I have been thinking of my husband today and how I feel about our marriage. We have been married for almost 14 years. We have been through happy times and hard times. Sometimes we can’t stand each other. We disagree, we have different opinions, and we just plain drive each other nuts. There is one thing we have in common though…we aren’t willing to give up!
How valuable is marriage?
Is it worth protecting?
You bet it is!! The world will tell you that the odds are stacked against you and that marriage is no longer necessary in the world we live in today. I completely disagree!
One thing is for sure, happily ever after is a choice, not a magical ending. I have chosen to neglect, criticize, and fight with my spouse plenty of times in my marriage.
Yep. You heard me right.
I am not a perfect wife. I am not June Cleaver and most definitely don’t live in a castle or have the homemaking skills of Martha Stewart. Yet, my husband loves me the way I am. Why is that? He could easily move on to someone else if he wanted. With all of our differences, and all the times that we drive each other nuts…we aren’t willing to give up! Here are the 7 things that keep us going:
1. HIT the ground running! Whether you are newly married or veterans, it’s never too late to establish positive habits. Take time to talk with each other and decide what are the most important things in your marriage. Are regular dates still important ?(the answer is yes!) When will you spend time with each other outside of busy schedules and conflicts? How will you handle finances? Are children important? Do you want religion to be a part of your marriage? You can ignore the questions but they WILL eventually need to be answered. Take the time to establish a great foundation. A foundation that will stand against the trials life will continually dump on you! A home is only as strong as it’s foundation. The same goes for a marriage. When the storms of life attack and the hail attempts to shatter your windows, how strong will you be? Hit the ground running BEFORE the trials and be prepared!
2. PUNCH out criticism! If my husband was a gossiper (and he is definitely NOT) he would definitely say his wife (that’s me) is extremely critical. I still remember the night when he finally shared with me how bad it made him feel when I was critical of him around other people. I didn’t even realize I was doing it! Here I was ‘joking’ around thinking I was being funny at a social gathering, but I was really tearing my husband to shreds. I have since tried to be more aware of how I talk about my husband. Sarcastic comments seem funny when they exit our mouths, but can create wounds that are hard to heal! Criticism only creates a deep valley between you and your spouse. When I am criticizing my spouse, whether it’s to his face or to others, it only creates a negative feeling. When we look for the good (even if it’s buried beneath weaknesses) and talk about eachother in a positive way, our love for one another also increases. If your are having a hard time loving your spouse, try praying for them, serving them, and looking for every possible good thing in them. It will be hard at first, but I promise it works!
3. KICK porn to the curb! Oh how I wish I could shout this to the world! Porn is everywhere now days. It is on our tv screens, it is on our advertisements, it is on all of our social media whether we invite it or not! I promise you, it is NOT welcome in any healthy marriage! Porn destroyed my parents marriage and I have fought against it ever since! My husband and I committed to never watch rated R movies from the beginning of our marriage, but have found we can’t even watch most shows on network tv anymore. Porn is degrading, addictive, and destructive and I want NOTHING to do with it. There will be plenty of sources that say it is normal for men (or women) to view porn and that it can even strengthen intimacy in a relationship. That is a LIE! I can tell you this from personal experience. Kick it, and kick it FAR AWAY!
4. SCRATCH out expectations! IF you expect your spouse to clean the house, or expect them to remember your anniversary, birthday, or the exact time you gave birth to your first child, you might be in for disappointment! My husband has forgotten my birthday…more than once. I have forgotten his too. Horrible, right? Not if you know how to forgive. I recently went on a 3 day trip out of town and my husband stayed home and took off work to watch our 4 kids. The day I came home was his birthday. It wasn’t a very good birthday. I felt bad. He never complained. We celebrated it again the next day to make up for it. We plan our anniversaries together. On valentine’s day, sometimes we surprise each other with something, sometimes we don’t. This year I put together a bag with his favorite treats. He then asked if I would like him to buy me flowers. I said yes. Just spell it out. Don’t wait for them to read your mind. Trust me, it doesn’t end well.
5. DEFEND your spouse! Marriage is for better and for worse! Be your spouse’s biggest fan. What good is having a fan that doesn’t stick with you through the thick of it? My husband drives me nuts. Even as early as our dating years, he would say and do things that would embarrass me in public. I now know it’s because he’s not afraid to be himself and doesn’t care what other people think. On the other hand, I know I am not an easy person to live with. I have raging hormones half the time, am OCD about how our house is cleaned, and just recently found out…I SNORE HORRIBLY AT NIGHT! 🙂 Yet, my husband still defends me at all costs. What a gem!
6. PROTECT intimacy. Obviously avoiding porn is already one way to do this. Another is to guard how you talk about your spouse outside of the bedroom. Are you more than willing to share all of the details of your sexual life with your friends and family? I would be horrified if I found out my husband was talking about our most intimate moments with his friends. Intimacy is right at the heart of your marriage. Treasure it, cherish it, and keep it where it belongs…behind closed doors and only between you and your spouse.
7. HOLD love hostage! If you are not in love with your spouse…then learn to love them…all over again! Do whatever it takes to love them, care for them, and be their absolute best friend! Treat your love for each other like a hostage and hold on for dear life! Your Happily Ever After is a choice, not a magical outcome. A happy marriage takes work from both parties. It will never be easy, but it will be worth it!
We both came from divorced parents. Maybe that’s what keeps us fighting. I like to think it runs deeper than that. We both have a relationship with God and we know it is through him that we keep our relationship strong. I like to think of our marriage as a triangle with God at the top and both of us in the bottom 2 corners. Together we succeed! In writing this post, I also realize that because a successful marriage takes the effort of a husband AND a wife, it may not always work if one is not willing to put forth the effort. I would NEVER encourage anyone to stay in an abusive relationship and everyone’s circumstances are different. Follow your heart, trust in God, and you will be ok, regardless of what path life puts before you!