MARRIAGE-OLOGY 101: Introduction

By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011

My husband and I met while we were in college. Although our university classes prepared us for our professions, there are certain aspects of formal classroom learning that we have found helpful through several decades of marriage:

1. Show up. Instructors often load their tests with information given in class that is not in the textbook. Students that attend class usually do well on tests. Attendance is important in marriage as well. More than one marriage has dissolved because one of the spouses was seldom at home. To keep your marriage alive, spend time with your spouse and children. Buy an ice cream cone and share it. Take the family to a park where the kids can play while you and your spouse chat. Cuddle with your spouse on a bench in the rain. Be there.

An image of a couple in the rain.

2. Pay attention to what is being said. Has a teacher ever asked you a question when you weren’t listening? That taught you to tune into the class, didn’t it? Apply that to marriage and pay attention to what your spouse says.

An image of a surprised man.

3. Make eye contact. Act interested, even if you don’t understand what is being said. You might learn something.

An image of eyes.

4. Take turns talking. If you have ever been in a class where one student asked all the questions, you know that it made everyone uncomfortable. It also puts strain on a marriage when one spouse does all the talking. Take turns.

5. Students that are polite in class win the respect of their instructors and their classmates. Applied at home, that means don’t be rude. Don’t yell. Don’t interrupt your spouse or children in the middle of a sentence. More couples would stay married if spouses were polite to each other and to their children.

6. Most problems presented in class are there for your instruction so that you are not expected to know how to solve them. The same is true in marriage. Don’t try to solve every problem that your spouse brings up. Try to learn from each problem because it may be there for your instruction.

An image of a quadrilateral trapezoid.

7. Read your assignments. If your spouse says, “Honey, read this when you get a minute,” then read it. It will make him/her think that you value the same things that he/she does. Even if you don’t think it is of value, just say, “I’m glad you showed me that!” You may learn something about your spouse.

8. Remember that there will be a test. It won’t be a written one, as it is in a classroom. When someone asks you a question about your spouse, you will know the answer if you have paid attention.

9. Stay organized. In the same way that you must be organized in class, you must be organized in marriage. Remember your own appointments. Pack your own suitcase for vacations and weekend trips. Don’t expect your spouse to do such things for you.

10. Put away your materials when you leave a room. You didn’t expect your classmates or your instructor to put things away for you. Don’t expect your spouse to do it, either. That means that you should hang up your towel before you leave the bathroom. Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. Little things do mean a lot. The Bible backs this up in Luke 16:10a when it says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” (NKJV)

11. Don’t cheat. Be honest. The same tendencies that lead students to cheat on tests are the same ones that lead spouses to deceive each other.

An image of a broken heart.

12. Don’t be a dropout. If you didn’t stay in school and graduate, marriage is your second chance to show that you have perseverance and can keep a commitment. Stay with your spouse. Ecclesiastes 9:9 applies to both husbands and wives when it says, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.” (NKJV)

An image of lovebirds.

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