Marriage Advice from 22 Real Couples

This photo is by Heidi Lockhart Somes, from our engagement photo sessions in Seattle. See all of our engagements, via my Engagement Photos series Pt. 1 How to Prepare, Pt. 2 What to Wear, and Pt. 3 Who to use for Save the Dates.

Happy Saturday!! Nick and I were married yesterday!! Nooooo I'm not writing this from our hotel room. I have this scheduled;) As I was planning my content for the wedding and honeymoon week, I had an idea to get marriage advice from couples Nick and I admired. I thought it would be a perfect first post after we were married!

Whether you're single, in a relationship, engaged, or even already married, there's something to learn for everyone! I asked couples from different backgrounds, ages, and marriage lengths- no cookie cutter answers here!  Buuuuut, if you aren't sure you're ready of for this post yet, check out my Date Someone Who Makes you Better post, from earlier this year.

Scroll below to read advice from 22 real couples! I asked them to answer either their number one marriage tip or their favorite part about marriage, but some answered both. Some wrote their answers together and some wrote them in first person - some are more bubbly, some are to the point, but all are good! They are in the order that I received responses in. Enjoy!!

Paul and Hannah Morrison (Hannah runs The Cake by Hannah)


How long have you been married? 2.5 years


What's your favorite part about marriage? It's really hard to pick the one best thing about marriage! I love being married. It's freaking hard, but it's so worth it. I had to fight off a lot of haters for getting married at 21 years old, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Everybody's story is different and no age defines a "good" marriage. Hard work and the choice every single day to love them is what does. I knew I was young and that we would have our own set of struggles that "more established" people wouldn't have, if you will; but, I have gotten to walk through the craziest parts of my life, huge decisions and taking massive leaps, with my best friend and husband by my side.

What's your number one marriage tip? If there is one piece of advice I would give, it's to pick together a small group of wise counsel over you. We have three couples we trust and go to mutually for guidance or to help us settle disagreements we can't shake. From there, we shut out the haters and take other people's advice lightly. It's not because we discount anyone's advice outside of these couples, thee couples just bear a much heavier weight in our lives. 

James and Ashley Thorne (James is the one officiating our wedding ceremony!)

How long have you been married? 5 years

What's your favorite part about marriage? On a light note, we love not staying out late just to hangout or trying to juggle schedules to see each other because dating is over rated.

What's your number one marriage tip? On a serious note, the more we are selfless and serve each other the more love, passion, joy and freedom we both get for ourselves and each other. WE LOVE TO LAUGH and so we do that all the time. 

Andrew and Kailea Allen (Andrew is a groomsmen in our wedding!)

How long have you been married? 1 year

What's your favorite part about marriage? I get to hang out with my best friend all the time and do ridiculous things

What's your number one marriage tip? Communication is key. Don't hold anything in. Be honest with each other.

Michael and Lauren Sims (Michael is a groomsmen and Lauren is a bridesmaid and runs LaurenKaySims.com)

How long have you been married? 2.5 years

What's your favorite part about marriage? I love that my best friend is the person I wake up with every morning and fall asleep with every night. We can have great days or really hard days, but we both know that we love each other regardless of any circumstance. You get to do life - mortgage, traveling, family trials, walks with the Lord, dishes, and everything in between, every single day with your best friend and the love of your life. It just makes life 100 times sweeter, richer, and more fun. Marriage truly is the greatest gift! There's a great deal of comfort and confidence in knowing that we will be by each other's side,  every day for the rest of our life.

Aaron and Kelly Matthews (Aaron is a groomsmen in our wedding)

How long have you been married? 4.5 years

What's your favorite part about marriage? The best thing about being married is that you get to have a sleepover with your best friend every night. Also, marriage is exceedingly way better than I (Kelly) thought it would be. I spent years believing I didn't want to be married because so many of my friends and co-workers seemed miserable married. 4.5 years isn't a super long time married, but there's times I'll look at Aaron and think, "Should we still be having this much fun together?" Because that's what it is to me- it's so much fun! I've had the time of my life being married. I hear often how hard marriage is, but that it's worth it. And I will say the first couple of years are a little shaky because it's something you and your spouse have never done before.  It's your commitment to learn together and grow together that gets you to the fun part of all of it.
 

