Know this: You and your spouse get to create a brand new family. This family won’t look just like the one you came from or the one your spouse came from. You get to create. Take the best ideas from the homes you each grew up in and then add your own inspiration to make the very best family possible. As you build your own marriage and family, here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Marriage is good. Don’t let people tell you it is super hard. It is actually so nice to have someone with you who has the same goals. You work together and have twice the fun.
2. Spiritually grow together. Pray together every day. Thank Heavenly Father for each other and for your chance to be together. Attend church together. Have gospel conversations often. Go to the temple as frequently as you can. Fast each month…regularly for the same purpose. Serve each other. A combination of these things will help you link spiritually together.
3. Be content. The world would have you think that having a lot of money brings happiness. It doesn’t. A content attitude allows you to be happy. You have each other. Count your blessings not your “stuff”.
4. Combine your social media accounts as soon as you get married…yes, all of them. You are one now. What someone “messages” one of you they “message” both. You will see and read the same posts and tweets. It will be a huge protection in your marriage.
5. Never speak ill of your spouse. Don’t share things that will make your spouse feel foolish or dumb. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of your spouse. See them as unique. See the good in your spouse and a put a smile on your face. Love and adore them. They will grow and become better.
6. Be up front and honest in all things. If you hear or see inappropriate things, quickly tell your spouse. Pornography will not become a debilitating problem in your marriage, if you are honest and don’t keep secrets from each other. The same goes for being honest in your schooling and in your career. Council together.
7. Forgive and keep your answers soft. Get over your frustrations faster by being meek. Try to see your spouse’s perspective. Examine yourself and try to be the best you possible. “Solve your struggles with a mirror rather than a magnifying glass.” (a quote from my wise husband… He has never yelled at me, and he loves me despite my shortcomings.)
8. Go to bed at the same time as your spouse, when possible. You will have a closer bond.
9. Don’t speak of your intimate marriage relationship with anyone except your spouse (with the exception of an extreme case or abuse.) Keep the spark in your marriage. Flirt with each other and keep dating. (You may enjoy the post: Date Night).
10. Remember why you fell in love. Keep simple traditions alive…write kind notes, laugh, take a walk, go on a hike…create fun that doesn’t cost anything. Cherish your time together. Build your relationship. Ask questions and continue to learn about each other.
11. Discuss and plan finances. It may be wise to write down every penny you each spend so you can realize what bills need to be paid each month and realize where you are spending the rest of your money. Combine your accounts. Trust each other and talk often too keep from overspending. (The post Budgeting Tips—Watching Your Money may help you budget.)
12. Never Look Back. This advice comes from a friend of mine, “Something that my husband and I decided early on was that once we had decided to marry and put our shoulder to the plow together in planting our future, that we could not look back. We could not look back on discouraging days and think: did I make the right choice? But that we would look forward with faith, knowing that the Lord had approved our choice to be married, and He still approves. That can help a lot in working to build each other and our future together. Don’t ever look back.”
A happy home is like heaven on earth. Life can throw you all kinds of hard things. Find joy in every circumstance. It is so wonderful to be on a journey together!
(Thanks to all those folks who gave me these ideas…by the way they live and by the words they say.)
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