Tag Archives: healthy marriage

6 unexpected secrets to a healthy marriage

6 Unexpected Secrets to a Healthy Marriage

6 unexpected secrets to a healthy marriage

It’s not often that I have the pleasure of introducing a husband as a guest writer. I’ve only been able to coax my own husband into writing one post on here – in 5 years. Maybe it’s the name, the Happy Wives Club, that keeps them at bay. ;)

When I do get the opportunity, I always feel so fortunate. It’s beautiful reading the wisdom of our other halves, don’t you think? 

This post by author and researcher, Tyler Ward, put his assumptions about marriage to the test and came out a clear winner.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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It didn’t take me long after getting married to realize that I had no idea how to be married.

The deeper into this unique relationship I got, the more grossly obvious it became that I had brought several misguided ideas and bloated expectations into my marriage. So, I started over.

Over a period of 5 years, I put my—and my cultures—most basic assumptions about modern marriage to the test. I interviewed over a dozen experts, consumed 20+ books, and ran experiments in my own marriage with several of the unorthodox pieces of advice I came across.

In the end, six things stood out to me. They aren’t necessarily all new or revolutionary ideas, but they certainly come packed with marriage-altering implications.

Here are six of my favorite unexpected secrets to a healthy marriage.

1. Happily ever after is a perk—not the point.

Though being happy is a very real by-product of a healthy relationship, the modern value we put on personal fulfillment is so inflated, it’s causing us to miss one of the more beautiful purposes of marriage. The ancient Hebrew culture, on the other hand, didn’t seem to miss this purpose. The language even highlights and unpacks this ideal for us.

In ancient Hebrew, the word used for marriage actually means “Fire.” And not-so-coincidentally, fire is also the element used throughout ancient Hebrew culture to represent personal reformation.

In this light, marriage, and its necessary—but often unhappy—friction, is seen less as a doorway to happily ever after and more as a tool in divine hands to help us become increasingly beautiful — increasingly our best and brightest selves.

2. Good consumers make bad lovers.

Again, the ancient Hebrew word for love — ahava — has little to do with what one feels or receives. To the contrary — ahava — is actually a verb that means “I give.”

Love is not the fleeting butterflies we get when looking into the eyes of our significant other. It’s not something we fall into when dating. It’s far simpler — and far wilder — than all of that. Love is the big or small, mundane—but generous — choices to give to our spouse. And as we begin to orient ourselves to this brand of love that requires us to show up continually, we’re sure to discover the beautiful paradox that it is.

3. Marriage isn’t just a choice.

“I do.”

With those words, we choose to embark on a journey to learn how to give, to value, and to care for another human as much as we do ourselves. But marriage isn’t just a choice we make on our wedding day. It’s a choice we make everyday.

A good friend says it this way, “Marriage isn’t something we accomplished the day we said I do. It is an ongoing action of marrying our individual lives—with all of our thoughts, responses, fears, and strengths—together.”

4. Marriage is designed for priority numero uno.

One of the most useful tips I’ve been given on marriage comes from a rabbi when he says, “All of your problems (financial, relational, marital…etc) are because your marriage isn’t your highest priority (this is not considering the relationship to the Divine). The gains that a spouse will feel on both a spiritual and MATERIAL level defy description, once they make their marriage first place.”

For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then to track my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale.

To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

5. Your spouse isn’t the problem. You are.

It took me an inappropriate amount of time (and an absurd number of yelling matches) to see my wife’s “issues” were actually just a reflection of much deeper brokenness in me.

This is the phenomenon Solomon of the Bible alludes to when he says, “As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.” Or the truth of what rabbi Shalom Arush is pointing at when he says,

“You didn’t get married to correct your spouse. You got married to be corrected, by using your spouse as a mirror.”

6. Love is a journey—not a free fall.

Many of us think we meet someone, date, fall in love and then get married. We then expect to reap the rewards of love immediately—and inevitably learn that true love isn’t, in fact, something we fall into. This state of “Love” (and all of its benefits) is developed over years of learning to relate to one another — it’s a journey.

These benefits are very real perks of love, but we certainly don’t simply fall into them. Why? Because trust requires trust-building circumstances over time, true companionship comes from years of conversation, and romance—well, the kind of romance that doesn’t fade only comes from being intentional over the long haul.

These six things aren’t formulas—mostly because marriage doesn’t play by the same set of rules most things in our lives do. However, the implications of internalizing these six ideas and finding a unique expression of them in our marriage has been significant for my wife and me—as I hope they are for you too.



Tyler Ward is the author of “Marriage Rebranded: Modern Misconceptions & the Unnatural Art of Loving Another Person,” where he explores more modern myths about marriage, tells awkward stories, and offers unorthodox best practices that are sure to help anyone write a better marital narrative for themselves. You can order it now or watch the book trailer here.

5 Important Ways Marriage Has Made Me Better

5 Important Ways Marriage Has Made Me Better

When I first read this post by HWC contributor, Christine St. Vil, my first thought was, “If I had a dollar for every way marriage has made me a better person I’d be a very rich woman!”

For one, it has stretched me.  It has pushed me out of my comfort zone.  And in the process, made me a much kinder, less selfish, and far more patient and loving woman.