What's your number one marriage tip? My advice, don't wait til it's bad, or hard, or fighting all the time to work on your marriage. Aaron and I love going to marriage nights at our church and weekend marriage conferences together. We do it to learn and laugh and be better for the other one. Not fix what is broken already. Stay active at always working on your marriage, not after resentment or anger or bitterness has set in. Keep God first and each other a close second, fight fair and quickly, laugh a lot, take lots of pictures, and set healthy boundaries to invite the good and resist the bad. Every marriage is different- don't compare your marriage to someone else's. Advice is good, but not all of it is what will work for YOUR marriage. 

Eric and Dana Spann (my dad's younger brother and sister-in-law - I included an extra photo, because he actually designed and made her wedding dress!)

How long have you been married? 25 years

What's your favorite part about marriage? Living life with your best friend!

What's your number one marriage tip? Well, you might expect that we would advise binding your marriage together on a foundation of  Christ, otherwise it is easily toppled.  Always put the other person first and do all things expecting nothing in return.  Pray constantly for your spouse and never hold a grudge.  Be quick to say, “I’m sorry.” If it bothers you, take it to prayer and ask God to help you let it go…if that doesn’t work then say it in love and find common ground.  Never use the word divorce; ever.  Wait some time before having children. Don’t have just one (unless God prevents anymore).  We waited 5 years and didn’t have our first child until we were 30.  Best solid advice we received was from our pastor in San Francisco; she said, “Always maintain a united front in public.”  We have used that more than anything else.  

Ron and Staci Riffe (longtime family friends - Staci threw my bridal brunch)

How long have you been married? 31 years

What's your favorite part about marriage? Having your best friend to share life with!

What's your number one marriage tip? Keep your priorities straight: God, Family, Health and your job!  The first 3 you can't live without and you can't replace!  Resolve all your conflicts in priority order. And never stop finding fun things to do together!

 

Jason and Melissa Lucas (Missy is Nick's cousin)

How long have you been married? 5 Years

What's your favorite part about marriage? I love that I have someone to share everything with, someone to lift me up on a bad day and someone to laugh with. 

What's your number one marriage tip?  Being married is hard work. It takes two people who not only love each other, but also respect and trust each other. You have to allow each other to grow as individuals, support them in their journey and be there to catch them if it doesn't work out. It's a beautiful thing if you are willing to work for it. 

Noel and Sarabeth Spann (my parents!)

How long have you been married? 28 Years

What's your number one marriage tip? A successful marriage is more than a number of years. Quality for our marriage revolves around being Christ centered. Beyond that, simply enjoying one another through common interests; think in terms of pre-kids and post-kids.  Wait to have children - when the time is right for you, not when your friends are having children. Don't major on minors. Forgive and forget (did we say forget?). Communicate (don't expect the other one to read your mind or body language). Hold hands and snuggle a lot.  Love is a verb; in addition to saying "I love you", show it. 

Joel and Doe Philpott (Nick's Grandparents on his mom's side)

How long have you been married? 62 years (they were high school sweethearts!)

What's your number one marriage tip?  (there are no easy answers!) We really can’t identify a “Number one”, but we never forget that we signed up for a contract which is based on our mutual love. Could probably say that love continues, and our successful marriage has endured, because we’re both good business managers…we communicate, and coordinate our lives according to agreed to plans, principles and goals…and yes, always keep your sense of humor! (storms always pass!)

Chris and Kim Mulenos (Nick's parents!)

How long have you been married? 29 Years

What's your number one marriage tip? Having a companion that always knows what you are thinking before you say it.

What's your number one marriage tip?  Have fun, have date nights and don’t be afraid to say your sorry when you have misunderstandings.

Tyler and Laura Crosson ( Laura is a bridesmaid in our wedding) 


How long have you been married? 3 Years

What's your number one marriage tip?  Never stop having fun. No matter what life brings, enjoy having your best friend by your side. Laugh with them, pray for them, and love them well. Your spouse is a gift from God, and what a phenomenal gift they are.

 

Eric and Kathleen Isreal (my mom and Kathleen are basically sisters)


How long have you been married? 33 Years 

What's your number one marriage tip?  It is really important for us to worship together. It keeps our goals and life motivations on the same page. We also try to remember that we were best friends before we were husband and wife. It reminds us of what we originally loved about spending time together.

