It is sad and silly that we can get a marriage license without knowing anything about how to be married. Here are some practical guidelines that can serve like a How-to manual for marriage. You might want to send this to a marriage you know that’s in trouble. For yourself, give you and your mate letter grades on each one, and exchange your papers.

1. We try to accept and celebrate each other, not control and correct each other.

2. We give help and praise to each other freely, out of love and faith, not guilt and fear.

3. Living for something beyond ourselves, we love our spouse as we love ourselves.

4. We do not lie to each other, or cover up what our partner needs to know.

5. In arguments, we seek first to understand, and only after we do, to be understood.

6. When we can’t agree, we seek a third opinion together.

7. We try both to earn and give trust, but we give forgiveness freely as it benefits us both.

8. When we’re wrong, we admit our mistakes, our motives for them, and we make amends.

9. We keep our love lively by mutual giving of communication, co-operation, and affection.

10. We value and support each other’s friends, family, careers, health, religion, and interests.

11. We don’t give to others time, money, or attention needed more by our marriage or children.

12. We delegate some responsibilities, but minimize double standards of rules and privileges.

13. To keep our power balanced, the strong one at the time makes the lion’s share of sacrifices.

14. Financially, we both appreciate earning, saving, sharing, enjoying life, and living simply.

15. We only have eyes for each other, so all our romantic sexual energy goes into our bedroom.

16. We apply these guidelines first and foremost to ourselves, and only then to our mates.


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Dr. Paul F. Schmidt