1. Be available
Michelle received this piece of advice from a friend six months before she married Jim Bob, and to this day, she says it is the best marriage advice she has ever been given.
Here's what her friend, Gala, told her:
“Michelle, I know you’re so excited. You’re a bride-to-be, but someday you’ll be at this point. I’ve been married three years and I’m still happily married. I have one child, we’re expecting our second and I’m big (and) pregnant. You’ve got to remember this. Anyone can iron Jim Bob’s shirt, anybody can make lunch for him. He can get his lunch somewhere else. But you are the only one who can meet that special need that he has in his life for intimacy. You’re it. You’re the only one. So don’t forget that, that he needs you."
“And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big (and) pregnant and you may not feel like he feels."
As Michelle has followed that advice through the years, she has seen her husband make great sacrifices for her in return.
He will sit there and listen to everything I need to tell him because he knows that I’m there for him, too. I’m meeting his needs, he’s meeting my needs.
The mother of 19 reminds newlyweds that their relationship with each other comes before their relationship with any other person on this earth, including their future children.
It’s not just me and the Lord; it’s me and the Lord and my husband.
2. Talk about disagreements privatelyThe Duggar family makes a point to praise publicly but correct privately, and this advice rings true in marriage, as well. Michelle encourages Jill and Derick to keep private matters between each other.
Step aside and say we’re going to talk about this privately. And don’t ever put your husband down in front of your children or other people, especially your families.
3. Get marriage advice when you need itMichelle advises married couples to seek wise counsel when they need it.
We have all been there. Yes, we have a oneness with (the) spirit in Christ, but there are times that we need others to give us life counsel. So be willing to go seek it together.
And while friends can be eager to offer advice, couples often need to seek counsel from other people. Michelle also encourages husbands and wives to listen to sermons together and to attend marriage retreats.
When Josh and Anna tied the knot, Jim Bob gave his son a few relationship books by Ed Wheat (see our store page). Before Jill married Derick last weekend, Michelle put together a special bridal package for her daughter, which consisted of items for the honeymoon and notes of encouragement.