Eugene Cho

top 10 marriage advice

Well, it would only make sense to follow up the list of my Top 10 Wedding advice by sharing with you my Top 10 marriage advice. And eventually, I should go back and share my list of dating advice.

Minhee and I have been married for nearly 14 years and we’ve learned so much. I also promise to share our “biggest mistakes.” Anyway, I’m not Dr. Phil or Dr. Gottman but here’s my Top 10 Marriage advice or rather, my 9 advice and a request for you to contribute:

1. Expectations

  • In dating and courtship and in the decision to life together, you’re ultimately agreeing to certain expectations. Not expectations of perfection but expectations of who, what, where, when, and why.  Marriage – not in a contractual way  but in a covenant way is an honoring of those expectations…
  • Which is why it’s so important that you marry the “right” person and continue “being” the right person.

2. Grace

  • Say this again and again. “I’m not perfect and my spouse isn’t perfect.”
  • If you have unrealistic expectations, you’re bound for so much disappointment. I’m not saying that we should expect mediocre marriages but we need to be realistic. This is another way of accentuating the importance of Grace.

3. Intimacy

  • Intimacy is the key and encompasses everything. On my list that makes up the grid of intimacy: Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, Social & Relational, Conversational, Moral, Recreational, Intellectual, Financial (Stewardship), and [what would you add]

4. Talk & Sex

Everything in #3 are important but two of the more vital ones (because there’s no middle ground) are:

  • Intimacy via Conversation, Talking, and Listening
  • Intimacy via Physical Touch & Sex
  • Talk a lot and have a lot of intimate sex!

5. Learn to fight well

  • This is so important. Everyone disagrees and fights. And couples that say they don’t also wrestle with lying. So, if you disagree & fight … you have to learn to fight fairly and constructively.
  • This is a separate list I’ll share in another post. But so important. Oh, so important…

6. Be a church

  • Don’t fall into the myth that Christians that marry together equate a Christian and God-honoring marriage. Two Christians that marry together usually equate to two Christians that marry together. It doesn’t guarantee anything so a couple needs to be intentional and purposeful.
  • One metaphor I like to share is that a married couple become a church in their own way. Two have gathered together and a husband and wife should see one another as mutual pastors with the privilege of exhorting one another in prayer, Scriptures, service, sacrifice, etc.
  • Pastor one another.
  • Worship together.

7. Make decisions together

  • Trust me: Everyone wants to have their voice heard.

8. Keep dreaming, conspiring, and visioning

  • Don’t let your conversations be ONLY reduced to, “So, what do we need to get at Costco this week.”
  • Everybody wants to be part of something bigger.

9. Bless one another

  • Do you know what blesses your spouse?
  • And if so, are you blessing your spouse?
  • Believe me: When you bless your spouse, blessings will be returned.
  • Build a culture of blessing.

10. What would you add as #10? What advice would you give about building a thriving marriage?


Ecclesiates 4:9-12:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

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18 Responses

  1. Andrea says:

    I’d add that when the road gets bumpy, turn to God first. Seeking comfort from others comes “naturally” but I see it hurt marriages all the time. Your mom and your office mate shouldn’t know the intimate struggles between you and your spouse.

  2. saras says:

    You already mentioned it, but when I grew up I NEVER saw my parents fight or argue, EVER. Knowing them both as adults now, they must have done it behind closed doors! But after being married a few months, when DH and I had our first argument at the mature age of 20 I was sure our marriage was over! DH on the other hand had seen his parents argue and survive. So I’ve learned from my husband how to fight fair!🙂 And after almost 15 years of marriage, this has been one of our best years yet.

    I was also told to always give 50%, each person gives 50% and you get 100% together. In reality you have to give 100% every single time, every single day to make it work!

    The worse advice ever? Don’t go to bed angry! When we were young and poor and in school and had babies and were stressed to the max, we’d argue about everything. Sometimes what we both needed was a good night’s sleep and then in the morning the huge issue didn’t seem nearly as bad as it had the night before!

  3. TIC says:

    As a husband, I’m learning “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” If we look at the way Jesus loved, particularly through Mark’s gospel, we can see that he served. He washed their feet, he served the poor, he listened and ministered. I take this to heart. I serve my wife by cooking and feeding her God’s word. Doing these small acts of love makes bigger acts of love easier. This is how God helps me build a culture of blessing (#9).

  4. your friend says:

    Prepare everything through PRAYER. Everything (including point 4🙂 Make prayer as natural as breathing.

  5. Adam Lehman says:

    Great list. I’m sharing it with parents and friends.

  6. Josh Rowley says:

    #10: “Don’t go to Costco together.”

    Of course, a trip there could provide an opportunity to “fight well.”

  7. I would add that when troubles come up — financial, work, family-in-laws — remember to cling to each other as partners and not as antagonists. A couple needs to fight the trouble as a pair. It needs to be “us” against “that issue” always. First find out what the ideal/goal is and then work towards it together. That was helpful for me when I was in the Air Force, and I realized that it had to be “us” against the military lifestyle.

