This post is one part gush + two parts reality and reflection . Yesterday, after celebrating our third wedding anniversary, I was reminded that in my world my husband does wear a cape and swoop in to save the world much like a superhero. Before I speak superman can tell how I’m really feeling with just a look, when I wake in the morning and I have my grumpy pants on superman knows that a coffee is needed stat, and when I fall short, as we all do, superman forgives.
But that’s just the pretty Instagram-side of our marriage. On the other side, the real side, it’s a choice. It’s learning what it’s like to use grace in action. It’s about reminding myself that my husband wasn’t put in my world to complete me, but to compliment me. To be my teammate through the great + grim. To laugh + cry with and to experience even the toughest seasons together.
Marriage is a lot about learning to be humble and being willing to apologise when necessary. It’s a little like looking in the mirror and being honest with what you see. If one side is suffering so is the other, if one side is celebrating, the other is breaking out the champagne to toast to the good times.
“Marriage isn’t easy”, was a short little saying that I have heard time and time again, yet it’s not until you live it that you begin to understand what those three little words entail. I’ll be the first to say that marriage is THE best thing to ever happen, but I will also advise that every good and amazing thing takes work. Marriage is waking everyday with the intention be a team, to be selfless and to choose to love, always, bed-head, and all.
Now that we have three crazy beautiful years behind us, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned, we’ve learned.
1. Continue to date. Date nights are essential. Vital, in fact. Make time for them, schedule them in and stick to them even if other things might come up. In our modern technology-crazed world something like the ShareCal app might help. It enables you to keep up with each other’s crazy schedules as well as make time for each other accordingly.
2. Communicate. Another essential. I’m not a mind reader and either is my husband (thank you Jesus), I for one, could wear someone straight out with all that floats around in my crazy brain. The best example I can think of is when we’ve planned a day – I’m a planner – so when it doesn’t go just as anticipated I can get a little bent out of shape. While sometimes it calls for an attitude adjustment, 8 times out of 10, things could’ve been prevented with accurate, open + honest communication. Another example is if I come home happy-go-lucky and S comes home dull + tired and the day hasn’t been asked about or communicated. I can slip into thinking that he’s irritated, mad or upset without him actually just airing that he’s had a long day and needs some time to ‘sit’ and ‘just be’.
3. Time it. If I learned only one thing about marriage it’s this, timing is everything. Know your spouse and what his/her internal clock is like and vice versa. I’ve learned that when the clock strikes 10:30pm all serious convos must conclude or the man in the house turns into a grumpy pumpkin, a cute-rambly-grumpy-pumpkin might I add. Just like there can’t be any discussions in the morning about what needs to be done, the princess in the house needs a cup o’ joe first thing and likes to take her peaceful, quiet time, to get going. Know when the best time of the day is to discuss big things, or just things for that matter. For us it’s when we’re driving in the car together, alone and with no technology, or when we’re sipping our nightly decaf tea (the mr.) and decaf coffee (the mrs.). The sooner you can get this nailed down the better – trust me.
4. Show love + spice it up. They say a picture paints a thousand words and I’d say the same goes for affection. The kiss you leave with them before they walk out of the door or grabbing their hand out of the blue, will often say more than words ever could. Keep intimacy a priority. God intended it to be that way for a reason + passion is fun so don’t let it be forgotten. Try to eliminate the urge to get into such a rigorous routine that there’s no room for spontaneity. Still surprise. Still shave. Still try to impress. Just because the ‘I dos’ might be over doesn’t mean the sexiness should stop.
5. Fight fair. Arguments are inevitable and there will be moments when you just don’t see eye to eye. Try not to use past experiences as ammunition for the current disagreement. Ban words like ‘never’ and ‘always’ because those adverbs are likely untrue anyway and will just be used as a means of hurting the other person more. Go back to the basics and take turns, give each other a fair chance to speak, without interruption. If it’s something a little more trivial, we’ve found that if we can’t come to an agreement it’s often best to leave it and address it again at a later time. The goal is to find a resolution, not to tear-down and hurt, so the more effective you can talk it out the quicker this will happen.
The number one thing that I’ve learned through these first few years of wedded bliss is that marriage is the most incredible gift. I feel so blessed by the man God called me to marry and every single day with him is a blessing in itself. My prayer and hope is that you will find someone who also makes your everyday a little more brighter.
Whether you’re single or loved-up, it’s important to see marriage for what it truly is. Less what the fairytales portray and more about the example of the perfect love of our creator who designed us to be a partnership of His image.
Engaged? Married? Loved-up? Single? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these lessons + feel free to share some of your own!