Jonathan and Tori Kropp (Nick actually officiated their wedding and Jon is an usher at ours!)

How long have you been married? 9 Months

What's your favorite part about marriage? You always have someone to lean on, help you, comfort you...you always have constant undying support. 

What's your number one marriage tip?  Laugh together as much as you can - humor and joy is so important in a relationship. 

TJ and Kami Blease (Kami is actually the one who introduced Nick and me. They are both in our bridal party- Kami is a bridesmaid and TJ is the best man)

How long have you been married? 3 Years

What's your number one marriage tip? Assume the best of your partner and that their intentions are pure. Always communicate your expectations; you are married to your best friend, not a mind reader :)

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Jerry and Marianne Mulenos (Nick's Grandparents on his dad's side)

How long have you been married? 48 years, until October 31st, 2006

What's your favorite part about marriage? I loved being married to a very special lady. Our best times other than the births of our children were our walks on the beach, through the park, in the mall, etc.,HOLDING HANDS, which I every so often would squeeze to let Marianne know how much I loved her.

What's your number one marriage tip?  NEVER GO TO SLEEP UPSET OR MAD, WITHOUT FIRST A FEW LOVING HUGS AND KISSES.

David and Mikayla Blease (David is an usher in our wedding)

How long have you been married? 1 Year

What's your favorite part about marriage? Marriage is the best because you get to spend your entire life with the one person who makes you better, encourages you, and loves you unconditionally. And when you marry your best friend it's like having a non-stop sleepover, except no curfew!

What's your number one marriage tip?  A woman's greatest need is security. A mans greatest need is honor. Wives even when your husband is wrong, still honor him. Husbands, even in everything you say make sure they always know they are safe and you are a safe place.

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Joshua and Hannah Rollins ( Josh is a groomsmen in our wedding!)

How long have you been married? 1.5 Years

What's your favorite part about marriage? Our favorite thing about being married is finally being able to live life together everyday and share all our stories from the day with each other -we lived in different states the entire time we were dating.

Michael and Amanda Herndon (They were our Merge Premarital counseling mentors!)

How long have you been married? 7 Years

What's your number one marriage tip? Marriage takes hard work, the best hard work! When you two are not getting along, look at your own personal relationships with the Lord. Are you spending time with Him? Yielding to the Spirit? Abiding in Christ? Make sure that vertical relationship is strong so that your horizontal relationship with each other is rooted in the Lord and full of grace, understanding and most of all love.

Itamar and Natalie Keinan (Natalie runs The Fashion Hour)

How long have you been married? 4.5 Years

What's your number one marriage tip? Be each other's biggest supporter and laugh with each other every day. :)

James and Meagan Parks (James used to work with Nick)

How long have you been married? 2.5 Years

What's your number one marriage tip? The most humbling part of marriage is choosing every day to be gracious, loving, and encouraging. Living life with someone throughout this rollercoaster we call life is such a joy. We're learning to find contentment in even the most everyday moments, because it's a moment shared. God is continually teaching us that we're an imperfect work in progress. Marriage, like many life adventures, has its ups and downs, but remembering that you are on the same team is essential! Forgiveness during these times is vital to the success of your marriage and ability to walk closely with God. We have learned to keep a short account and communicate often. 

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

Quinn and Linda Spann (Linda is my Bonus Mimi!)

How long have you been married? 8 Years, until October 11th, 2011

What's your number one marriage tip? I had the joy and privilege of being married to Lauren’s grandfather Quinn for eight years. Although I would have loved more, we packed a lifetime of living into those years, traveling and being with family.  We realized that when you marry later in life, there is no time for non-essentials!  Actually, that might be my advice to Lauren and Nick: Don’t let the mundane elements of life, which can certainly be overwhelming at times, come between you or rob you of quality time together. Another thing I’ve learned is that when you marry, you marry the whole family. The greatest ongoing blessing from those years is my fabulous “bonus” family! Since our children grew up together, almost like brothers and sisters, we now have the best blended family on the planet! Lauren and Nick, it has been my joy to watch your relationship develop from friendship to love and now to a godly marriage.  I pray all God’s blessings will be yours!

 

I hope y'all enjoyed that and learned at least one thing. If you want, feel free to leave your marriage advice in the comments- we'd love to read them!