11 Things a Husband and Wife Must Agree On

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In marriage, there are certain things that you can “agree to disagree” on and other things that you absolutely must agree upon.  A husband and wife must agree on the following.

1. You are married for life, no matter what; except possibly for unfaithfulness, abuse or abandonment. Therefore, the “D” word, divorce, should never be used.

2. Your marriage is a top priority and you will do whatever you need to do to strengthen it.

3. You will strive to meet the sexual needs of your mate. Sex will not be withheld as punishment or because of lack of interest.

4. You will always be honest with your spouse and will speak the truth in love. That means no secrets.

5. Whether you would like to have children and how many you would like to have.

6. Where you will live and what you will live in.

7. When and how you will discipline your children.

8. You and your spouse will always honor your parents and in-laws, but you and your spouse, not your parents or in-laws, will make the decisions in your marriage and for your children.

9. How much you will spend, save and share.

10. Whether you will have debt and, if so, what kind and how much you will allow.

11. Who you will worship and where you will worship.

Which of these areas is toughest for you and your spouse to agree upon? When conflict and disagreements arise, here are a few ways to protect your relationship during conflict.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • anonymous

     sorry, I was just thinking aloud…. I’ve had some bad experiences and should have just kept quiet. 

  • anonymous

    I hope you have kept seeking help and found some!  Bless you Millen!! 

  • Cvett84

    Well ! I’ve read all 12 statement and hasn’t done any of them.
    My husband hasn’t wanted anything to do with me for 40 plus years. Everything was fine until I said I DO and we had sex once. From that point until now its been all down hillHe cancelled our honey moon, decided to start working midnights, with weekends mid week. Moved all his things down stairs and set up house keeping. Also he worked all his vacation days, and all the holidays so he didn’t have to buy me something or be with me and our families. We have never went out together after we were married. I have friends who don’t even know I’m married. It took awhile to accept the fact that this is the way my life should be. I’ve only had sex once no affection or intimacy. My dream is that someone would just hold me so I could cry. Why I stayed with this person, I really don’t know. I know I didn’t want to embarasse myself and our families.

  • Guest

    So, what do you do if you’ve been married 10 years, gone through months of marriage counseling with no resolution, still don’t feel anything for your spouse, but don’t want to walk away and have to be a single parent?  I’m now in therapy for myself, and getting stronger is only making things worse between my husband and I…any advice? 

  • brose82

    why does it have to say in the bible that abuse is an out for marriage??? its common sense that its an out for marriage! 9 times out of 10 the abuser doesnt stop being an abuser. cvette84… you really think your family would be embarrassed because you wanted to get out of an unhappy marriage? i would think they would want the best for you. and taryn” Except the ONLY reason for divorce given in the bible happens to be unfaithfulness. The Other two are a bad excuse brought to us by the devil himself to recommend divorce for an extra 67 percent failure” and the two people who liked this… obviously need to be alone, i cant imagine anyone thinking that way arent doing harm to someone else..

  • brose82

    if it doesnt apply to you then skip it.  simple as that.

  • brose82

    that should definitely be BEFORE marriage…

  • brose82

    really? why stay married to someone like that? if you move out and away from a harmful situation, you shouldnt remain connected to that person. you should move on and be with better

  • Patty

    These are great. I’d say the more of these you agree upon or at least discuss prior to saying “I do” the less predictable your struggles will be after you get married. In other words, these issues will come up. 

  • C K

     The Bible:  There is to be no divorce!

  • Judyswen

    I have just printed this for my adult children who are in serious relationships to discuss with their significant others.  I wish I had this list when I was young!

  • drrichardnorris

    Hi Mark!

    Great wisdom. The best is often the simplest. To agree means you must communicate. Do that and marriage will flourish! I work on this consciously every day (and the Lord makes sure I do!).

    Be Awesome!
    Richard

  • Jim Phelan – WLMW 90.7FM

    Mark, Thanks so much for your time today. We really appreciate the Essentials  and insights in the book. We hope that we can do more together to bring this info to all of us who are working on being an All Pro Dad. Have a great Father’s Day.

  • broken hearted newlywed

    I must admit that I believe that sex is a need. At least for me it is… I’m not speaking of just a physical need but an emotional one. I’ve been married just over a month and my wife refuses to be intimate with me. She claims it’s hormones but at some point in time showing your partner Love becomes a CHOICE not just a feeling. By loving my wife the way Christ loved the church I may not always FEEL like doing the things I do to meet her needs, both physical and emotional but I do them by CHOICE.. I absolutely ADORE my wife and thank God for her daily but I must say I don’t understand why it’s so very hard for her to CHOOSE to Love me. I’ve honestly come to feel like she is totally repulsed by me and I’m not even positive that she doesn’t regret marrying me… My heart is broken over this and I’m steadily, daily praying for God’s devine intervention….

  • Annrupple

    also number 10, should have some idea about how they manage their finances before you get married.  It causes the most stress in marriage I think and effects everything else, including sex.  

  • Annrupple

    I agree you need to go for Christian counseling.  The blame of lack of interest is usually placed on the women but I know plenty of marriages it’s from the husband, most with beautiful wives.  One I know, it came out he had been sexually abused as a child and associated sex with something dirty and didn’t feel comfortable doing such a thing with his “holy” wife, mother of his children.  but had no problem being on the internet with strangers.  Remember,  being single if you have a good man that loves you counts for a lot and you don’t want to jump from the frying pan to the fire….You might remarry someone a lot worse.  There are a lot of unhealthy kooks out there.   
    If you have children you might want to put whats best for them first and ask for God’s healing.  I know a lot of people say they’d rather live in a trailer with the love of their life, but realistically you can’t live on love and pay the bills.       

  • Annrupple

    The Bible does give reason for divorce.  It just encourages you to do everything possible to prevent it.  Married life is healthier, emotionally, financially better than single life.  But if you have a spouse continually breaking your heart and causing discourse in a family by abuse of adultery, abandonment physical etc. God doesn’t want children raised in that or for a spouse to endure that.  It calls for a divorce with Grace.  Having sex is a need as much as a want.  But the thing is if you love someone you WANT to meet their needs in anything you can.  If might be a love gift more than having sex, and he should give you love gifts of meeting your needs if its just listening to you, shopping with you, working on the house or yard..doing things he doesn’t want to do….  A lot of people think they don’t want it until they don’t have it.  

  • Annrupple

    I really can feel your pain.  I don’t know the answer but I was happily married to a man that was having affairs on me and I feel he loved me as much as he possibly could.  We agreed on all of the above list above.  When I discovered this it opened up a majority of other problems and I lost all respect for him.  After a lot of Christian counseling the most profound thing I learned was “You can pray until the cows come home, but if someone does not want to change all your praying is not going to  change someone that doesn’t want to change.  Some folks enjoy their sin to much to let go. God does not make someone do what they don’t want to do.  He will not even make someone go to Heaven” even though you become one in marriage there are still 2 hearts and 2 choices and you cannot control another person, only how you react to them.   Sad but true ….even Christians are human.  Most people know the issues before they get married and think it things will change for the better after they get married…they don’t.  they might get worse, you need to decide if u can live with them before not after.     

  • Annrupple

    this is so sad I am so sorry.  I think this is emotional abuse.  

  • Annrupple

    Your comment is crazy.  I’m glad I serve a God of Grace.  This women should have her marriage annulled.  It has never been a marriage.  Your response makes me think you are an abusive husband and  making excuses for someone not leaving you.   

  • Fayerupple

    I know a parent needs to stay out of a child’s marriage problems but when you see her husband emotionally abusing her to be able to control her and your grandchildren growing up in this atmosphere..,..your suppose to stand back and do nothing?  He doesn’t want to change he loves everything being his way.  I hate to see my grandchildren grow up and think this is normal and the cycle destroy their life because she is a Christian.  If he were physically abusing the children by law I should get involved, but emotionally I’m suppose to ignore?  Seriously  I need an answer.  I try to walk away and not be there to pick up the pieces and help them but I can’t “not do”  because of my grandchildren.  Helping her actually enables him to continue.  If I stopped they prob would be divorced. 

  • joyrn

    Somethings on this list could evolve over the marriage. Such as financial opinion, children, where to live..life experience gives one a new perspective. But i really believe communication along the way is so crucial! This is a great list for spouses to discuss and study together!

  • Tracey

    SO TRUE! I tell this to all young people that are heading toward marriage! Of course having these issues already resolved prior to marriage is not on their “countdown to marriage list”. If it were, possibly #11 & #5 were the only two discussed. I truly wish that it were mandated for 1st time marriage licenses to be issued only after proof of premarital counseling. (I’ve seen where the fee is discounted after proof, which is a start!). I was no different than the majority of new brides (speaking of those <25yr old) in dreaming of the DREAM of the wedding, marriage, etc…and not truly understanding the aspect of a Godly ordained unity referred to as "MARRIAGE". I just wish I had someone to read the above article to me first!! Thanks for the article….I will be passing it on, believe me!

  • guy

    This is nonsense: point 1,2 ,3 are in logical contradiction with each other, u cant swear to satisfy your partner sex “needs”, do “WATHEVER you need to do to strengthen the marriage” and then later ask for divorce on the claim of abuse or unfaithfulness.

  • Faith

    How about husband choosing friends for you? Only to realized he was dating one of my friends and he cut me off to all of them? He said I should be lonely. I’m still new in marriage I’m very feasted pls help.

  • Faith

    Can I leave without friends cause I’m married? He hate all of them I can’t go out any where, even his brothers wife don’t want them I’m so young 27 frustrated

  • Jo

    Am I the only one who thinks the end of #3 sounds a little “rape-culture”ish? I agree that sex shouldn’t be used as a punishment, but no one, not even a spouse, is entitled to your body sexually without your full willing consent. If there is a reason why sex makes you uncomfortable or disinterested at a given point, you are not obligated to act as a sex machine for your mate. Your spouse should, instead, seek to help you resolve the lack of interest instead of expecting or demanding your compliance.

  • Jo

    So if a spouse in traumatized emotionally or physically through rape, or trauma to the sexual organs, and cannot bring her/himself to have sex anymore, the spouse is justified in seeking fulfillment of their sexual needs elsewhere? No. A truly healthy marriage is based on FAR more than sex. A loving spouse will never demand sex, or treat his/her spouse as a free sex machine.

  • jonesinto

    You’re married for life, no matter what……but wait, her comes the list of buts. That means Your married for life, no matter what isn’t true. Way to start a list with a false statement. credible….

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    I agree, that if one of the marriage partner has no interest in sex, that’s not the date to have ‘fake sex’. In fact the very idea is repulsive. It must be MUTUALLY DESIRED.

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    Oh please do NOT quote JOHN GRAY, oh he and his wife… oh wait, they are LONG DIVORCED now, so that’s how THAT worked out. AND both have fake degrees from a degree mill out of a ‘be here now’ type ‘college’ in Northern California. These are not people whose opinion should ever be considered as meaningful.

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    WOMEN have a physical ‘need’ for release, too. Why is that never mentioned? But personally I’ve never thought there was anything wrong with masturbation, and btw, I’ve ALWAYS had a much stronger sex drive than any man I never knew. I would definitely have to say that God loves me because he was kind enough to bring me a man who is 22 years younger than me and we’ve been married since he was 19 and I was 41. QUITE happily mind you!

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    Typing in CAPITAL LETTERS simply indicates either extreme old age, because my 90+ year old relatives all type in ALL CAPS… or it is used for EMPHASIS which is not ‘rude behavior’ any more than talking on a cellphone in a restaurant is ‘rude’ behavior. The baloney that anal-retentive people try to force on others! Tsk! P.S. My aunty-uncle have sex once every three months and then they talk about for the next 3 months. They are in their 90s and their 68th years of marriage, so you see, once you are past procreation years, you do not ‘need’ sex. There are many ways to enjoy a marriage partner that have nothing to do with physical contact. (Although having said that my hubby is 22 years younger than me and we are not at that platonic stage yet.)

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    Go to a doctor with her, there could be a physical reason for this, or perhaps she was molested as a child and has never been able to talk about it. If all else fails love her unconditionally and get her ‘a little’ drunk then gently but steadfastly arouse her…. but FIRST see the doctor. Of course she might also be a homosexual who married you to have a ‘beard’. Psychological counselling is definitely required as the first step, preferably from a Christian psychologist (better to see a psychiatrist to rule out any physical issues, though).

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    BUT as Mark said, everyone worships something, especially if they are proclaiming their atheism, best to know in advance if you are worshipping the same ‘god’ or if you prefer ‘obeewankanobee’. In other words, do not marry someone you’ve known less than, I’d say, THREE years. Patience is a virtue for a reason. I’d say don’t sleep with them either, but you won’t listen to me about THAT.

  • Waileka Pakalolo

    hmmm. Sounds like you are ‘resisting’… if you ‘let go and let God’, there’d be a change in your situation. But you’d have to give up your stubborn ways, too. I know you are resisting and there is a power struggle. He isn’t beating you? or she isn’t cheating? Then one or both of you are locked in a power struggle and nothing can be done to change that until you ‘let it go’… your emotional response. There is no reason to be ‘absolutely miserable’ if you are still alive and in good health. That is just a waste of the short time we have here on earth.