We've compiled all of our marriage advice in one place, and you definitely don't want to miss it! Make your marriage stronger than ever with these tips we've learned over the years.
WARNING: This has (almost) nothing to do with finance or frugal living. And I'm going to pretend to be Dr. Phil for a hot minute. But don't run, I promise it will be worth your time! We've decided to answer a few questions centered around marriage and the challenges that come along with it. Now, I know we seem like sisters, but believe it or not, I am no Oprah. Oh, and to set the rumors straight, we are not sisters.
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
BUT… I have been married since 2007. I do have eight kids. Our marriage is strong and thriving, sure. But we have been on the brink of “wow, are we really going to make it?” to the climax of crazy-stupid in love, “holy crap, how did I get so lucky to marry this person??” (and every stage in-between). So I guess you could say that while I don't have the letters behind my name that a formal therapist has, I did get a master's degree in the school of the hard knocks and happened to graduate top in my class of “learn the hard way”-ers.
Before we get to all our our great marriage advice (that you definitely don't wanna miss, by the way), let's first talk about…
HOW THIS MARRIAGE ADVICE TOPIC CAME ABOUT
When we sat down to answer your marriage and intimacy questions and film this, what started as casual conversation turned into a deep and intimate discussion. We had thousands of people tuning in live and Instagram kicked us off because we were basically breaking the internet! (Wish I could say that wasn't true! #DarnYouInstagram)
To say we were humbled by the response we saw from our Q&A would be an intense understatement.
The emails, comments, and DMs came pouring in. The topics we covered, the stories and hardships we shared, and the resources we mentioned gave so many of you hope. It started hard conversations between you and your spouse that you had been burying for decades.
For many of you, it showed you that you aren't alone in the hardships and joys marriage brings. We were B L O W N A W A Y that our simple Q&A could spark so much conversation. Our conversation is deeply personal and incredibly intimate, but we couldn't ignore the flame it had ignited. Thus, going against what might be my better judgment (#MercyLetsHopeNot), we've gathered up all of our best marriage advice and are bringing it directly to YOU!
A FEW NOTES ABOUT THESE MARRIAGE TIPS
As I share these videos and tips, I just ask a few simple things:
- Please respect us and everyone else who chimes in in the comments. Pretend we are at a marriage support group. Don't shame us or anyone else, please respect the sacred nature of the things we are discussing, and keep them amongst our Freebs family only.
- We are married and will be talking about personal, intimate subjects and topics. If you are not married or are 18 or younger, please consider saving this post and reading it down the road when it becomes appropriate for you.
- Please note that we are a married man and woman, so we are referring to “husband and wife” because, well, that's what we are! But we love and respect relationships of all forms, so just take what we say and picture adapting it to your own situation as best you can.
- We aren't professionals, this is just our experience and opinions. Though, I really do wish I was Oprah…
THE BEST MARRIAGE ADVICE
Ok! Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the videos! We've broken each video down and notated where each portion starts in the video so you can easily find it if you need to rewatch it later.
Watch part 1 of our marriage series ONLINE HERE, or click and watch below:
Alright, keep on reading for a recap of some of our favorite marriage advice from this first video!
THE IMPORTANCE OF DATE NIGHT – 8:30
We make date nights a priority in our marriage, even though it can be hard to work them into the schedule. We've found that the hardest times in our marriage were the times we didn't focus on our relationship and put it first. We now plan for dates when we plan our year in advance. This ensures they aren't forgotten or pushed to the side!
We love to do group date nights with our friends to maintain those relationships because they're very important to us. It's also super important to have a date night just with your spouse so you can get that quality, uninterrupted time together! Put the phones down and keep movies to a minimum since you can't connect that way.
We have some fun get to know you questions we keep on our phones that help you dive in deeper and really get to know your spouse better. We still learn new things about each other when we ask them! We'll also turn to Google any time we want some fresh questions.
It can be hard to have date nights when you have kids, but work a babysitter into the budget. We've also done babysitting trades before, which worked out great and gave our kids a playdate with their friends. Do whatever you have to do to make it work!
