Back when our kids were still at home, April Fools’ Day was always a favorite day of the year for some of them. In fact, we used to have a side sprayer on our sink, and their favorite prank each year was to rubber band the handle so it would spray whoever turned the sink on. Needless to say, that wasn’t my personal favorite prank of theirs. 🙂

In honor of April Fools’ Day, we figured why not have some fun with this week’s #MarriageMonday?

As you likely know, we’re passionate about providing marriage advice that’s dependable, proven, and that we have worked to implement in our own marriage. However, to celebrate this day of pranks, practical jokes, and playful fun, we thought we’d switch things up. Today we’re sharing a few tips that are not great advice (with the reasons why). If we’re honest, these are things we likely have all thought at one point or another, even if we haven’t said it out loud.

Without further ado, here are 5 pieces of marriage advice you shouldn(n’t) listen to:

1) Assume you won’t ever drift apart. Once you’re married, you can just coast!

Marriage is the destination, right? Once we’ve made our vows and put in the effort to reach that point, we can sit back and relax. We’ve made it!

Not quite.

The reality is that marriage takes effort. If we’re not rowing in marriage, we’re drifting. No marriage ever crumbles in a day. It’s a drift of one centimeter to another, one feeling or one decision that leads to another feeling or decision that’s a little off-center.

This is why we wrote about the slow fades in marriage and the God Tools we can use to stop those fades in No More Perfect Marriages. Recognizing this reality equips us to make the small decisions that lead to big connection between us and our spouse.

2) Be child-centered, not marriage-centered.

Child-centeredness happens when we place our children and grandchildren above our marriage relationship. We may believe we are making the right decision by making them the higher priority, but this action actually creates more harm than good.

This is such an easy misconception to make in marriage. If you’ve made your kids the primary priority in your relationship, you are certainly not alone!

Our kids—at home and adult—need the foundation of a mom and dad who love each other. When your parents struggle or divorce, it’s painful at any age.

Relationships have to be nurtured and a marriage has to be invested in. There’s no autopilot in marriage. It may feel like there just isn’t enough time and energy to spend time on your marriage. However, you have to make it a priority because your family can’t afford for you not to.

Want some next steps to reverse this script? This article is for you.

3) Try to solve all your marriage problems on your own.

The two of you know each other as well as two people could, so you should be able to solve any problems you face without any help! Right?

Ehh… Again, not quite.

There’s plenty of challenges we can solve in marriage together, but this perspective leads to two places: 1) We never look to what God says about how we should live our lives because we feel like we know best; and 2) We look at marriage counseling or coaching (or even books and podcasts) as something only “other people” need.

The reality is that you and your spouse are as close as two people could be to your marriage. You’re the ones who are living it out! Sometimes when you’re too close to something, it can be hard to see the bigger picture of what the heart of the issue you’re facing really is. Beyond that, we don’t know what we don’t know! Many times, there are communication techniques and strategies that we simply aren’t aware of, and reaching out for support can be a huge difference-maker in how well we can connect with our spouse.

Don’t go it alone! If you need help, you can start here. 

4) Don’t talk about sex.

When we love someone, sex should just come naturally and our desires should match up perfectly. I mean, that’s how it works in the movies!

Well, real life isn’t the movies.

Intimacy is about much more than sex, but connecting sexually is an important part of a marriage. Even so, sex is something that many of us aren’t particularly comfortable talking about. This keeps us from addressing our differing drives and processing our feelings along the way.

For most of our marriage, Mark thought about sex once every seventeen seconds (his words, not mine!) and I thought about it once every seventeen days. Somewhere in my forties, my desire actually increased and, wouldn’t you know it, Mark’s actually decreased. We have always been at opposite ends of the spectrum! That’s not to mention the sexual baggage we each brought into our marriage.

We had to learn how to talk about sex outside of the bedroom, and to communicate more during sex as well. This could look like asking questions like, What do you like best about our sex life? Is there something I do sexually that isn’t your favorite? What should I do more of? Do I make you feel special outside of the bedroom?

By talking about sex, we can better understand one another rather than assuming we know what our spouse is thinking and feeling.

LISTEN: Uncovering the Secrets of Sex and Marriage with Shaunti Feldhahn & Dr. Michael Sytsma | Episode 131

5) Don’t accept your spouse’s differences.

There IS a right way to load the dishwasher, and it’s the way you do it!


For most of us, our spouse’s differences are what drew us to one another in the first place. It’s not until we say “I do” and begin to live every day together that those same differences begin to get on our nerves.

The truth is we’re all wonderfully incompatible, and marriage simply brings a magnifying glass to those differences. If we don’t learn to accept one another, distance grows in our relationship.

Instead of being frustrated with each other’s personalities and temperaments, we have to learn to be fascinated by the differences! That move from frustration to fascination can only happen when we unbury our sense of discovery and put to death our judgment.

When we talk about our differences in marriage, we’re not talking about “right” and “wrong.” We’re just talking about differences. Accepting your spouse for who they are is a game-changer for creating a safe environment of connection, honesty, and authenticity between the two of you.

READ: Why Can’t You Be Normal Like Me? (6 Core Differences in Many Marriages & a Free Quiz!) | #MarriageMonday

Silly as they may be, we hope these phrases help point out some opportunities you have to shift perspectives in how you approach your relationship. You CAN draw closer to your spouse each and every day with some intention and practical tools. Looking for a great place to start? Check out the No More Perfect Marriages book!

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