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8 Things I Have Done Wrong in 20 Years of Marriage

blonde haired woman smiling hand out wide eyed Text says:  8 Marriage Mistakes, Renewed Mama Podcast

My husband and I celebrate 20 years of marriage this week!  And in honor of that, I’m sharing 8 things I have done wrong in our 20 years of marriage. 

Once you’ve heard all of my mistakes, then I’ll share 7 things I have done right in 20 years of marriage.

I wrote in my journal in July 2012, “I am negative.  Too often I speak things that make Andrew feel like he can’t do anything right.  I smile less.  I am frustrated.  Why Andrew still loves me, I don’t know.  He has a lot to put up with.” 

Wow!  What else can I say but that our 20 years of marriage haven’t all been rosy and wedding bliss!  But I can’t wait for forty more years, as long as the Lord gives us days and breath.

So what are those 8 things I have done wrong in my marriage?  Grab your pen and paper and take notes. Push play so that you don’t make the same mistakes I have.

Marriage Mistake #1: Not Communicate Well

I did not know how to communicate well with Andrew.  I didn’t know how to say what I meant and how to say it in a way that he would receive and wouldn’t take offense to.  When I spoke my mind, that didn’t work.  When I held it in, that didn’t work.  I’m still learning to communicate better.  Aren’t we all? 

I wish I did or knew that, at least for Andrew, stopping what I’m doing and listening, smiling, looking him in the eyes, nodding my head, and making eye contact honors him.  He feels heard.

Sometimes as busy moms, we can’t drop everything we are doing and listen to our husbands.  It’s just not realistic.  So I try to say, “I’m listening to you right now, I’m just chopping up our dinner salad.”  Or “May I listen to you while I wash these pots and pans?”

We also try to set aside time to sit together and talk even if it means the kids are on their devices.  We have to carve out this time together to stay in touch.

Communicate Clearly

Be clear on what you really mean to say.  Don’t expect them to read between the lines. Here’s a few examples:

  • When I say that I am ___emotion___, what I really mean is ____need_____.” “When I say that I am stressed, what I really mean is I need help.  I can’t do everything.  Are you willing to….”
  • “Right now I don’t need you to solve any problems, I just need you to listen to me.” 
  • “I’m asking you to help me solve this problem.  I’ve gone over it so many times in my head and I don’t know the right solution here.  Would you help me?”

If you struggle with communication in your marriage and with your children, I highly recommend you listen to No More Miscommunication with Special Guest Tera Wages, from Connection Codes.

Marriage Mistake #2: My Husband Should Be Like My Dad

I assumed that what happened in my home or the man my dad was growing up and what he did should be how my husband is or does.

I had no idea I had this expectation when I stepped into marriage.  It surfaced when Andrew didn’t do what I expected him to do because of what I saw my dad do. For example:  Mom washed dishes.  Dad dried.  They talked about their day at work while we did homework at the dining room table.  Friday evening we all went to town and did grocery shopping.  Saturday morning Mom and Dad chopped veggies and meal prepped.  My Dad folded laundry. I just assumed my husband would be like my dad and do those things, too. 

My dad is also vision impaired.  I never knew him as a seeing man.  He always asked us girls, “What can I do for your mom?  I can’t see so tell me how I can help her.” My husband is a seeing man.  So I thought I shouldn’t have to tell him how I needed help or when I needed help.  He should just see that I need help and just know, right?!

This leads me to the next thing I did wrong in my 20 years of marriage.

Marriage Mistake #3: I Let Pride and Ego Keep Me From Asking for Help

In pride, I thought, “Well, if Andrew can’t see the need, I didn’t want to ask for help.  I should be able to do this anyway on my own.  I should have things under control.”

Now, understand that this didn’t show up until five years after we were married when we brought our first daughter home. When it’s just the two of you, no big deal.  But when sweet Charis came, I needed help and with all of those baby, new mama emotions, I settled into a false expectation that he should know how I needed help and jump to meet the need. 

I know.  You’re laughing right now.  You’re probably thinking, “Kimberly!  Of course, he doesn’t know unless you ask him! A new baby is an adjustment for him, too!”  Mama, you are so much smarter about men than I was!

Andrew is so happy to lend a helping hand.  He wants to be a helper and a problem-solver.  He is so giving of his time and help.  It was my problem.  What I needed to learn earlier was to say, “I need help.  I’m tired.  I’m overwhelmed.  Would you be willing to….” and then list what I need help with.

So don’t make the same mistake.  If there are some things that you saw in your dad that you admired, tell your husband.  If there were things about your father that you don’t want to see in your husband, tell him.   Ask him about the roles and responsibilities shared between his dad and mom. Then agree with how it will be in your house, in your marriage, and in your parenting.  It’s important to talk about it rather than have false expectations and let ego get in the way like I did.

blonde haired woman with her head down and fist on the table because of marriage mistakes

Marriage Mistake #4: Be Negative, Critical, and Judgmental

Perhaps you have already heard My Story on the podcast.  Judgment, negativity, and criticism are a big part of my story. I have to be super intentional to kick it out and not let it take up residence in my heart, in my thoughts, words, and responses like it once was. 

