I am working on another marriage post with guest writers that I’ll be posting later this month, but in the meantime, I wanted to join Mary over at Better Than Eden for Learning Love: A Lesson A Year in Marriage.
Brian and I have been married for 15 years.
Here are 15 lessons I’ve learned so far.
* * *
~ 1 ~
It’s okay if you don’t feel in love all the time.
Let’s face it, the honeymoon time of marriage is great. You are over the moon in love and everything your spouse does is sweet. Even his quirks are endearing. However, as the years go by and the kids start coming, you find yourself off your honeymoon high. Those endearing quirks now drive you up the wall and you won’t always “feel” in love. That’s okay. As you mature in your love, you realize that love also means the cross – sacrifice and giving of yourself to your beloved.
~ 2 ~
The grace of God can get you through anything.
God has been giving me overtime in this lesson lately. The crosses of life can rip your marriage apart or bond you and your spouse closer together. This is where your mutual faith and trust in God will help you to endure both the small, everyday crosses and the heavy life changing crosses. When a couple humbly kneels before God, figuratively and literally, they receive the grace to live out their marriage vocation together. God will not abandon you, even when things seem darkest. Brian and I had to learn not lash out at one another or close ourselves off from each other. Instead, hand-in-hand we face life’s mess.
~ 3 ~
Marriage gets better as the years go by.
There were times in our marriage when we were going through difficult seasons of life and I wondered if we’d ever share that same happiness of the early years. It took some work (focusing on the lessons listed) but I have found that you can find that happiness and keep the honeymoon alive, so to speak, many years later.
~ 4 ~
The sex gets better too.
Likewise, in the bedroom, as you learn to be more vulnerable and open with your spouse, you become more in sync and you are more comfortable with each other and can laugh and have fun. You realize that he really doesn’t care about the physical flaws that bug you, he thinks you looks great and just wants to be with you. You also learn what makes you and your spouse tick and you can express yourself more fully, which bonds you more intimately. (Okay, was that vague enough not to make my mom blush?) 😉
~ 5 ~
Be playful and flirty.
This one will have to be adjusted according to your personality but remember how it was when you were dating? It was easy to laugh together and have fun. You enjoyed each others company and you had a hard time keeping your hands off of each other. Keep those moments alive. Laugh together. Send him a text telling him you are thinking about him. Steal a kiss in the kitchen. Whisper something the kids shouldn’t hear into his ear. Let him know that you still find him attractive and that you still desire him. It definitely helps keep the romance alive.
~ 6 ~
Go on dates together without the kids.
This is tough when you have young ones but it really makes a big difference when you have time alone together. You can plan date nights at home after the kids are in bed but try to have an outside- the-house date at least once a month. If you don’t have a regular babysitter or family close by, try bartering babysitting time with another fmaily. They babysit your kids one night and you babysit there’s another night.
~ 7 ~
Lift him up. Don’t tear him down.
This is one I still struggle with. There are too many times when I want to treat Brian like he is my 5th kid. I’ll unintentionally patronize him or correct him like I am his mother or I’ll make a comment that implies that I am more capable or knowledgeable about something. I really have to make an effort to shut my mouth and let him be. Instead, I try to lift him up and acknowledge when he does something well. I show him that I have confidence in him and that he is capable of great things.
~ 8 ~
Learn to say thank you.
Along with lifting up my hubby, I try to thank Brian for the things he does around the house that usually go unnoticed. Whether it is a kiss for throwing out the trash or wiping down a bathroom sink or a little love note in his lunch that says thank you for working so hard to provide for the family. Learning to say thank you and being grateful also helps curbs the tendency to complain. (Not that I would know anything about that.)
~ 9 ~
Do little acts of kindness that show him that you love him.
It can be something really simple like making his favorite meal, even though you may not like it. (I’m looking at you, Moroccan soup.) Or getting his coffee ready when he is running late or picking up his dry cleaning so he can come home early that evening. These little things let him know that you love and appreciate him.
