Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ten Things I've Learned in Ten Years of Marriage: Part I

Ten years and 1 day ago, my husband and I started out on an amazing adventure together.  I was a single mom of 2 kids (ages 2 years and 5 months) and he was a Soldier.  We knew he was deploying, so we started out on this adventure knowing that we would spend the first 18 months apart.  In the last ten years, we've added a child to our brood and he's adopted the two I had when we got married.  He has become my best friend, spiritual leader, and partner in ministry.  I wish I could say that getting here was easy.  I'm actually glad that getting here hasn't been easy because we learned some things through the struggles, things that will carry us through whatever is to come.  So here it is, ten things I've learned in ten years.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the ten things Michael has learned (yes, he's posting tomorrow and I'm so excited).

Surround yourself with people who honor marriage.

It isn't enough for your friends and family to honor your marriage, they have to honor theirs as well.  They have to uphold marriage itself as valuable and important.  An inner circle of friends who don't honor marriage will undermine yours, whether intentional or not.

A Christ centered marriage requires a Christ centered life.

A wise pastor friend of ours compares marriage to Scuba Diving.  Diving in Tandem (sharing a tank) you just can't dive as long, but if you each have your own tank you can better sustain.  Marriage is no different, you each have to have your own tank and it isn't your spouse's responsibility to keep yours full.

Forgiveness can't be earned, must be given freely, and isn't optional.

Forgiveness has more to do with who you are than who your spouse is.  Resentment is like a splinter in your finger, no matter how small the offense if left alone it can fester. Your spouse may do something unforgivable, forgive them anyway.  Forgive them the way you would want to be forgiven, you may do something unforgivable one day.

Laugh together, every single day!

Laughter is more important than communication.  Make each other laugh when things get tense, it makes dealing with the source of the tension so much easier.

Never, even once, say "I will never divorce you, unless ______"

I promise you, whatever you put in the blank will happenDon't leave a window open, a caveat on a marriage is a window that's wide open with no screen.  

A marriage can survive an affair.

If you've messed up, own up!  Be willing to face the consequences, be an open book, don't blame the other person.  If he (or she) has messed up, forgive them! Don't blame them for every thing that's wrong in the marriage.  Your marriage might not survive the affair, but it can so give it a shot.

Meet your spouse's needs.

If your spouse feels their needs aren't being met, ask what you can do to make it better.  Don't take it personally, unmet needs are often the result of needs that aren't communicated. Side note: Share with your spouse what you need from him/her and be reasonable with your expectations.

Do not nag!

Saying something once is drawing attention to a problem.  Saying it twice is a gentle reminder.  Saying it three times is nagging.  If it isn't affecting you or your children, and it isn't dangerous, don't bother with a second reminder.   Nagging about little things makes it difficult to draw attention to the big things.

Don't complain about his guy friends.

As long as they aren't treating you disrespectfully or encouraging him to keep secrets from you, let him have his buddy.  Odds are his buddy's true character will reveal itself eventually and he needs to trust you to hold him up when it does.

Be a wife worth pursuing, and ALWAYS make the pursuit worth it.

It sounds like I'm saying the same thing twice, but really I'm not.  I'm saying that you should do your very best to look your best, without being obsessed about your looks.  Every time you walk down the stairs, or out of your bedroom, make him say, "YES!  That's MY wife!"  Don't have unrealistic expectations, or be too hard on yourself (odds are you're not a super model), but get his attention.  Once you have his attention, and he makes the effort to pursue you...ALWAYS respond to his pursuit.  Never make him regret it, unless you want him to stop.

There you have it, ten things I've learned the last ten years.  What have you learned about marriage that makes you a better partner?

Tomorrow you get to hear from my hot hubby!  I can't express how excited I am about that!

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