Where did judgment, negativity, and criticism come from?  Of no fault to his own, my dad being blind was hard on himself.  He said things like, “I’m not a good father because I can’t drive you to field hockey practice.”  In his mind, he was never good enough, but I didn’t want any other dad.  My Dad was and still is faithful, present, and loving.  He took an interest in what interested us kids.  Every day, he worked hard and still works today with all of the amazing tools for the visually impaired.  He changed the oil in our cars, push-mowed the lawn, and helped us with schoolwork.

Of course, there was more weight and pressure on my mom; and she, I can fully understand now, in her stress and pressure would put him down. 

I internalized this. When the pressure was on or things didn’t go the way I thought they should, I defaulted to the example I saw in my home and put Andrew down.  I let judgment, negativity, and criticism take root in my heart, in my thoughts, words, and responses. I took my frustration, feeling out of control, and insecurities out on Andrew. 

If you resonate with any of my story and recognize the same judgment, negativity, and criticism in you as there was in me, stop!  Don’t make the same mistake as me and tear your husband down.  I did not keep the corrupt communication from coming out of my mouth like Ephesians 4:29 tells us.  We are to edify and give grace. 

How did I overcome the negativity, criticism, and judgment?  You’ll hear it in My Story, but in short, I got super intentional with what I was thinking and speaking over and over again like a broken record.  And I got super intentional about how I was responding.  And I started speaking life over Andrew, over myself, over our marriage and our parenting. That is the journey from where Speak Life Badges came. 

FREE 5 Must-Haves for Your Marriage Guide

If you like what you’ve heard in, then don’t miss out on the FREE printable guide where I share the 5 Must-Haves for your Marriage. Ask your spouse if they are open to working through the questions inside this guide with the goal of making your marriage relationship stronger.

Sign up to download and print this FREE “5 Must-Haves for Your Marriage” guide.

image of four papers called My Marriage.  free PDF printable to have a strong marriage relationship, Renewed Mama Coaching

Please note that if you do not receive an email reply within 24 hours, check your spam or junk folder. We don’t want you to miss out on this Guide!

Marriage Mistake #5: Treat Your Husband How You Want Your Children’s Spouses to Treat Them

A friend told me this and it hit home, and I said, “O!  I don’t want my children and their spouses to struggle like we are.” We must get this fixed. 

Marriage Mistake #6: Focus On His Faults Not Mine

You can already tell how this went wrong in my marriage! This is the speck in your brother’s eye when there is a beam in yours.  Matthew 7:3-5 

I started asking myself, “What in me needs to change?” I came to realize that I was at the center of the problem.  My thoughts, words, responses, judgments, not getting the whole story, jumping to conclusions, taking offense, ego, and being moody all got in the way.

I started saying, “I choose to act right in this.  I will change. Kimberly, would you like to try that again? What new thoughts, words, beliefs, and responses do I need to make a change in this situation? 

Marriage Mistake #7: Avoid Intimacy

I did not communicate well about my expectations and his expectations for sexual intimacy.  Sex is the oil that holds the marriage together.  It is an important priority and a beautiful gift when you communicate well and honor and respect each other.

If intimacy is an area you struggle with and you need another mama to talk to, that’s not your mom, I am here for you.  This is a must to get right in your relationship with your husband, and sometimes we need another mama to talk to, not to complain or gossip with, but to gain a correct, biblical, healthy perspective with.  I’m here for you through Renewed Mama Coaching

Marriage Mistake #8: Interrupt Him

I interrupted Andrew and didn’t fully hear him out.  I thought “I know what he is trying to say” or “I can say it better.” This goes back to how I should have stopped what I was doing and listened, smiled, looked him in the eyes, nodded my head, and got curious about what he had to say.

There’s a Speak Life Badge for that!  I listened today and I am honoring.

What About Your Marriage Mistakes?

You are probably thinking, “Kimberly, you made a lot of mistakes in your marriage!  Poor, Andrew.” I agree!  Poor, Andrew!  His love is unconditional, let me tell you!

You might be completely satisfied with your marriage, and it’s perfect.  You don’t need to listen to 7 Things I Have Done Right in 20 Years of Marriage because you are already doing everything right.  Look at you go, Mama!

But maybe not.  Maybe you related to me.  You can raise your hand at making one or two or all of the same mistakes I have made in my marriage.  I get you.  I wrote in my journal in July 2012, “I need a heart change, an attitude change, and a mouth/face change!  And fast, Lord!  I need to get out of my own way.” 

If that’s you, your next step is to go to Renewed Mama Coaching and book your first two coaching sessions with me.  I promise you that change will happen faster if you do it with help than on your own. 

If you want things to be different, better, happier, and whole between you and your husband, you don’t have time to waste.  Marriage isn’t easy, but it is worth fighting.  Go to Renewed Mama Coaching, and I’ll help you stop making these same mistakes in your marriage.

FREE 5 Must-Haves for Your Marriage Guide

If you like what you’ve heard in, then don’t miss out on the FREE printable guide where I share the 5 Must-Haves for your Marriage. Ask your spouse if they are open to working through the questions inside this guide with the goal of making your marriage relationship stronger.

Sign up to download and print this FREE “5 Must-Haves for Your Marriage” guide.

image of four papers called My Marriage.  free PDF printable to have a strong marriage relationship, Renewed Mama Coaching

Please note that if you do not receive an email reply within 24 hours, check your spam or junk folder. We don’t want you to miss out on this Guide!

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