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Everyone has marriage advice for newlyweds for good reasons. Understandably, newlyweds are caught up in the bliss of the union, and because of that, they might be unprepared for any choppy seas that may come their way. For this reason, it's wise for newlyweds to put down their rose-colored glasses every now and then and take advice from longtime married couples who've learned how to navigate life's inevitable challenges and keep their union afloat. Here are some habits that newlyweds can put into practice from the start of their union.

Turn your house into a home.

When you're first married, decorating your home so that it feels like a home can be challenging. When decorating, one thing to consider is that your house should reflect the things that make both of you happy, which may include specific scents and colors or specific styles and furniture. Agreeing on how to turn your house into a home might be challenging if you and your spouse have different behaviors and tastes, so this is where a compromise is in order. For example, you might love elegant furniture, but your spouse will gladly decorate all rooms of your home like a sports bar.

In this case, maybe your spouse can pick the size of the TV in the family room while you pick the color scheme and couches. Alternatively, there's wisdom in using a furnished basement as the chosen space for a craft enthusiast, sports fan, or gaming lover. Something that most couples can agree on is that the kitchen is the home's heart, so consider making your kitchen a welcoming space to come home and keeping it well-stocked for an enjoyable and relaxing way to end a long workday.

Eat at least one meal together daily.

Throughout your marriage, you might discover that sharing a meal every day with your spouse becomes inconvenient. You may have different work schedules and different sleep patterns. You might also have children who constantly keep you moving or responsibilities outside of the house that make it easier for you or your spouse to eat on the go. If any of this sounds familiar, consider this: eventually, eating a meal together might be the only time you and your spouse are fully present and focused on each other throughout the day.

Enjoying and sharing food causes you to slow down and have meaningful interactions. Jesus understood the importance of a shared meal when He ate with sinners and His apostles. In fact, making time for meals was so important to Him that He instituted the New Covenant during the Last Supper, His last meal with His apostles. As newlyweds, choose a time of day that works for both of you to sit down, eliminate any distractions, enjoy a meal together and check in with each other. The food will nourish your body, while the habit of eating together will nourish your marriage.

Defend each other.

When you look at your spouse, you might not be able to imagine anyone who doesn't think that they are as wonderful as you do. Nothing bursts the newlywed bubble faster than when someone you know criticizes your spouse, and it can be incredibly hurtful when that critic is a relative or friend. Sadly, this is a reality that most married couples have to endure and that some married couples with weak boundaries can't beat. If you want your marriage to flourish, take your cue from happily, longtime married couples who say that making each other feel respected and supported is essential to their marriage's success.

Simply put, you'll help your marriage grow if you have each other's back in both the hard and easy times and if you establish solid boundaries with anyone who constantly causes tension in your marriage. When you maintain solid marital boundaries, you reinforce the unity at the center of your union. Protecting your marriage from people who cause division within the marriage, whether intentionally or not, also upholds God's Word that a husband and wife are to create their family unit and become one, as detailed in Genesis 2:24.

Maintain realistic expectations.

It's standard for couples to enter into a marriage with some expectations of what they want married life to look like. One person might see a 50/50 split of household chores, while the other might not intend to clean up after themselves. Likewise, one person might want to have several children, while their partner wants a smaller family. It's easy to say these things should be discussed and agreed upon before the wedding, but there isn't a single married couple in the world who had every aspect of married life figured out before their wedding day or who didn't change their mind about something later on. Realistically, couples in healthy marriages embrace a mature perception of what a good relationship looks like, which includes accepting each other's shortcomings and quirks.

For example, you might have married someone with no cooking or domestic skills and doesn't want to develop any. Instead of getting annoyed at your spouse for this, learn how to cook and do chores around the house yourself, pay someone else to do it, or find ways for both of you to handle household responsibilities that must be done and learn to live with those that don't.

Don't play the comparison game.

As every individual is unique, every couple is also unique. Flourishing couples know that comparing your marriage to someone else's ignores that uniqueness and tempts you to change your marriage in ways that suit someone else's relationship, but that may not work for yours. Successful couples also know that idolizing someone else's marriage is risky because it distracts you from caring for your marriage with what it needs to thrive. Since nobody is perfect, we could say that no marriage is perfect either, no matter how it looks on social media or the outside.

Honestly, you don't know what happens behind closed doors. You might be green with envy over a marriage that claims they never fight only to learn that one of the spouses consistently bullies the other out of having their own opinion. People in happy marriages understand the importance of doing what's best for their marriage instead of getting caught up in "keeping up" with other couples.

By refusing to compare your marriage to someone else's, you'll refocus on your vows to cherish and love each other as you are, not as how comparisons trick you into believing you and your spouse should be. Every newlywed wants a long and happy marriage. In working toward that, consider heeding the advice of longtime, successful couples who have learned how to enjoy each other and keep their marriage strong.

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