Marriage Advice From Older Couples

With lasting marriages on the decline, where do you go for advice? Find a mentor and check out these tips today!

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

FINDING MARRIAGE MENTORS

My kids are in a rare position in that their parents have been married for 15 years and both sets of grandparents are still together (40+ years).

Most marriages are on a rapid decline, so where do we go for advice when things get hard? While counseling is a good option, it’s also a good idea to have a few couples you look up to that you feel would give you good, healthy advice when it comes to conflict in your marriage.

I have a group of older women mentors at my church who are amazing, honest, outspoken, encouragers to new moms. These are women I personally admire and respect and have turned to in times of anguish and discouragement in all walks of my personal life. I have seen them share their hearts, their parenting fails, their marriage obstacles and encourage me that no marriage is perfect—but that there are good, happy marriages out there.

If you have someone in mind you admire, call them up, ask them to coffee. Don’t wait for others to step in, put yourself out there and introduce yourself! I’ve found that most older women are honored that younger women would come to them for advice and wisdom.

While you’re brainstorming a few people you want to get to know better, here’s some marriage advice from some of my mentors over the years.

WHAT’S ONE THING YOU DID TO KEEP YOUR MARRIAGE STRONG?

  • Play together: Have fun—laugh, date, try new things. Enjoy one another.
  • Learn about each other: Find out your love languages.
  • Communicate: Talk about your hopes and dreams, your fears, your future, your hobbies. Find time to connect each day. Kiss each other good-bye before work and before you go to sleep. Text or call often.
  • Help your husband: Encourage, support and ask what would be helpful to him.
  • Pray together: Even if he isn’t willing to pray together, you can always pray for your husband.
  • Have sex: Your physical relationship is important–even when things aren’t going well your physical relationship creates oneness. Remember you are your husband’s only love life–be available, enjoy it!
  • Read your Bible: Be intentional in what you do and remember you are not your husband’s Holy Spirit.

WHAT PARENTING ADVICE DO YOU HAVE IN REGARDS TO MARRIAGE?

  • Continue to date each other: Have date nights or weekend away–kids see it and find security in it.
  • Put your husband before your kids: This is counter-intuitive to what the world says, but children need stability, and putting your relationship first will allow you to make decisions based on what’s best for the kids.
  • Work on a healthy relationship: Have a united front, disagree in private away from the kids.
  • Be on the same page as parents: It’s ok to make decisions later to come to an agreement–“You’re grounded and Dad and I will tell you the details later”.
  • Make your husband a priority: Even when you are caring for little ones, spend time together alone.
  • Put your children to bed: This is the easiest way to create time for you and your husband to connect.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE IN DEALING WITH IN-LAWS?

  • Accept them for who they are: Try to understand why they are the way they are (feelings of loss of closeness with their son, threatened by your influence, acting out of fear, baggage from their own childhoods, etc.).
  • Don’t speak badly about your in-laws: Even though your husband may agree, it’s hurtful. It’s his family–he knows their flaws. Don’t put him in the position to feel the need to choose sides because of your words. Speak about issues in a way that shows honor and respect. Remember that his parents are the reason he turned out the way he is—the man you married was shaped by these people, the good and the bad.
  • Do your best to be kind and compassionate instead of trying to prove you are right: This is HARD with difficult people, but try your best to show compassion, humility and love. Be kind in how you approach difficult topics.
  • Show your character through actions, not words: Arguing something to death won’t help win a person’s heart, but kindness and humility will show them you are acting out of love.
  • Be a team with your husband, work together, stand together on issues: But be respectful and show honor and love towards in-laws when conflict arises.

HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH CONFLICT?

