11 Rules of Marriage by Dennis Rainey

Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife recently wrote his 11 rules of marriage. Here's a repost of his column.

Rule 1: Marriage isn’t about your happiness. It’s not about you getting all your needs met through another person. Practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, patience, understanding, and forgiveness are the fundamentals of a great marriage. If you want to be the center of the universe, then there’s a much better chance of that happening if you stay single.

Rule 2: Getting married gives a man a chance to step up and finish growing up. The best preparation for marriage for a single man is to man up now and keep on becoming the man God created him to be.

Rule 3: It’s okay to have one rookie season, but it’s not okay to repeat your rookie season. You will make rookie mistakes in your first year of marriage; the key is that you don’t continue making those same mistakes in year five, year 10, or year 20 of your marriage.

Rule 4: It takes a real man to be satisfied with and love one woman for a lifetime. And it takes a real woman to be content with and respect one man for a lifetime.

Rule 5: Love isn’t a feeling. Love is commitment. It’s time to replace the “D word”—divorce—with the “C word”—commitment. Divorce may feel like a happy solution, but it results in long-term toxic baggage. You can’t begin a marriage without commitment. You can’t sustain one without it either. A marriage that goes the distance is really hard work. If you want something that is easy and has immediate gratification, then go shopping or play a video game.

Rule 6: Online relationships with old high school or college flames, emotional affairs, sexual affairs, and cohabiting are shallow and illegitimate substitutes for the real thing. Emotional and sexual fidelity in marriage is the real thing.

Rule 7: Women spell romance R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P. Men spell romance S-E-X. If you want to speak romance to your spouse, become a student of your spouse and enroll in a lifelong “Romantic Language School,” and become fluent in your spouse’s language.

Rule 8: During courtship, opposites attract. After marriage, opposites can repel each another. You married your spouse because he/she is different. Differences are God’s gift to you to create new capacities in your life. Different isn’t wrong, it’s just different.

Rule 9: Pornography robs men of a real relationship with a real person and poisons real masculinity, replacing it with the toxic killers of shame, deceit, and isolation. Pornography siphons off a man’s drive for intimacy with his wife. Marriage is not for wimps. Accept no substitutes.

Rule 10: As a home is built, it will reflect the builder. Most couples fail to consult the Master Architect and His blueprints for building a home. Instead a man and woman marry with two sets of blueprints (his and hers). As they begin building, they discover that a home can’t be built from two very different sets of blueprints.

Rule 11: How you will be remembered has less to do with how much money you make or how much you accomplish and more with how you have loved and lived.

Pass on “The Rules” to a friend who will enjoy them!

A Perfect Gift for Your Marriage

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  • What's do I get for my husband?
  • In a time of uncertain economics, do I spend a lot of money?
  • Do I buy something else that takes up space?
  • What if she doesn't like it?
Instead of buying a gift for your husband or wife, what if you agreed to buy a gift for your marriage?

What would be a perfect gift for your marriage?

A few suggestions:
  1. Set aside money to have a party on your anniversary to celebrate with friends. Affirm your commitment and love to each other with friends.
  2. Take a weekend or a day just for the two of you (no friends or kids) to enjoy each other and have fun. Fan the flame of romance that brought you together.
  3. Sign-up for a marriage conference, such as FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember, during the coming year. Make it a get-away for the two of you.
  4. Plan date nights together for the coming year. Plan one a month for each month in 2011.
  5. Take an evening together and write together three things that you can do during the coming year to strengthen your marriage.
  6. Enroll or commit to take a marriage class together during the coming year.
  7. Each of you write a tribute to the other one and to your marriage. Share it with your family and friends.
  8. Read a marriage book together or do a study together. (see suggestions for these on a another post in the near future).
  9. Give the gift of acceptance - tell your spouse that you love him as he is if he never changes, and mean it.
  10. Give the gift of forgiveness. Write down any offense or hurt from your spouse that you still carry around in your head. Tell God that you are not going to try to punish your husband/wife for that offense or hurt. He doesn't punish you for your sin once you have received the gift of forgiveness through His Son, whom He sent to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins. Tell God that you will not keep bringing up the offense just as He doesn't bring up our sins; they are cast to the depths of the ocean. Tell God that you will no longer dwell on that offense, even if it comes to your mind. Then tear up the list.

    This gift is the gift of grace that God gave us through Jesus Christ. The perfect gift to give each other because of Him. The true reason for the season.