Since I’ve been married for five years now, I am officially a marriage veteran. We’ve got everything figured out. All joking aside, I have noticed some things cause unnecessary strife in a marriage, and there are easy ways to avoid them.
First and foremost, do not allow anyone to complain to you about your spouse. It is unhealthy and leads to you and an outsider to your marriage “ganging up” against your spouse. And, as always, you are probably only hearing one side of the story. If this person truly has an important issue to discuss with your spouse, then they should bring it up with your spouse, not whine about it to you. You and your spouse must present a united front to others. If someone starts complaining to you about your spouse, politely inform them that there is nothing you can do for them, and in the future to direct all complaints to the party in question. Don’t let others try to manipulate your spouse by appealing to the person most likely to influence their decisions, namely, you!
On a related note, always defend your spouse and be their most staunch supporter. If you hear someone insulting your spouse, gently remind them that this is not appropriate, especially in front of you. If a friend has a history of treating your spouse badly, stop being friends with that person! By continuing the friendship, you are sending the message that you are not particularly loyal to your spouse and don’t mind if others treat them badly. Remember, you were made one flesh in marriage and you will be affected by your spouse’s conflicts whether you want to be or not. And odds are your spouse will still be with you long after this friend has passed out of your life. I’m just being pragmatic here. And if someone asks you if your spouse can do something that you know will be taking advantage of your spouse, go ahead and politely decline for your spouse. Spare them the burden of being the bad guy every now and then. Nothing is more frustrating than your spouse passing along a ridiculous request that makes you feel obligated to say yes because if your spouse has to go back and say no, it is embarrassingly obvious who is the naysayer in the situation. Which was the whole purpose of this cowardly person asking your spouse instead of you in the first place. Moving along. . .
Do not make little digs or complaints about your spouse to other people, and try not to lose patience with your spouse in front of other people. The last one is particularly difficult when you have littles and you are frustrated with the children and/or the situation, but it is very important. If you put the weaknesses in your marriage on display, evil minded people will use that against you, whether to cause problems in your marriage or to manipulate you.
Avoid the near occasions of sin. Don’t put yourself in compromising situations. You know the ones I’m talking about. We’re all adults here. It is naive to think you can spend lots of time unchaperoned with members of the opposite sex or send overly familiar emails, texts, and messages to them without it leading to something more. And believe it or not, some people are deliberately trying to cause trouble. You cannot stop birds from flying around your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair!
Well, I have exhausted my five whole years of marriage knowledge. What would you add?