  • Don’t bring up an issue in a time of arguing: Talk to your spouse in a calm time out of love, not anger. Be careful to address areas of sin in a way that it’s about him not you. Best time is after a meal, when kids aren’t around.
  • Set the stage by affirming him and being rational, not confrontational or nagging: Praise him, compliment and share with him what he does well.
  • Allow him to point out areas you need to improve so you can hold each other accountable: You have a right to hold each other accountable but only out of love.
  • Remember what you love about your spouse: The traits that drew you to your husband are still there, they just look different. Be careful of comparison.
  • Remember who the real enemy is: Spiritual warfare is real! Satan does not want your marriage to succeed. Work together to solve the problem, not against one another.
  • You can believe the best or believe the worst: There are two ways to interpret what you’re husband’s doing–choose the noble one. God calls us to look at our spouse like he looks at our spouse
  • Pray for your husband and for him to be in the Word: You can’t force growth on someone. Realize that your husband can’t fill all your needs, but that God can–go to the Lord with your questions first.
  • Pray to God and be in relationship with him daily: When you feel disconnected, ask God to remind you why you went on that second date with your husband, why you decided you wanted to marry him.
  • It’s not going to be your words that woo your husband, it’s your actions: Find ways to connect, serve, love and support him.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

Want to work on your marriage? Take the 4 Week Marriage Challenge today! This workbook contains 30 days of challenges, illustrated verse coloring pages and a marriage tips cheatsheet. Order in my shop here:

Then check out these other posts on marriage:

You’ve got this!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

Simple Date Night Ideas for Married Couples

Find a new idea for a date night in your city, or in my list for Fort Worth locals. Also includes tons of at-home ideas.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

MONTHLY DATE NIGHT

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. One thing I’ve learned is that Date Night is a MUST to help us reconnect. Life gets busy and you get in your routine. When stress kicks in, you start to feel disconnected from your spouse.

Make date nights mandatory in your household–once a month is a good starting place!

DATE NIGHT IDEAS

  • Dinner and a movie
  • Drive-in movie theater
  • Local festival
  • Concert
  • Comedy Club
  • Walk around downtown square
  • Antique store shopping
  • Bookstore
  • Game at a coffee shop
  • Jazz club
  • Cover band
  • Brewery Tour
  • Wine Tasting
  • Orchestra
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Horse-back riding
  • Kayak/Canoe
  • Fishing
  • Tubing
  • Carnival
  • Picnic
  • Dinner cruise
  • Art gallery
  • Botanical garden
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Flea market
  • Museum
  • Batting cages
  • Mini golf
  • Ice skating
  • Rock climbing
  • Paintball
  • Painting class
  • Pottery class

FORT WORTH DATE IDEAS

Live local? Here are my favorites:

NO SITTER?

  • Some places offer Parents’ Night Out. (Search online for programs at kid gyms, YMCA, rec centers and local churches)
  • We even swap with another couple and watch their kid while they go on dates! (A great way to get a responsible, free babysitter!)
  • I discovered a few awesome sitters through Care.com. (Allows you to run a background check and I always test run a few times while I’m home.)

AT-HOME DATE NIGHT IDEAS

1. MOVIES

We are big movie buffs. One thing that we enjoy are watching movies in a series. It gives us something to look forward to at night and talk about during the day if we haven’t seen the series yet. One offs are good, but series allow you to make connections between films.


2. GAMES

There’s something calming about disconnecting from screens and pulling out an old-fashioned board game. We enjoy teaching each other card games we grew up on or remembering the rules to classics like double six dominoes.


3. CONCERTS

Grab a bottle of wine and a movie projector and watch your favorite band “live” on the big screen for an unforgettable date night!


4. VIDEO GAMES

My generation was the first to grow up playing video games as kids, so sometimes our kids are impressed when we know how to get first place on Mario Kart without their help. Here are some classics we love to play when the kids are in bed.


5. TV GAME SHOWS

Recently I started showing my kids TV game shows I grew up on like Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right and Double Dare on YouTube. If you have Amazon Prime, there are tons of full episode game shows you can watch online:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

Want to spice up your marriage? Take the 4 Week Marriage Challenge! Includes 30 days of challenges, illustrated verse coloring pages and a marriage tips cheatsheet. Order in my shop here:

Check out my other posts on marriage here:

Mark a date night on the calendar and enjoy time for rest and relaxation!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

14 Lessons From 14 Years of Marriage

Learn new ways to keep the same marriage problems from reoccurring, or at least learn healthier ways to deal with them with these 14 tips.

