates and dies.
Rule #5: Share a common goal with your wife and work together towards that goal. This will help forge a bond between the two of you that will withstand the slings and arrows of life. At the same time, respect your wife’s individual desires and aspirations. And if you really want to win, help her achieve those too.
Rule #6: Realize that change is inevitable. Twenty years from now, you will be a different person than you are now. So will your wife. Embrace the change. Stay flexible. And experience your love growing deeper with each passing year.
So those are a few of my rules for a successful marriage. Advice from a father. Advice from someone who loves you very much. These marriage tips are not all-inclusive by any means, but at least they’ll point you in the right direction as you start on your new journey.
And what an incredible journey it will be.