~ 10 ~
Don’t keep tabs or compare.
It is easy to be resentful when you start to keep a mental tally in your head of all the things you do for the family in comparison to what he does. There will always be times when one spouse does more than the other but it usually always balances out. When Brian was sick with cancer, I was running the household but when I was pregnant or dealing with a newborn, he ran the house. It’s also easy to think he is out having “fun” at work while I am at home taking care of little ones. Meanwhile, he wishes he was home with the family instead of dealing with annoying customers and difficult deadlines. If each of us are giving and appreciating the other, there won’t be any tabs.
~ 11 ~
Your way is not always the right way.
From the way he burps the baby to the way he loads the dishwasher, wives have long held that their way is the better way, myself included. The sooner we accept that our husband has his own way of doing things the better off we will be. As long as he is not causing anyone harm (like leaving a kid unattended in the bathtub or something) then just look the other way and let him do it. Even if your way or arranging dishes is better, just let it be. The dishes are getting washed and that’s all that matters.
~ 12 ~
Don’t expect your hubby to read your mind.
I think this is my favorite lesson learned because I needed it so bad! I had the attitude that if Brian really knew me, I shouldn’t have to say what was on my mind. He should just pick it up. Maybe it’s a female thing but I think we women are able to perceive things without words being spoken. I expect Brian to be the same way and while there are moments when he and I can look at each other and read the other person’ mind, when it comes to ins and outs of life, I need to spell it out. For example, when I would get mad or upset about something he’d try to comfort me and it only made me madder. (Yeah, my mom calls him a saint because he’s married to me.) I finally told him straight out, “When I am mad, please leave me alone. Don’t talk to me. Don’t touch me. Just let me be. Then when you see that I’ve cooled off, please hug me and give me your comfort. At that point, your hug makes all the world right again.” He said okay and started doing just that. Since then it works like a charm! Likewise, it used to be that when I was overwhelmed and needed his help, I’d huff and puff and stew inside because he would not come over and help me automatically. Finally, I learned to just say, “Sweetheart, (or “hey!”) I need some help. Can you (fill-in-the-blank) for me. He was always more than willing to help, I just had to ask.
Give your hubby the benefit of the doubt.
This goes hand-in-hand with # 12. While I was stewing and wonderingd why Brian could not see that I was in need of help. Or I wondered why he could not figure out why I was upset with him. I’d think, “We’ve been married for 15 years? How can he not know me by now?” When we are mad, we can think of all kinds of crazy motives
for our husband’s behavior. We’ll sometimes assume the worse when in reality there was a simple explanation or it really wasn’t a big deal. If you give your husband the benefit of the doubt that he did not mean to hurt you, you can start to see the situation from his perspective. It’s not always easy but it makes for less heart ache in the long run.
~ 14 ~
Realize that you are no saint and say you’re sorry.
It’s true that we are all working towards sainthood (or should be) but the majority of us are far from it. When you are angry with your husband, think about your own faults and shortcomings. Think of all the things he has to put up with you. When you stop looking at his faults and start focusing on your own, you see that neither of you is perfect. Don’t be too proud to say “I’m sorry” first. Ask for God’s grace to bring peace back into your home.
~ 15 ~
Pray for your spouse (and yourself.)
No one knows better than a husband and wife, just how hard marriage can be. You need God’s grace to not only survive but to thrive and be happy in your marriage. Pray for your spouse every day. He is like a soldier going off to battle each day, trying to be a man of God in a godless world. He needs your prayers and love to lift him up and strengthen him. Likewise, ask Our Lord to help you be a good wife to your husband. The tone of your home life is governed by your attitude. (Hence the saying, ‘If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”) You are the heart of your home and your love for your spouse (and children) are capable of making a little piece of heaven in on earth. 🙂
How about you? What is your top lesson of marriage that you’ve learned so far?
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