A Simple Guide to a Beautiful Marriage | The BridgeMaker

A Simple Guide to a Beautiful Marriage

By on Oct 07, 2010

The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life. – Oscar Wilde

Mary Beth recently returned from a five-day trip. She was attending to personal business while I stayed home to hold down the fort. The regular day-to-day activities continued, but with a different beat.

My wife and I have developed a reliable rhythm over the past 25 years. She likes tackling the home improvement list and I like tackling the housecleaning; she likes cooking without recipes and I like cooking comfort food; she likes building things and I like maintaining them.

Mary Beth is my liberator and I am her protector.

Sometimes when what we have is removed; we can see it with better clarity. When she was gone, I realized, once again, how much I love her and how beautiful our life is together.

Our approach to marriage has changed over the years. We don’t expect it to be perfect; we only expect it to last. We look for what the other needs and then try to give that. We are learning what we really need is for the other to be happy. Through years of trial and error, what we are learning most is how to create a marriage that can be expressed in five simple, heartfelt and beautiful words.

It’s my pleasure to share a husband’s perspective, my perspective, and this simple guide to a beautiful marriage.

Respect your wife. Give her the freedom to grow and build a life that doesn’t include you. Allow her to see the wonderful gifts inside of her and then celebrate as your wife shares these with the world. Respect the love she gives you. Soak it in. Let it cover you with its sweetness. Understand this is the best gift she can give anyone. Honor her gift with your love and fidelity – always.

Give without expecting anything in return. Give because your heart says to give. Give her the best you have to offer. When she asks what’s on your mind, give her an honest answer. When she needs comfort, give her more than she expects. When she needs to lift her head to see her mistakes, give her a tender nudge and then get out of the way. Give her a safe place to cry and to be weak. Give her the chance to be whoever she wants to be.

Share everything. From the last piece of cake to monitoring your children’s homework, take an active, equal role in the marriage. Resentment begins with a soft whisper before growing into a more demonstrative outburst. To share a life, the things in it must be shared too.

From the odd quarks to her radiance, and everything in between, enjoy your wife. Take her in. Watch as she sleeps, as she brushes her hair, as she sits next to you thumbing through a magazine. Watch her elegance, her tenderness and her expressions of joy, suspense, anger and fear. Bottle these moments in your mind and take them out whenever you want to enjoy a dose of her amazing beauty.

Managing finances, raising children, building a career, relocating, enduring a crisis, all contribute to the challenges every marriage faces. There’s only one way for marriages to thrive despite these circumstances: Persistence. Be persistent during the times when it feels like the light is being consumed by the dark; remain faithful and believe the good will eventually trump the bad; never give up when you feel like everything you are building is about to fall. And what’s the source for this hope? Love. Surrender to love. Fall back into it and take your wife with you.


I excitedly heard the door open as Mary Beth pulled her car into the garage. She was home. When she walked into the house my heart skipped a beat before returning to its more reliable rhythm.

We hugged and then exchanged quick updates about dinner plans, her missing luggage mishap and where I put the mail. My wife and I were reconnecting our lives and it felt simply beautiful.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • This was a great conversation starter for my wife Diane and me. The five guides are wonderful ways to think about relationships. We thought of adding communication under the ‘share’ guide. Share not just tasks, but also your thoughts and feelings too. Always!

  • Hi Alex, I’ve been meaning to check out your site for some time now and I’m so happy I finally did! Wow, what a beautiful post! It definitely pulled at my heart strings. If my husband had written this, the waterworks would be going for sure. 😉 We’ve been married just over two years now and couldn’t be happier. I hope to be able to say the same at 10, 25, 50 years…

    Like you and your wife, we’ve worked out our own battle rhythm for taking care of the house, the pets, and one another. A few years ago, my husband was the best man at his friend’s wedding, and the last line of his toast was, “I hope you’ll look back on today as the day you loved each other the least.” It’s funny, cus it’s definitely been true for us. I would have never thought it would be possible, but I truly love him more and more as time goes on. From the sound of your post, I know you know what I mean.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with the rest of us. I hope to learn much more from you in the days to come!

  • 39 years Tess – that’s amazing. It’s good to hear there’s plenty more romance ahead in my marriage, too.

    You too Barbara? Your marriage sounds amazing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Barbara

    Alex, Thank you! Simply beautiful and insightful. My hubby and I have shared 36 years together, raised two children, and several pets together. We worked together at our business, and have spent much time together, and yet my heart still skips a beat every time I see him…… Our marriage just keeps getting better and better over time.

  • “We don’t expect it to be perfect; we only expect it to last.”

    This sentence and what you say about persistence are very powerful.

    I was enjoying hub’s toes last night as we were lying on the coach together. Weird huh…I know exactly what you mean about enjoy. I also have began noticing how he looks when he eats. I practice looking at him with loving eyes.

    Shhh don’t tell he doesn’t know about either, Although he may feel it. We’re nearly at the 39th year!