Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Best Marriage Advice I Know Of

Currently, I know quite a few people who are engaged or newlyweds. It makes me reflect on all the different marriage advice I've been given and overheard.

The best advice I know is to seek to become as an individual what you want your marriage to become, and what you want your spouse to become. One of the greatest things about this advice is it's something one can try to do before marriage as well as during. This advice could be summed up by paraphrasing Ghandi: "Be the change that you wish to see in [your marriage and family]."

To explain what I mean: if I want to my spouse to be more patient, I should try to learn patience. If I want my home to be more peaceful, I should try to have inner peace. If I want the family to have more financial security, I should learn to be more responsible with money, and so on.

Rather than focusing on what needs to change or guiding my spouse or children to change appropriately, I should focus on bettering myself. I believe that this is truly following Christ's example. In the New Testament we have many of the Lord's teachings and miracles recorded; almost all of these things occurred in the final 3 years of His life. Before He began His mortal ministry, He privately, quietly lived a perfect life for 30 years. He perfectly lived everything He taught, and in doing so became the greatest teacher to walk to earth.

I'm not saying we shouldn't counsel together with our spouses and families; of course we should. There are also exceptions to this advice - for example, no one in an abusive relationship should work on becoming better so that the abuser will stop. Anyone facing these kind of problems should seek appropriate help immediately - but the ideal is that becoming better will help those around us more than offering good advice. If my children regularly see me reading then they are more likely to read than if I tell them books are awesome and they shouldn't watch TV so much.

Many times in my life I've felt uplifted and improved by those around me, and I have felt the strongest positive influence from people who I know to be of high character because of who they are. Who my role models are has always been more important than what they've said. I believe that following this advice allows me or anyone to have the same power to uplift marriages and families.