My husband is quick to point out that I was incredibly happy as a single woman.  I had no problem walking into a restaurant and proudly saying, “Dinner for one, please.”

I did not get married because I thought marriage would make me happy nor did I believe I needed someone to complete me.  

I got married because I’ve always believed marriage enhances your life.  That although we could probably make it through this cold world by ourselves, why would we want to?

My husband has made me a better person in every possible sense of the word.  A more loving and humble person.  Would I have arrived at this place without marriage?  Possibly.  But I’m so grateful it wasn’t necessary.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I am still on a marriage high from the launch of the Happy Wives Club book, and all of the amazing blog posts submitted for the blog tour. I haven’t gotten through all of the posts, but the ones that I’ve read have been so inspiring.

I’ve literally been thinking about all of the reasons I’m a happy wife, and how blessed I am to have a happy marriage. It’s been so refreshing to be a part of this community and to see the amount of love there is in marriages all over the world. These are the stories we don’t see or hear enough of, but hopefully that will change soon.

It’s so easy to take for granted what you have because it’s so comfortable and you’re so used to having it. But I literally give thanks every day for my husband and my marriage. I know we make each other a better, and I couldn’t help but think of the different ways that marriage has indeed made me a better person.

5 Important Ways Marriage Has Made Me Better

1. I’m more giving. For as long as I can remember, my husband has always been the type of person to give the shirt off his back to anyone that needed it, without asking any questions. And although I love to help people and give to people as well, I used to always want to ask questions first.  Witnessing the amount of humility my husband possesses has made me want to give more freely and openly.

2. I’ve learned to compromise. Growing up the sixth child out of seven, I got accustomed to fighting or arguing my way through situations. It was one way or another, and rarely anything in between. Marriage has taught me that we don’t always have to want the same thing but we should always be willing to give up something (even temporarily) so that the other can have.

3. I’m learning more patience. I talk about this all of the time because while I still have a little ways to go, I’ve come an even longer way in this regard. I used to be quick to jump to conclusions and quick to snap at anyone that I thought was challenging me.  Through my husband’s actions and guidance, I’ve learned to listen first before opening my mouth. Marriage has allowed me to grow in patience, which in turn has strengthened not only my marriage, but other relationships as well.

4. I’ve learned to trust. When you go through different things in life and you’ve been burnt a time or two, naturally you treat everyone as if they are going to hurt you too. Marriage has opened me up to trusting in ways I was never able to in the past. It’s allowed me to truly understand what it means to trust completely.

5. I’ve learned to express myself. I am a first generation American, and grew up with very African parents deep rooted in culture. Talking back or forming an opinion that was against theirs was unheard of. Obviously, that’s all they knew as that was how they were raised.

Naturally, I always found it difficult to speak my mind and express my feelings, good or bad as I grew older. My husband is the one who made me feel safe and comfortable in sharing my feelings, which allows for more open and honest communication.

Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is amazing. Marriage has made me a better person in more ways than one.

QUESTION: What are some ways that marriage has changed you for the better?


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The One Thing You Should Know About Marriage

The One Thing You Should Know About Marriage

The One Thing You Should Know About Marriage

A few days ago, I received the following note from Cheryl on our Facebook community page:

“Just wanted to take a minute to thank you for being here. Hubby was unemployed for 17 months. We lost all our retirement savings (we are both close to 60). Went without food, electricity, sold our belongings just to survive.

I had a lot of residual anger over the whole thing that ended up pointed toward my husband because he was the only other person in the house.

My therapist said that I should write a long letter that I don’t send to get all my anger out and I did start the letter. That same day, I ran across your Facebook page.

I realized it would take the same amount of effort to be angry at him as it would to learn to love him again. So I ‘liked’ your page, put the letter in the trash can and started focusing on loving my husband again.

We are still in a bad place financially and might lose the house, but we don’t care. As long as we are together, nothing else matters. Thank you so much for coming along when I needed your help. Angels show up in the most interesting places. Blessings from Kansas.”

I read the note to Keith that morning and his reaction was pretty much the same as mine (albeit, without the added tears that filled my eyes), “That is awesome, Honey!”  Then he paused a moment to further ponder what I’d just read.  

The Happy Wives Club is doing exactly what we set out to do.

No one gets married hoping one day it’ll fall apart (at least no one I’ve ever met).  But life happens and those small things many were once willing to overlook -quirks, idiosyncrasies, imperfections, failures- all of a sudden become the main focus.

A world full of broken, jaded and hardened hearts is a dangerous world to live.  A place where broken homes are the majority is a disheartening existence.  But you can help change that.  You already have.  

By remaining positive and optimistic about marriage, sharing your wonderful experiences of love, you’re causing people to look at their own marriages and figure out a way to fix what has become broken rather than turn and run the other way.

You may not realize how many people, like Cheryl, you are encouraging just by having a happy and healthy marriage.  You likely have no clue how many you have healed just by being you.  But I want to encourage you that it’s more than you think.

The one thing you should know about marriage is how much yours matters.  You, my friend, are changing the world.  Your loving marriage heals hearts and the homes in which they reside.  Keep loving.  Keep shining.  And never forget how important your marriage is to those around you.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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