OUR FAVORITE DATE NIGHT IDEAS
Date night doesn't have to break the budget! Here are some of our favorite free or super cheap ideas:
- 18 Free Date Night Ideas To Get You Having Fun Out On The Town
- Active Date Ideas to Get Your Heart Racing
- 20 Fun At Home Date Night Ideas That Are FREE
- 21+ Spring Date Ideas: Cheap, Easy Ways to Keep The Love Alive!
- 30 of the Best Cheap Summer Date Ideas
- 25 Fall Date Ideas to Keep the Romance Alive!
- 25 Winter Date Ideas — Cheap and Fun Ways to Connect!
As long as the focus and priority is on you and your sweetie (aka NOT the kids!), then you'll have fun together no matter what you do. If you do want to talk about work, the kids, things you need to accomplish at the house, etc., then set a timer to get all of that conversation out of the way at the beginning of the date. Once the timer goes off, no more talk about those topics!
MARRIAGE ADVICE ON DISAGREEMENTS – 14:40
Compromise in marriage is so important! Over the years, we've learned to lay down ground rules for when we disagree. This will save you if you both know how you want to handle them before they happen. Here are our best marriage advice tips for handling disagreements or fights:
- There is absolutely NO shame in seeing a marriage counselor! We went and it was awesome. We only had to go a handful of times, but it was so beneficial in our marriage. However, make sure you're going to a marriage counselor who actually wants to strengthen your marriage! It took us THREE tries to find someone who actually wanted to help us work on our marriage rather than quit on it.
- Take turns active listening. Focus on what your spouse is saying, rather than interrupting them in the middle of their thought. We will literally say, “I need you to active listen right now” when we need to get something off of our chest without being interrupted.
- When you're done active listening, repeat back what you heard them say with “What I understand is…” This will help make sure you're both on the same page and understand what is going on.
- Another great clarifying question to ask is, “Do you want my opinion or just for me to listen?” It can be very hard, especially for men, to want to try to fix things when really, you may just need him to listen. By asking or saying this upfront, it allows the other person to know if they need to give an opinion when it's all said and done or just be a listening ear.
Disagreements in a marriage happen! Fights will probably eventually happen, and it's okay! As long as you can both get through them and learn from your mistakes, then they'll have been worth it.
GREAT MARRIAGE RESOURCES
You study in school to prepare for the real world, so why wouldn't you study to prepare for your marriage?! Once you're married, we highly recommend grabbing these marriage books and giving them a quick read. All of the content may not be completely applicable to you, but they're still worth the time put into reading or listening to them!
Here are a few of our favorites:
Whether you've been married ten days or ten years, you can both get great marriage advice from these professionals! We both try to read the same book unless it's specifically written for the wife or husband to read. It's worked wonders for our marriage and helped us both understand how the other's mind works.
HOW TO GET YOUR SPOUSE ON BOARD – 24:17
This piece of marriage advice is huge! It's hard to ask your spouse to read a marriage book or go to counseling when you have a breakdown in communication and you're not super connected. You almost have to build their trust back up again. We suggest starting with the foundations first, such as turning the electronics off and focusing on each other, to really put the focus back on your relationship.
The next step is to be the one to drop whatever grudge you're holding on to, or whatever “list of wrongs” you're keeping in your head. Once you stop bringing up those things and throwing them in their face, they'll be much more likely to want to work on things! Be an example to your spouse. If you want them to do something (or to stop doing something), be the one who does it or stops doing it first. Once they see you changing your ways, they'll be much more open to changing theirs.
And my absolute BEST piece of marriage advice is to treat your husband like you did when he was your boyfriend! You know, back when you were actually trying?! 😉 Give your spouse the respect you gave them when you first started dating and you'll see some massive changes in your relationship.
THE PLATINUM RULE – 30:15
We've all heard of the Golden Rule, “Treat others the way that you want to be treated.” But have you heard the Platinum Rule? “Treat others the way that they want to be treated.” This is HUGE in a relationship! There's a good chance that you and your sweetie show and receive love in different ways. This is where the book The 5 Love Languages comes into play. Find out your spouse's love language and treat or love your spouse in the way that they want to be treated or loved.
IMPORTANT MARRIAGE ADVICE
Let's get on to the next video! You can watch part 4 of our online marriage series ONLINE HERE, or watch below:
Alright, on to a recap of some great marriage advice!