  8. Kacie says:

    Laugh. That’s the advice my grandmother gave me, and I see it in my parents as well. Marry someone who makes you laugh and who is able to laugh even in the tough times. Being able to just enjoy life together is just crucial, and the ability to laugh after a fight or in the midst of pain is huge. I married a joker, and I do love his easy-going spirit and the fun we have together.

  9. Steve S. says:

    My pastor always said, “The best marriage advice I ever received was: to give up the right to be right.

  10. Cassie says:

    Thanks Eugene for the great list. My husband and I have committed to not voicing disagreement of the other person’s words or actions in front of others out of respect for each other. The car ride home however is open forum…

    • t-hype says:

      i’m not even married and i agree with this one!

      i see too many people disrespecting their spouses in front of other people! if a friend and i have a disagreement, i don’t even air that publicly, i talk about it with a close friend…with the intent of finding a solution.

  11. Mike Handy says:

    I have to agree with Steve S. “Give up the right to be right”

  12. pjchris says:

    Use your words. It’s too easy to fall into the “he should know what I need without me telling him” or “she should know that I love her” trap. You have not developed ESP in your years of marriage and neither has your spouse. Tell your spouse what you need or what you want them to know. Don’t assume they know.

  13. Bryan says:

    I like your list – especially learning to fight. That took/is taking us a long time to learn.

    I think it is important to remember

    remember why you got together in the first place.

    remember the vows are more about giving than receiving/demanding

    remember where your spouses car keys, shoes, glasses, wallet, and lucky pen are so when he leaves the house for work it will not so stressful (maybe that’s another list)

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

One of my goals in life (aka bucket list). Visit 100 global cities, soak in some of their museums, learn their stories, meet local folks, visit local churches, and hear stories of how God is at work there. Let's fully welcome refugees. Remember, refugees aren't terrorists...they're the ones fleeing away from violence, war, and terrorism. 
Afraid? Me too. It's ok to acknowledge we're afraid since it confirms we're all...just...human. We're all afraid on some level especially when our culture seems to run on the currency of fear but as we live out our faith in Christ and more deeply embody compassion and love, fear begins to dissipate. It's also incredibly critical to know that agencies are implementing some of the most rigorous and thorough vetting ever. 
My family hosted a Somalian Muslim family from a refugee camp years ago through @WorldRelief. It was eye opening, challenging (especially with language realities), and yet, encouraging...and we hope to host families again in the future as they resettle in a completely new and foreign city and country. It's a terrifying experience. And while not a refugee, I remember the first few months as an immigrant when I was six years old. To this day, I remember the kindness of folks that helped us through that transition. Lift a prayer for me as I'm privileged to collaborate in ministry here in Melbourne, Australia. Meeting with local pastors, teaching at the Justice Conference (10/21-22). Then, preaching at the Bridge Church on Sunday  Pray that in preaching the whole Gospel from the Scriptures, I may honor God, point people to Jesus, and be sensitive to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Interesting. The holy bench. Wow. And in a blink of an eye, this happened. The nights might be long but the years go by fast. #ParentProverbs #WhatHappenedToMy13YearOldSon This past week, @seattlequest celebrated its 15th Anniversary. In many ways, it feels like forever and in other ways, it just seemed like we just started yesterday.

Around May 2000, Minhee and I found out we were expecting a 2nd child. Then, we got another surprise. We felt a calling and stirring to plant a church. We told God, "This is horrible timing!" We left a thriving ministry that we started in the Seattle surburbs and felt compelled to move into the city to plant a new multiethnic church called Quest. To be honest, we were so scared. Minhee was pregnant. Our insurance was about to run out. But we ventured forth. Once I resigned from this church, I had plans, goals, strategies...and none of them materialized. Only bills and payments. I quickly found out that a Masters of Divinity degree - as cool as it may sound - is actually useless in society. No one wanted to hire me. I was unemployed for months. We were eventually on food stamps and DSHS insurance.

In December 2000, we welcomed our 2nd child to the world. When "T" was born, we cried more than the baby. Couple days later, I finally landed a job as the janitor at a Barnes & Noble store. It wasn't quite what I was envisioning but God really worked through this "valley season." And we finally felt peace about starting Quest. Seven people gathered in our living room and several months later on October 2001, Quest Church was officially launched. 
It has not been easy. We've been hurt and worse, we learned we hurt people. More accurately, I hurt people. We've heard our share of criticisms and sometimes, even worse. I've been called my share of names. Too many to list. I've been too liberal, too conservative, too edgy, too rigid, too blunt, too passive. We spent many nights crying out to the Lord...for direction, for peace, for answers. We usually never got the answers we were wanting...but we always felt His presence - even during our valleys. To be honest, we still have many restless nights. In fact, I think we have had more restless nights these past two years than we did in the first two years. 
But through it all. God has been so faithful and gracious. Thank you, Lord.

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