by Mark and Chantelle Foster

1. C: In arguments, there are no winners. If you feel you’ve won an argument, you’ve actually lost in the relationship department. Having a safe place to disagree is important.
M: Yep.

2. C: The correct answer is, “You look great!” When your spouse says, “Honey, how do I look in this outfit?” Fat is always the wrong answer. If your spouse is asking for your input, they are looking for affirmation. You might say, “I really like the blue outfit you wore the other night…You really look great in that!”
M: Yep!!

3. M: Financial stress is a marriage killer. Pay bills together. Be transparent about all credit, loans, debts and plans for retirement.
C: If you don’t like to talk about money because you’ve been very spoiled and sheltered, make yourself. If you can’t make yourself, seek therapy!

4. C: Have a holiday plan long before the holiday. Talk about why certain holidays are important to your families of origin and develop a plan. You may have to take turns. Whatever you do, do not try and please everyone! When you tell your families the plan, don’t waffle (don’t give in and blame it on your spouse) and don’t expect them to be happy and congratulate you. Just let them know you love them and when they can expect to see you next.
M: Yep. Easier said than executed.

5. C: Buy a great bed and get in it together each night. Going to bed at the same time is important!
M: Translation, “Sex is important – more important than many women think and less important than most men think, but still really important.” Intimacy in words, loving touch and intentional naked time together can make a bad day better and a good day a great day to remember.
The Bible even instructs Christians not to abstain from sexual activity with one another unless it is for an AGREED upon time of spiritual development, 1 Corinthians 7:5.

6. C: Treat your spouse as your teammate – not your adversary. You are working toward the same goal together.
M: Yes, pay attention here. It makes no sense to attack a teammate. Men, we have lost the art of husbandry, “the care of the household and judicious use of resources.” It is to bring out the best in our most precious loved one.

7. C: Don’t complain about your spouse or speak disparagingly about them to anyone, especially your family! (They hold grudges!)
M: When your spouse “vents,” (about their parents, siblings, best friend at work, etc.) beware and say nothing. Otherwise, when they forgive said “dirtbag” you are the one holding the bag for the joining in on the bashing.

8. C: Touch each other affectionately. Hold hands, hug and kiss hello and goodbye.
M: One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand…Kisses, three seconds or longer, are scientifically proven to help keep a marriage together at a much higher ratio than the “peck” out the door. It may even lead to No. 5!
9. C: Say, “I love you.” End your calls this way. It’s tough to hang up on someone when you are telling them you love them!
M: When she hangs up on you when you are saying, “I love you,” forgive her.

10. C: Set boundaries with friends, family and technology. Create sacred space for your marriage.
M: Go outside together and take a walk, watch a sunset, take a bike ride, put down a blanket and have a picnic or watch the stars. It may lead to No. 5!

11. M: Pay attention to Matthew 19:5, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Boys separate from Mommy and make your wife your first priority on earth. Girls, he’s not your Daddy. If you want a partner in marriage, be a partner in marriage. Honor your husband first even if your family of origin doesn’t like it.
C: Yep! Also, this scripture is a euphemism for No. 5. 😉

12. C: Get in the habit of going away together regularly. Couple time is important. Get used to being alone together – this place of vulnerability is vital to the relationship.
M: Yes!! One of the reasons you chose to get married was to spend time together. So, spend time together! “Vacation us” is almost always more fun than “everyday us,” or “work us” or “paying bills us.” “Vacation us” often leads to No. 5!

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