LOVE & MARRIAGE

In the beginning, you dated each other–you were kind, you hid your flaws, you surprised each other, you wrote sweet notes of encouragement and love. What happened?

You got comfortable. You started acting like the real you, and they saw you, flaws and all. But that’s what you wanted. And you still want.

However with REAL-NESS, comes REAL MESS. So if you want your marriage to work, you have to learn ways to keep the same problems from reoccurring, or at least learn healthier ways to deal with them.

I’ve made a few of my own messes in our marriage, such as starting an argument in bed after my husband’s fallen asleep and shoving too many potato skins down the garbage.

I’ve learned a few things along the way, and most not so easily. Big changes in our marriage came from big events–his mom’s cancer, a friend’s divorce, my own illness and disabilities, struggling in parenting and poor personal choices.

But each time we chose to eventually fight together against the hard things instead of against one another. We’ve learned to invest in our marriage by attending marriage conferences at church, finding mentors, support from friends in healthy marriages and praying for one another.

We aren’t doing marriage perfect–but we are doing it the best we can–committed to thriving, not simply surviving.

In 2019, we celebrated our 14th anniversary and our relationship looks a whole lot different than when we first met. We’ve carried each other through our absolute worst and celebrated at our best.

Funny husband and wife picture

14 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED IN OUR 14 YEARS OF MARRIAGE

1. Laugh Together

Our honeymoon did not go as planned. We thought it would be hilarious to go to this cliche resort in the Poconos to save money. Turns out, it was a huge disappointment. In addition to me getting sick from the exhaustion of planning a wedding, our dog-sitter lost our dog. When all was said and done, we needed a vacation from our vacation.

The reason we fell in love in the first place was because we had fun and made each other laugh. I felt safe and comfortable because it didn’t feel like work, it felt like fun. We did the best we could to make the most of a crappy honeymoon. Luckily, were able to have a redo the next year with a cute cabin in the woods near our home.

Laughter has brought us through many hardships, diffusing the tension in moments of agitation. It’s a way to see positivity in a negative situation. We are a team, not each other’s enemy.

One year of marriage photo

2. Forgive Easily

I used to pick every battle because when you get married everyone gives you the “don’t go to bed angry” verse. Instead of interpreting as, “give full vent to all of your emotions at bedtime”, I learned to use it as a self-check. Nighttime anger may be diffused by something as simple as getting some sleep or having a good breakfast. If it still bothers you in the morning, pick a calm time to address it with your spouse. Once I used this tactic, 9 times out of 10 I was relieved I hadn’t made a big deal out of nothing the night before.

3. Date Each Other

This is so important especially once you have children. Coming together to refocus on each other and gain perspective in your parenting by getting a sitter and taking a breather will make you a happier, healthier couple. And in turn, better parents. We didn’t have much family nearby so we traded babysitting with friends and used local parents night out events.

4. Put Your Marriage Before the Kids

Before you had kids you were a team—continue to work together and stay on the same team. If you are constantly choosing between what the kids want and what your spouse wants, the family will crumble. Kids test their boundaries, that’s what helps them learn. Train them to understand that you and your spouse support each other. Have your disagreements out of earshot of your children. Don’t disrespect your spouse by brushing off their opinion in front of the kids. (I’m talking to myself here!) Let your spouse make their own parenting decisions without feeling the need to correct constantly. Your way is not the only right way to do things. Let your spouse help!

5. Get Away For The Night

In addition to making a habit of going on dates, plan an overnight trip once or twice a year. Even just booking a hotel in a nearby city square and walking around to look at shops, go to dinner or a movie will do wonders for your marriage. Sleep in, get room service, have sex. Seriously, make time for your spouse and try not to talk about the kids until you get home!

Five years of marriage photo

6. Surprise Each Other

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he loves to surprise me (not always fun being snuck up on, but more of the “will you marry me?” kind of surprises). This year, my family had an early birthday party for me. Our babysitter came over so my husband and I could get a fancy dinner and go to a movie. On my actual birthday, we still celebrated with cards and a picnic dinner in the living room.

