Girlfriends’ Guide to a Great Marriage: 3 Easy Ways You Can Strengthen Marriages Around You Every Day
Throughout my travels this past week, to meet with women from the Happy Wives Club community, one thing quickly became abundantly clear. We are increasingly becoming the silent majority.
Yes, forty-seven percent of marriages end in divorce. But the larger percentage remain together until death do them part. That is not to say all of them are happily married, but my goodness, certainly a larger number are happy than we would be led to believe.
I thought about this while on a call with an editor for Brides Magazine yesterday. I was sharing with her how throughout my travels I’ve discovered those who are happily married generally remain silent while in groups where women are complaining about their husbands or marriage.
Maybe it’s because we don’t want to come across as know-it-alls, haughty, judgmental, disconnected or fake. We want to be able to relate to our friends and in many occasions, we’ll poke fun at our husband’s flaws –even when they don’t really bother us- just to be a part of the conversation and feel connected with the group.
As I was sharing this with an editor at Brides Magazine yesterday, she said what she’d found worked in their offices is when someone begins complaining about their husband or marriage, someone else will quickly point out all the things that are positive in their spouse or the amazing gift of having a lifelong partner.
Because they all know each other’s spouses, they make sure to highlight all that is wonderful and positive about one another’s husbands so when one does something that seems thoughtless or inconsiderate, they all remind that person of all the thoughtful and considerate things he’s done over the years.
“That’s really worked for us here when one of us starts complaining about our husbands,” she said. “I have a feeling I’ll be turning this conversation into a blog post,” I told her. And so it is.
When thinking about a Girlfriends’ Guide to a Great Marriage, there were three things that instantly came to mind that my girlfriends and I do for each other when it comes to our marriages. Every one of my closest girlfriends have pretty awesome marriages (four of them are founding members of this club) and I think it’s because we encourage one another on one end, and like iron against iron, we sharpen one another on the other end.
If you’re not already doing this, here are 3 things you can do to help your girlfriends have great marriages too:
1. Help them stay focused on the positive. Your girlfriend had 7 billion people in the world to choose from and she chose her husband. Why? What was it about him that was so special she decided to pledge ‘til death do us part’? Remind her of those things. In that moment when she’s frustrated and wants to focus on everything her husband does wrong. Lovingly listen to her and then remind her of everything he does right. All the things she’s shared over the years about what makes him great. Sometimes marriage is like being too close to the trees to see the forest. You can help remind her of what beauty is in the forest all around her.
2. Help them change their thought that marriage is “hard work”. Most of us are underpaid and underappreciated for the work we do. When you call marriage “work,” you subconsciously tell yourself you are giving more than you are receiving. But when you use words like “effort” or “investment,” there is an expectation there will be a reward. The more effort you put in the more reward you will get out. The more investment you put it, the larger the dividend that pays out. By helping your friend change her phrase, “marriage is hard work,” to “marriage takes effort,” you have just changed how she sees her marriage.
3. Remind them that flaws and mistakes don’t make the person. We all have husbands who make mistakes, who are flawed and make seemingly thoughtless decisions at times. The funny thing, is we often forget that we have flaws and make mistakes too. By lovingly reminding your girlfriend that she is flawed, just like her husband, she can gently be reminded that we’re all a little crazy. And having someone willing to put up with our craziness is worth the effort.
I haven’t written a blog post in weeks…aaaaah, it feels good to be back in the saddle. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the guest writers over the past few weeks and I look forward to sharing encouraging thoughts with you in the days ahead.
QUESTION: What other “tips” would you add to a Girlfriends’ Guide to a Great Marriage?
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
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