By age five, many young girls can recite the definition of romance: a dashing young prince whisks his beautiful princess into happily ever after. As we grow older, we realize there’s more to love than magical feelings and fairytale endings. Even so, many men and women have starry-eyed expectations when it comes to marriage.
Pinterest, an online social media scrapbook, says that around 70% of its users create wedding boards before they’re even engaged. While I personally see nothing wrong with this, I have to admit that with half of all marriages in the United States ending in divorce, it seems that we may be putting more thought into the idea of romance than we are how we can nurture our marriages.
As a single adult, you may have marriage on the brain, or you may not. You may worry that you’ll never find “the one,” or you may be perfectly content as you enjoy freedoms and opportunities that married people do not have. Regardless of your situation, if you plan to marry someday, you’ll avoid a lot of frustration by entering marriage with healthy and realistic mind-sets.
Below, ten ministers’ wives share their wisdom and experience. Though these ladies have given their advice with women in mind, I feel men will find it beneficial as well.
Enjoy these wisdom nuggets, and may your future marriage be blessed!
Cindy Wofford, Bible College Instructor/Minister’s Wife, Lufkin, TX
Welcome to the arena that is the “hope” for our world. You have chosen this amazing and beautiful path called marriage that God instituted just for us so long ago. Cherish it, fight for it, never give up on it, and if God wills, hand it down to your children—for strong marriages are the hope for our world. Preserve yours. And on a simpler note, always talk, have fun, never forget how to laugh, and always kiss your spouse goodnight.
Misti Ferguson, Pastor’s Wife, Eastland, TX
I’ve only been married for 14 years, but it’s been an exciting ride. The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that spouses have to treat each other with respect at all times—even more so than love, surprisingly. I’ve seen couples be affectionate but then say and do cruel, hurtful things to each other. The hurt always outweighs the hugs and kisses.
It’s important that couples see themselves as a team–a gang of two united against anyone and everything else in the world. I’ve always got my husband’s back, and he always has mine–when our daughter tries to play us against each other, when someone is snarky toward me or him, when family members try to interfere too much, etc. His goals are my goals, and my goals are his. We help each other reach them because when one wins, we both win.
Juanita Terrazas, Pastor’s Wife, Paragould, AR
My first piece of advice is this: Men cannot read our minds. No matter how hard or uncomfortable it is, you have to tell your husband how you feel. As women, we want our guys to know what we are feeling or thinking, but they don’t have that ability.
Equally important is this: No matter how bad things get from time to time or how angry you feel, you must always have “How are we going to work through this?” in the back of your mind, never “We won’t make it through this one.”
No matter the fight, no matter the problem, if you stick with it, things will get better, and the good always outshines the bad. If there’s ever a time to be stubborn, it’s with your marriage. Have the unwavering mindset “WE WILL MAKE IT, no matter what!”
Barbara Westberg, Author & Minister’s Wife, Cushing, OK
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
My husband usually includes this scripture in any wedding ceremony he does. If newlyweds would practice this verse, divorce rates would take a nose dive.
DeAnna Sibley, Pastor’s Wife, Castroville, TX
Wedding day advice: It is YOUR wedding; make it what YOU want it to be! Keep in mind that no matter who is there or not there, and no matter how many or how few candles are lit, etc., the thing that will matter most are the words you vow to that young man and to God.
Marriage advice: Learn to make compromises on the unimportant things like how the toothpaste is squeezed, if the toilet paper should roll under or over, and which brand of orange juice is the best. But make up your mind to never compromise on the things that do matter, like how often you pray together, how often and where you go to church, not speaking lowly of your spouse or criticizing him publicly, and always avoiding questionable situations in order to protect your marriage.
Cherith Williams, Assistant Pastor’s Wife, Brookhaven, MS
Giving out marriage advice makes me grin. Because real life is just that—it’s very REAL. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter may portray perfection: the date nights, the couple selfies, and the “just because” flowers. You won’t find pictures of the dirty socks on the floor or the pile of candy wrappers that weren’t cleaned up. In reality, there is always a struggle with two people starting a life together and then keeping their marriage healthy as the years pass. I’ll share a few tips from my heart:
- Be open and honest with each other. Always.
- Don’t complain about or tell intimate details of your marriage to anyone.
- As a safety measure, always make sure your spouse knows your whereabouts.
- If you must make a negative comment, end with a compliment.
- Nagging is a no-no.
- Learn that a quiet answer turns away wrath. Don’t forget it.
- Pray with and for each other.
- Find out the little things that make your spouse happy and try your best to do them.
- Read The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman.
- Remember that love is a choice.
Cara Farhat, Music Director, Youth Pastor’s Wife, Westlake, LA
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I came across this little quote several months ago. It may sound cliché, but it was life-changing for me, so here’s my advice:
Stop comparing yourself or your marriage to others. Someone will always have a nicer, tidier home. Someone will always have a shinier car. Someone will always have the family that looks perfectly put together in EVERY. SINGLE. Instagram photo they post. So what! Love yourself. Love your husband and your family. Cherish each and every thing God has blessed you with. Love deeply, and be thankful. Life goes by so quickly. Don’t waste your days comparing.
Sarah Simmons, Pastor’s Wife, Hutto, TX
First, be patient. It takes time for God to mold you as a new couple. Second, forgive. Don’t make things bigger than they really are; forgive and move on! Be yourself and contribute to the relationship the same as you did while dating. Keep loving and caring for each other. Find out how your spouse loves, and let him know when you yourself feel loved.
Last but not least, figure out what your mission is as a couple and then work at that mission until you die. There may be twists and turns, but even if your dreams don’t come to pass like you envisioned, the love you have for each other will carry you through anything.
Tiphanii Meadors, Metro Missions Pastor’s Wife, Philadelphia, PA
Being married to my best friend pushes me to want to be a better person, and that’s the way it should be. Even after 6+ years of marriage, I find myself thinking daily: What can I do to be a better wife? What can I do to show my husband that I love him? And also, what can I do to make myself more lovable?
Randa Chance, Author, Speaker, & Minister’s Wife, San Antonio, TX
- Build up your man in front of others, including your children. Affirm him, praise him and compliment him in public, even when you want to knock his head off. If you have a problem or disagreement, take care of that privately. Never tear him down in front of others, even as a joke. Even the smallest jokes in front of others can cut deeply and be hurtful—and he will remember.When you thank him for being a good husband, or tell him how handsome he looks, or show appreciation when he takes out the trash or does little things around the house, you make him feel like a king—and he will remember that too. How you treat him is an excellent example to others of how you treat the people you treasure.
- When you have problems in your marriage (physical, emotional, financial), seek counseling and do it quickly. There is no stigma in getting help. People go to doctors for physical and emotional issues, and marriage is the biggest contract of all. Talk to your pastor; find a Christian marriage therapist or counselor. Focus on the Family has many resources to find the right counselor. Get the help and skills that may not have been modeled for you growing up so that you can strengthen your relationship and have a successful marriage with the person God gave you. This is a lifelong commitment. The better prepared you are to face life together, the more you will enjoy it together and understand each other.
- This last one is important: Make physical intimacy a huge priority. Flirt all the time with him. Lots of intimacy = happy, confident husband.