Three happily married couples were asked to share their advice with young people who are preparing for marriage, or are already married, on what makes a happy marriage. Here is what they had to say.
Mervyn and Lilian Giddey
1 The first thing we thought of was that we are each other's best friend. We have other friends, of course, but it is with each other that we share everything!
2 We've learned to 'tough it out' when things are rough. Many unexpected things have come our way and we've learned that when we're on the 'same team' we can cope. This includes having our first baby being born with a disability, as well as facing employment uncertainty, and financial and health challenges.
3 We’ve been able to help one another when one of us is experiencing a 'low' - sometimes spiritual, sometimes emotional. And perhaps more importantly, we know we can depend on each other when we're in that space.
4 The gospel and our testimonies of our Saviour are central to our marriage. Shared beliefs and practices are such a blessing in our relationship.
5 And we talk! We simply don't bottle up concerns and things that could get bigger. We try to be authentic and honest and open when something is bothering us. And we're constantly trying and learning to be better about really listening.
Glenn and Amanda Holmes
For us understanding one another as people and as male and female has been very important.
If your ward or stake runs a Strengthening Marriage course then that course is a wonderfully inspired program which every couple would do very well to attend and apply the principles taught there.
Added to all the above and most importantly is that couples pray together, read the scriptures together, attend the temple together and HAVE DATE NIGHTS. Date nights mean doing something together, just the two of you with no family, friends or children in tow.
Much of what we do and how we respond and react in marriage is a choice. In 2 Nephi 27 we read about how we are free to choose. We are free to choose the type and quality of the marriage we are going to have. In the same chapter we read that we are here to have joy. So this joy in our marriages is a choice, a daily, sometimes hourly choice.
We are our Heavenly Father’s work and glory (Moses 1:39) and He wants us to be happy and successful. He is there to help and guide and inspire us in our marriage and family life so we need to invite Him in and lean on Him and counsel with Him and open our hearts to His love and guidance in our marriages.
Sigmund and Bernadette Geldenhuys
- Live worthily to have a temple marriage.
- Agree at the beginning of your marriage as to what function each of you will serve and what responsibilities rest upon your individual shoulders. Also agree that there are joint responsibilities, like keeping your home neat and tidy. There should not be a master and slave situation.
- Always express gratitude for all that your spouse does for you and avoid criticism.
- Be prepared to join your spouse in an activity which you may not personally choose to do, but which you know that they would enjoy. (Going to the opera, or going to watch a sporting event?)
- Be patient with faults and short-comings which your spouse may have. Remember that you married them for the person that they are. Work patiently and kindly with them to bring about improvements in behaviour and life-style.
- Discuss any actions which may affect both of you. Don’t take any major decisions without the knowledge and consent of your spouse.
- Be prepared to sacrifice for your spouse. You may need to work in the event that there aren’t sufficient finances for both of you to study. You may need to put your own wants and desires on hold so that your spouse can have something which is more important.
- Many people say that marriage is a 50 – 50 relationship. But if you are only devoting 50% of your time and attention to making your marriage a success, then who or what are you devoting the other 50% of your life to? You need to be TOTALLY devoted to your spouse and your marriage.
- One of the major problems which lead to a failed marriage is debt. Stay out of debt, the only exceptions being for gaining an education and purchasing a modest home.
- Don’t expect to immediately have a home equivalent to the one in which you lived with your parents. Realise that it took your parents a lifetime to establish their home.
- Be prepared initially to furnish your home with secondhand goods, or even family hand-me-downs.
- Pay cash for your purchases, save until you have the necessary funds, and avoid the temptation to purchase on credit.
- Mutually establish a monthly budget and stick to it.