If you read my latest marriage blog post, then you’ve already heard about Brett and Carol Ray. They are the incredible couple that Nick and I are blessed to call our marriage mentors. We first met Brett when we attended a Family Life “Weekend to Remember” marriage conference. He was the speaker and we LOVED hearing Brett’s talks on marriage. Brett is relatable, funny and full of wisdom and insight. I recently asked Brett if he would write a guest blog post to share some practical marriage tips.
I hope you enjoy reading this post from Brett Ray as much as I did. Take some notes and share this post with a friend…these tips are helpful for all married couples!
3 Ways to Improve Your Marriage from Brett Ray
There have been many things in my 28-year marriage to my wife Carol that have helped strengthen our relationship. However, there are three main things that have guarded us from calling it quits, giving up emotionally or starting to look around for fulfillment in inappropriate relationships.
Number One: We never plant Seeds of Divorce in our marriage.
Seeds of Divorce are those lines that are said when one is hurt or angry with their spouse.
“Well I think you just married the wrong person!”
“I don’t think this is going to work out!”
“I can’t see any way this can last!”
My wife Carol and I made a bond with each other when we were engaged that we would never plant Seeds of Divorce. We’ve never broken that no matter how hurt or upset we have gotten. Also, Carol and I joke about everything. I mean everything. We never joke about divorce. Joking about divorce is a way of planting those negative seeds we don’t want to grow in our marriage. If you have been making comments like these in your marriage, consider apologizing and making a change to stop planting Seeds of Divorce today.
Number Two: A Healthy Date Night.
I’d like to say three things about date night: First, it has radically impacted our marriage. Second, it really works best when it is done consistently and not sporadically. And third, you can destroy a good date night if you don’t have the Date Night Golden Rule.
From September 30, 1989, our wedding day, until June 4, 2007, Carol and I dated every single week I was home and only missed approximately 5 -10 times in those 18 years. Some people would say that is pretty crazy, but I am telling you that God used it as glue to help hold us together through some pretty tough times.
In 2007, I sustained a permanent brain injury and we had to do our dates at home for a long time. There was nothing wrong with that in a crisis; it’s just nice to get out and away from the crazy of home when you can.
For those consistent 18 years of dating…
There were always excuses not to go.
We put it in the budget.
We put it in the budget.
I have heard a lot of couples do this; find another couple to watch your kids on date night and then return the favor on their date night.
When we just had next to no money at all we went to the park and packed dinner from home. Or we went to Taco Bell and spent a few dollars on tacos.
Another excuse was being too tired.
We went anyway. It really paid off and gave us a little retreat from the stress of work.
This is the best tip I can give for those of you considering to try to do a consistent date night:
The Date Night Golden Rule: Do not talk on your date about anything controversial or touchy. If finances get you worked up, do not talk about them on date night. If talk about your sex life get’s you worked up, do not talk about it on date night. Just have fun and stay away from “hot button” issues in your relationship.
Some couples have given up on date night because they get together for their date and fight all night. Just have fun; you know you need the break. This is honestly the reason we have continued to enjoy date night after 28 years of marriage.
If there is any way to pull this off, try to go on the same night of the week each time. It is easier for it to become a habit this way.
Number Three: Short and sweet. The couple that prays together stays together.
If your spouse is willing to pray with you, make it happen. Most couples tell Carol and me, for whatever strange reason, they just don’t feel like it.
So what do you do if you wake up in the morning and don’t feel like getting to work? You get up and get going. Don’t ever forget that prayer is simply talking to God. Spend time talking to your Heavenly Father together. Be a couple that prays together.
My wife Carol and I have had the incredible privilege of mentoring Peg and Nick Theobald. They are very dear to our hearts.
If you would like to stay in touch with us, I have an email Tip that is Tiny that comes out on Tuesdays and I would love for you to sign up for those. The Tip is on one of four topics depending on the week: Parenting, Marriage, Family or Faith. We would love to have you sign up today by clicking here.
If you want to learn more about Brett & Carol Ray and their ministry, click the image below to head to Brett’s website. You can also find his latest book on marriage, Marriage Guacamole: Five Ingredients for an Authentic Marriage, by clicking here.