Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: What I Learned in 6 Years of Marriage

I haven't done a Wedding Wednesday post in a long time and I think it's time to get back to it! In honor of celebrating six years of marriage I thought I would give you my top six things I have learned from marriage.

1. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. This was such a huge one for us and we struggled with it our first year of marriage. Garth never apologized and he would bully me into apologizing. I wasn't great at conflict so I would just apologize to make the conflict go away. Clearly, this is not a healthy form of communicating. It seriously could have ruined us. Through mentoring, books like For Men Only and For Women Only, Love and Respect, and Preparing for Marriage we worked at it. We learned to fight to resolve and always forgive. Because guess what? You are going to hurt each other. You are going to disagree. You are going to let each other down. Forgive unconditionally. If you are wrong, be the first to admit it and apologize.

2. Communicate. This goes along with the first one, but it is SO important to speak your feelings in love to your spouse. He is not a mind reader. I know this sounds funny to say, but sometimes I really did expect Garth to just know what I was thinking. He doesn't. You have to tell him. Clearly. Gently. Share your heart. Use "I" statements so he doesn't feel attacked. You will be shocked at how much closer and connected you feel. Know this, friend, it gets easier. The more you practice the habit of communicating the easier it gets. In a year it will be old habit. I promise. It was so hard for me my first year of marriage to tell Garth when he hurt my feelings. But the more I pushed myself to be honest the easier it became. Coming from a place of wanting to resolve and move on helps too. It's not about winning. It's about seeking to understand and learn from it.

3. Stick together. The devil hates a happy marriage. At the risk of sounding dramatic I'm going to tell you the world is against your marriage. That is why it is of the utmost importance to defend your marriage. Be a team. Stick up for each other. Create a united front. Surround yourself with people who support your marriage and would always encourage you to go back to your spouse and work it out. I cannot even tell you how amazing the bond is when you have each others back no matter what. If he is wrong, tell him in private. Don't talk down to him in front of anyone. Ever. Never say a bad word about him.

4. Have fun together. Life can be hard. Sharing the same space can get difficult. Work can get overwhelming and exhausting. The day to day can seem mundane. That is why it is so important to have fun together. It strengthens your marriage. Gives you the break you need to recharge your batteries. It brings you guys closer together when you laugh together. Get silly together. Go out with old friends. Try a new restaurant. Take a walk in a cute downtown. Play a game. I know it may seem difficult, but I'm a big advocate for taking AT LEAST one vacation a year together. The change of scenery and the chance to explore a new place fosters connection. It helps you relax when the chores aren't staring you in the face and life's demands have dissolved for a time. This is the time I get most connected to Garth. The time we can truly create fun memories, talk about our goals as a couple and dream about the future. Our philosophy is work hard and play hard. No regrets. We only get one life and it's important to live it.

5. Don't give him the worst. This is something we have both struggled with. I'm not at my goal weight and it makes me unhappy and I find myself giving Garth the wrath of my unhappiness with it. It is just not fair to give Garth the worst when I'm giving strangers and coworkers my best. He deserves my best. It is a day to day struggle to make the conscious decision to give him my best, but it's important. Home should always be a safe place and we work on making it that. A safe, happy haven. I do not ever want to be so moody or cranky that Garth wouldn't want to come home to me. Six years later, I still can't wait to see him at the end of the day!

6. Pray together. Last, but certainly not least! I truly believe a marriage rooted in Christ makes all the difference. The intimacy that comes from praying together and reading the Bible is hard to put into words. To hear Garth praying and reading the Bible are the most attractive things about him to me. His dependency on God takes my breath away sometimes. Putting God first in our marriage takes the pressure off us to fully fulfill our every need. It's so vital because we just can't. We are flawed. We will hurt each other. We won't be able to meet every need. But God can. So to trust God to meet our needs takes all the pressure off and there is no disappointment when a need isn't meant by Garth because it's not his role. Yes, God put him in my life to love unconditionally but it isn't the end all be all. God is my everything. My goal in life is to bring God glory and by being a faithful wife I do bring God glory. 

What do you think? Do you agree? Do you have any advice to add?


Rebecca Jo said...

I always believe that - you have to support each other - be the best cheerleader each other has. You are a team - need that support you know you can count on.

Courtney said...

This post really helped me today. Thank you!

Anne said...
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Anne said...

love this! especially the 'give him your best' one really sticks out to me as something I need to work on too. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to seeing your list continue to grow over the years :)