7. Encourage Each Other

This is so important to do so make it a habit–set an alarm once a week to leave a sticky note, send a text or write on the bathroom mirror. Tell them why you’re proud of them, why you love them or what you noticed was thoughtful that week. A little can go a long way. This is an easy way for me to feel loved and noticed.

8. Pray For Each Other

This has been my go to when I’m frustrated with my husband. It calms my mind and focuses me on my own tone and may even give me some perspective on his own situation and reactions.

9. Support Each Other

I am constantly getting excited about new ideas or ventures and my husband has never told me I was foolish for attempting something new. I may not make a penny back on a new idea, but he supports me and my passions even if he is the breadwinner. So when he started restoring vintage motorcycles, my fears crept in, not about money, but about safety. But after all these years of letting me pursue my dreams, who was I to discourage his?

I voiced my concerns but said I wouldn’t tell him no. He was understanding and respectful but explained he needed something new in his life–I had just been through hell and back with my disease and he didn’t want to live in fear. He wanted to go for the things we always wanted to try. This argument was mine as well when I asked for us to start spending more money toward family vacations. In having a conversation rather than a fight, we were able to both feel heard and respected and able to go after our goals.

10. Serve Each Other

This can be as simple as making dinner each night so that your spouse can take a nap after work. It can be bringing him coffee while he’s getting ready in the morning or filling up his car with gas after you use it. It can be scheduling date nights and babysitters and sending a text: We’re going out, Thursday night work? Open the door for her, give him the better seat, do little things to put their needs before your own to show that you still love them.

Ten years of marriage photo

11. Prioritize Your Love Life

One thing that helped me understand best how my husband and I are wired differently was to figure out our love languages. I discovered that I need Words of Affirmation, while he feels most loved through Acts of Service. I didn’t understand the big deal about the sink being cleaned out or my clothes folded up, while he didn’t understand my need to be encouraged. It’s not a prideful thing, it’s about feeling loved and appreciated.

He wants the same, but he doesn’t hear it as easily through my words, he hears it through helping pay the bills and setting up vacation plans. As you grow, you may change in what areas you need to focus on the most, and chances are there are 2-3 areas that speak to you. Take the quiz or read it out loud to your husband if you need to. Learn about each other!

12. Get Your Own Hobbies

The first year or two of our marriage, I felt like I was constantly waiting on my husband to finish up with his hobbies so we could hang out. This was a bad plan. He plays a million instruments, loves being outdoors, and in general, never sits still.

As soon as I started picking back up old hobbies from high school like painting and sewing, he started interrupting me to see if I wanted to hang out more.

13. Give Each Other Freedom

One thing we’ve learned is to say yes as much as possible when we need our space. This can be because there’s something we’re excited about doing on our own (like shopping without the kids) or everyone’s driving us crazy. My favorite thing to do is writing at a coffee shop or browsing a book store. For my husband, it’s a day to go hunting or getting outside. Find your niche, and respect each other’s need for a breather every once in awhile. Try not to set time limits on the other person.

14. Listen To Each Other

While there may be a lot you need to get off your chest, your spouse also wants to know that they are being heard as well. No one wants to feel like the person is waiting to interject their point. Sometimes venting is just venting, needing an outlet to be listened to, not wanting a counselor for a solution. So make sure you’re available to listen. Don’t forget to apologize if you start taking over the conversation with your opinion (Sorry, babe!)

It isn’t through our strength that we are going strong all these years later–it’s our shared focus on Jesus to guide us and strengthen us one day at a time, without whom I could have never changed for the better.

14 years of marriage family photo

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

Whether your marriage is brand new or a few decades in, we can all use a little refresher. Take the 4 Week Marriage Challenge today! Includes 30 days of challenges, illustrated verse coloring pages, and a marriage tips cheatsheet. Order in my shop here:

Catch up on my other marriage posts here:

You’ve got this!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: