“Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual.—Scott Westerfield

marriage manual

Marriage doesn’t come with an instruction manual, even though both you and your spouse probably wish it did. 

But what if you could create your own manual of best practices to make your marriage extraordinary? What would the index contain?

Like any manual, it will be most handy when you encounter problems. 

Because let’s be honest: people rarely check out the manual of a car, appliance, or electronic device just for fun. Rather, the manual becomes an essential piece of information when you face an issue.  

Maybe something feels off or there are strange lights and noises. You can quickly flip through the manual or scan the index to determine the solution. 

Even if you don’t know about potential issues in advance, the manual is a quick and easy reference. 

Manuals are a vital tool for troubleshooting issues and finding solutions. It helps you keep things in good working condition. 

In the same way, a marriage manual helps keep your relationship operating at full capacity. 

Within the ONE Family, 90% of you said you wish your spouse had come with a manual. That’s a lot of you who wished you had some knowledge of best practices before you got married. 

Of course, learning about your spouse and growing together is part of the fun. It helps the two of you build your bond and strengthen your marriage as you work through challenges. 

But what if everything didn’t have to be an obstacle? Imagine what sort of information would be part of your unique marriage manual. 

Perhaps you want a guide for how to support your spouse, or you might wish you had a manual about how to best communicate with them. 

Conflict can be a huge challenge for couples, so you may wish you knew the best ways to manage anger, disappointment, and other intense emotions.

You may desire a better strategy to navigate your financial intimacy, such as creating a budget, managing spending, approaching savings, and planning for retirement. 

A guide to romancing your spouse could be a game changer. If you have different levels of desire, you likely wish you knew the best methods for keeping your sexual intimacy strong. 

Ultimately, only you can determine the best practices for your marriage because it’s unique to you. Start by staying curious about your spouse.

Going on autopilot in your marriage can be disastrous. Instead, you need to stay intentional. 

Keep asking questions about your spouse and get to know them better each day since they (and you!) are continually changing individuals. Your marriage manual needs to be updated regularly, just like you update your phone, computer, or applications. 

Use a communication framework, such as The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®, to investigate the nuances of your marriage and create your own manual.  

This marriage manual doesn’t have to be hypothetical. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Make it real! 

As you collect best practices and learn what is meaningful to your spouse, create a manual and keep it in a safe and easily accessible place. That might be your phone, journal, refrigerator door, or bathroom mirror. 

It doesn’t matter where you keep your marriage manual; what’s most important is that you can access the information and put it to use to keep your marriage strong. 

Your marriage manual should include practical steps you can take, just like a normal manual would. 

For example, have daily intentional conversations to strengthen your emotional intimacy and grow closer with your spouse. 

If your recreational intimacy develops a crack, prioritize regular dates and having fun together. 

Do you need to improve your physical intimacy? Explore what loving touches are meaningful to your spouse, whether it’s a long hug, passionate kiss, back rub, or something else. 

When you know the best practices for your marriage, you can take action with confidence instead of guessing. As a result, you can follow the guide and keep your relationship operating at its highest level.


The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch

The 6 Pillars of Intimacy Conflict Resolution: The Secret to Breaking the Conflict Cycle in Your Marriage

He Zigs, She Zags: Get Your Communication on the Same Path

Liberator Wedge Ramp Combo

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