HOW TO FIND “ME TIME” – 1:28
After being home with the kids all day, my personality needs some downtime at some point during the day so I can give Bubba the quality time that fills his love bucket (read The 5 Love Languages if you don't know what I'm talking about!) once the kids go to bed. This is why I'm so passionate about productivity, organization, and systems. I firmly believe that you can “do it all” when it comes to the important things in your life! It won't all be perfect, you will have to say no to some less important things, but it is doable.
A lot of it comes down to scheduling time for things, which is why the Productivity Planner and block schedule system works so well for me! I usually have to have some “me time” between our family time/tuck-in time and our couple time together in the evenings. I need time to recharge by myself. I'm much more willing to want to give Bubba his quality time together after that.
FIND WHAT YOUR SPOUSE NEEDS TO FEEL LOVED – 6:50
This marriage advice is HUGE! You can't fully give your spouse what they need until they, themselves, know it. This is where His Needs, Her Needs comes into play. It really helps you dig deep and figure out what exactly you need to feel loved. It took me a few weeks of thinking on it to really discover what makes me tick.
However, not everything in the book may hold true for you! It goes into telling husbands that they need to show their wives plenty of affection, touching, and hand holding. That's actually reversed for us! I don't need the affections like Bubba does. So just remember that when you read a marriage book, take what applies to your specific relationship and discard anything that doesn't ring true for you.
REGULAR WEEKLY CHECK-INS – 10:14
The only way for the two of you to stay on the same page in your relationship is to talk about it! We'll have weekly check-ins on Sunday nights and ask the same two questions that each person has to answer: “How have I made you feel loved this week?” and “What can I do better to make you feel loved?”
This will allow you to think back on your week and gives you a chance to really discuss any ways to better your relationship! This little piece of marriage advice keeps you working on your marriage consistently and it will really show after a while.
BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR FAMILY – 11:40
Alright, let's move on to a subject that can get a little more difficult! When you married your spouse, you married their family as well. However, you have to change your priorities and make sure your spouse and children come before the family. If someone, either in your family or your spouse's family, are trying to come between that, it needs to change!
We got really lucky and we both get along wonderfully with our in-laws! But we know that's not the case for everybody. If that rings true for you, you have to remember that it's about respect. While it's always best to earn someones respect, sometimes it has to be given before it's been earned. Be the one who tries the hardest, is the bigger person, and kill them with kindness! It will really go a long way.
MARRIAGE ADVICE ON DISAGREEMENTS – 17:34
We've all heard the famous “Never go to bed angry” piece of marriage advice. However, that definitely does NOT work for us, especially me! Things never go how you would like them to when you're overly tired. We've found that when I've had a chance to sleep on it, things don't seem as big of a deal as they did when I was tired. It's much easier to have a discussion versus a big blowup.
That being said, don't let a hard topic or a big subject go over 24 hours without discussing it! Just because you're going to bed doesn't mean you get to skip over that topic. There's a reason you were having a disagreement about it, so it needs to be worked out.
When you are in the middle of a disagreement at night, sometimes it's good to take a minute when things are getting too heated. We will literally give a timeout signal and walk away from each other for a few minutes. When we come back together, we usually decide that it's time to go to bed and talk about it the next day once we're both well-rested.
HAVE HEAVY CONVERSATIONS IN PUBLIC – 20:42
We don't do this all the time, but this little piece of marriage advice has come in handy for us and saved our bacon more than once. When we know that we really need to talk about a heavy topic, we'll take it to a restaurant! It helps us keep our tones and behavior in check. This is why we suggest having money dates out of the house, since those are usually the heavier topics.
Money is one of the top reasons that couples fight. We've broken that down to give you some insight on why couples fight about money, along with ways to stop! Go enjoy your date night, get those hard conversations out of the way, and be amazed at how much stronger your marriage will be.
Note: There's more to this video than where we stopped, but we took all of those details over to our intimacy in marriage post that you definitely don't want to miss out on!
Whew! Now that you have all of our best marriage advice, what would you add? Let us know in the comments!
Looking for more great tips?
- It's good to experience new places and things with your sweetie. Get all of our best tips, tricks, and hacks on cheap travel!
- It's picnic time! Grab your picnic basket and get ready for some cheap fun.
- Get together with your friends and throw a party!
Now go strengthen your relationship!