Yesterday, Ryan and I celebrated 8 years of marriage! I think back on that time when it was just us and I’m so thankful we had so many years to selfishly be just married and get things in order before we had kids (as much as we could at least). Marriage sure is a roller coaster, but I’ve learned some great things over the years that has not only helped our marriage, but helped my relationship with Christ.
Marriage was created by God and an image of Christ’s relationship with the church (Christians). It’s no doubt marriage works best the way God designed it, resulting in a growth of faith if we rely on Him.
Here are some things I’ve learned over the years:
*Before I share, you should know these are things I STILL strive to do…I have mastered none of them 🙂
1. Date (and vacation if possible)! It’s easy to date in the beginning when it’s just you two or you’re still in the “Honeymoon” phase of marriage (sorry, but it’s true), but it’s so important to keep dating when you’re married. Your kids will leave one day, your spouse will be with you forever. It’s easy to get caught up in doing everything for your kids, especially when they’re young, but it’s just as important, if not more, to do everything to keep a strong marriage.
2. Pray for your husband – If you care for someone, you pray for them. This is also really useful when disagreements arise and you just can’t get your husband to see it your way. PRAY. This will do one of two things. God can change his heart if it needs to be changed and/or he will change YOUR heart. Often times I realize it’s me that needs to see things differently.
3. Do things that can alleviate your spouse’s stress. I like doing things that help Ryan be more successful in his day. There are 3 things I like to do to make my husband have a better day – 1). Have a clean house when he gets home from work. 2). Be happy when he enters the house (being a sahm, this can be quite the feat some days). 3. Make him a lunch for work everyday (well, almost) so he doesn’t have to worry about doing that (he won’t anyway…he’ll just go without lunch or eat terrible). It makes me feel good knowing he’s eating a good meal instead of drinking coffee during lunch. Of course these things don’t happen every single day, but I try.
4. Communicate – I feel like this is understood, but often times I find myself ignoring him because I’m mad about something, but how stupid. 🙂 Or not bringing up a difficult conversation. Our communication may lead to “heated discussions”, but we always work it out or at least hear how the other feels about the situation (we may have seen it completely different). Guys are pretty simple and need us to tell them how we feel, or what we’re thinking, or why we’re upset. Contrary to our beliefs, they don’t know. You have to check out THIS video and laugh about “communication.”
5. He is not your dad – This is a hard one for girls who have a good relationship with their dad growing up. All we know of a husband is what we’ve seen in our dad. So what our dad does/knows, our husband should do/know also. Right? Ahhh, wrong. This took me quite a while to understand. We have to remember that our dads learned everything they know now from years of experience. And shocker, they are different. There’s nothing wrong with asking dad or having him help you fix things, but always ASK YOUR HUBBY first. He’s your provider…make him feel that way.
6. Accept your differences and celebrate them – There is no way you and your spouse will agree on every single issue or be alike in every single way. God made us different and we should look at those differences as positive things, even if they simply make us more patient 🙂
7. Compliment him in public / Never talk bad about him in public. We took a marriage class at our church when we were first married and I’ll never forget one of the tips they gave us. “Never disrespect or talk bad about your husband in public or to your parents.” Not only is saying bad things about our spouses disrespectful, it’s embarrassing to them and those people can never unhear those words again. They will begin to believe those things (even if we spouted out of emotion) and sometimes they’ll even chime in, saying negative things about them as well. It will take more convincing to build them back up than it was to tear them down.
8. Ask him questions – What I mean by this is ask him what he likes. What makes him happy. Sometimes what we think will make them happy is what makes US happy. For example, I asked him one day what his ideal scenario would be when he walked into the house from work. He said, just a happy environment. This was a time I was killing myself to have everything perfect at 5pm, which as you may know, is very tough with two small kids during witching hour. He said he rather have dishes in the sink and a dirty living room than for me to be stressed out but everything clean. I, on the other hand, am happy when my house is in order. Of course I try to have the house in order by the evening, but I also try and have myself in order when he comes home, even if it means the kitchen is dirty.
Here are a few others and some light hearted tips I like…
1. Find out the recipe for some of his favorite home cooked meals his mom used to make him (unless you’re a really bad cook…you don’t want him to compare his “favorite” to your version). Haha. In all seriousness, learn how to make it if it turns out bad.
2. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. (insert me hanging my head in shame) 🙁
4. Know his weakness and approach it gingerly. For example, my hubby likes to keep a lot of things, and he likes to write down information on sticky notes. Every single note. On all different sizes an colors of sticky notes. And not throw them away. Not that this is a bad thing, but it’s just how he operates. And how I do not! 🙂 This bothers me a lot, so any time I want to approach him about de-cluttering, I think hard about how to talk to him about it.
5. Surprise him. Sonic drink, Starbucks, tickets to a concert, bring him lunch at work, mow the yard (I could never do this as I can’t ever get that dang thing to start)…just a little something he would love.
6. Ask him what his dreams are.
7. Do his laundry. I’m sure every man would not oppose this…well, I guess there are some guys who prefer to do it themselves, but majority, probably not.
Marriage is awesome, but it’s also tough!
And then you have kids. And it’s even tougher. But how awesome to see “two become one” in literal form.
I’m blessed God brought him into my life 13 years ago. I look forward to many more years, and being retired one day, sipping coffee at McDonald’s…and sleeping in!