I recently did a Q&A on Instagram asking y’all what type of content you’d like to see and one of my most requested topics was marriage and relationship advice — specifically things I/we do to have a Godly marriage. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by the question, but I wanted to challenge myself to sit down and write a few things down that have been helpful for us and might be encouraging to some of you.
I’m certainly no expert in this field (and we’ve only been married a little under two years), but I have learned a lot since dating and being married to Duncan. By no means am I perfect, but I think it can be helpful to hear what others are doing and what works or doesn’t work for them. I personally love reading this type of content!
I could also see this post being something I edit or add to each year as I learn new things… I’m constantly learning and striving to be better. I know that, for me, when our marriage feels strong, everything else flows better. And our marriage is strongest when I’m personally abiding in the Lord (meaning, I’m spending time with Him, reading scripture, and taking time to reflect).
I should also note these aren’t things we necessarily do well every day but they’re things we strive to achieve in our marriage and things we’ve witnessed in Godly marriages around us.
Read Books That Encourage
It’s so important to me that I always continue learning and bettering myself in my marriage. Reading books and listening to podcasts about being a loving, committed, and Godly wife is something I committed to when I was engaged. I keep the Tim Keller book The Meaning of Marriage on my Audible downloads and listen to it alll the time.
I’ve shared this before on IG stories, but I don’t listen to music when I’m in the car. I use that time to pray or listen to books/podcasts or even just let my mind be still. I always feel encouraged when I listen to podcasts or books about marriage. Hearing about the kind of wife I’m called to be is humbling and shows me the areas I need to improve on (and the areas I’m doing well).
Never Go to Bed Angry
Okay so maybe I’m not always the best at this but it’s something we both strive toward. I remember when I was engaged, someone gave me this advice for my marriage and it truly stuck with me. In fact, in Ephesians 4:26, the Bible specifically tells us, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” This could be applied to any relationship in your life, but I think it’s especially important when it comes to marriage.
I’ve also been told this one gets easier as you’re married longer because you get better at arguing and communicating. And I couldn’t agree more — I can already tell a difference over the past 3 years of being in a relationship. I’ve learned *so much* about what it looks like to communicate (read: argue lol) in a healthy, respectful, and productive manner.
I’ve also become aware of some of the unhealthy communication patterns I picked up over the years. As I’ve become aware of these tendencies, it’s helped me become better at communicating. I have a lot of room for growth still, but something I keep learning (the hard way) is that seeking to understand where the other person is coming from does not take away from my point of view or how I feel. Just because I’m able to empathize and validate someone else’s feelings does not invalidate my own… if that makes sense? When I approach disagreements with a humble heart, seeking to understand, we’re able to get through to the other side (instead of staying stuck).
I think it’s also important to remember that we are both broken people. Instead of getting upset when Duncan does something that bothers me, I do my best to acknowledge that both he and I were born sinners and we’re doing our best to support each other in this relationship.
Keep God at the Center
This may sound like a no-brainer but it’s truly the most precious part of our relationship. One of the things that attracted me most to Duncan was that he was a believer and I knew he put God first in his life by the conversations we’d had. We had plenty of discussions when we were dating and engaged about how important it was for us to have a God-centered marriage. For us, this means spending time in the Word together, praying together, being in fellowship together, and raising our son in a way that puts God first.
Since we were dating, Duncan and I have made sure we pray together regularly. That’s not to say we do it every single day but we try to do it as often as possible. We’ve found that not only does praying together strengthen the bond of our marriage, but it also helps us seek God’s wisdom together in areas where we may be seeking some. When it comes to big life decisions (like moving back to Texas), we’ll spend time in prayer regularly asking for guidance and direction so we can make a decision that we feel aligned on together.
Date Each Other
You’ve probably heard the saying date your spouse, and it’s such great advice. When we were first engaged and married, living in Denver, Duncan and I went on dates all the time. Once we had Four, we found it to be a little more challenging to coordinate date nights, but we still do our best to have one at least every other week. Dates don’t have to be anything crazy either. You can just enjoy time together at home doing something other than your everyday routine. I wrote an entire post a few years back on easy-at-home date night ideas (LOL that I was calling Duncan my #mysteryboy back then… it feels like a lifetime ago!).
We both just like finding ways to have fun… whatever that looks like. I know this will change in every season of our lives too. Right now, our favorite date is a day date. We still get time with Four at the end of the day and we can get in bed early because we’ll inevitably be awake early in the morning. The other day we just walked around the mall for a couple of hours. It was such a simple date idea but we had so much fun and loved spending the time together.
Communicate Consistently & Honestly
Whether it’s discussing the plans for the day or communicating a frustration that one of us has with the other, communication has been critical for our marriage. I feel so blessed that Duncan is a great communicator and always tells me how he’s feeling — he’s inspired me to be better at this myself. I should note that communicating doesn’t necessarily mean telling your spouse all the things they do that bother you but rather expressing how you feel about a situation and then talking through a solution together.
Communication can look different for everyone too. It doesn’t necessarily mean sitting down and having a conversation. For us, communicating what’s on the calendar is hugely important and I feel like we have gotten into a groove when it comes to our schedules. This was something I didn’t really think about before getting married, but it’s important. It has become increasingly important since having Four. Duncan is a planner. I try to be a planner but my methods are less precise and I do a little bit of both: planning and winging it.
My way of doing things worked fine when I was single because I only had to think about myself — I could play a lot of things by ear and didn’t really have to make accommodations to get things done. But now that I’m married and we have a kid, I have more logistics to think about.
All this to say, I’ve found that having a set, weekly check-in about our calendars is incredibly helpful. It helps us thrive as a family. And oftentimes, having that conversation about upcoming schedules and logistics brings up other things that we need to consider or think through. At the end of the day, I try to constantly ask myself how we can function best as a unit instead of just focusing on myself.
Attend Church Together
This is much easier said than done these days with an almost-9-month-old, but Duncan and I have always prioritized going to church together. In fact, most of you probably remember that Duncan and I actually met at church (more on that here) so it’s something that’s been important to us since day one. We’ve always felt that it helps infuse truth and re-center us in our relationship with each other and with God.
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