Just a few days from now, our oldest son, Ben, will marry the love of his life, Becky. I haven't been asked for much input on the day's events, which is probably a good thing. I have been told I have no coherent advice on how to plan a wedding. (This after suggesting pant suits for the bridal party, and a wedding cake adorned with cocktail franks.)
I do think, based on 24 years' experience, that I can offer my son a few bits of advice on how to navigate a marriage. So in no particular order, here goes.
* Praising your wife in front of other people does wonders for her self-esteem.
* If you give a compliment, mean it.
* Criticizing your wife in front of others, even in jest, is always a bad idea. Always.
* Sometimes, she doesn't want you to solve the problem. She just wants you to listen. I know, I don't understand it either.
* Don't fall for that line of garbage that says marriage is a ball and chain. Think about the people who tell you that. They would give anything to have what you have.
* Sometimes, impractical as it seems, it's better to spend $500 on a trip than $500 on furniture. Provided you have the $500.
* Credit card debt is a monster. Don't fall for it, even for the short term.
* Don't keep financial secrets from each other. They do not remain secret.
* Live on less than you make. In fact, learn to live on one income. Swim against the tide.
* Tithe. Not only does it honor God, it also brings focus to the rest of your money decisions.1