Friday, April 5, 2013

Marriage 101...

i saw a journal book the other day where you can fill out marriage advice for a soon to be bride.  it got me thinking what i would say to a young person, or my children one day when they get married...so, this is my version.
 
i am 32.
i have been married for 12 1/2 years.
i was told i was wasting the best years of my life, that i was too young, that i needed to get a formal college education before 'settling down',
i needed to see the world, date around, find out who i was before making this life long commitment.
 
the people who really knew me weren't  worried at all.
i was always 40 trapped in a teenager's body.
but the people i knew from the health club i worked at scoffed & tried to talk me out of it.
and here i am 12 1/2 years later while most of them are divorced.
 
 
i should preface this by saying i don't believe i'm in any way the marriage expert full of grand advice.
there are people whom i deeply admire that have walked a much longer road of marriage with oodles more wisdom than me.
 
 
i have done a million things wrong in this relationship, and about 5 right.
 
marriage is hard work.
neither my husband or i grew up with a super healthy marriage role models.
we are learning as we go together how to make this work.
marriage is about constantly, constantly , dying to self in service to another.
not in a door mat kind of a way, but in a i'm-a-selfish-brat-and-need-to-get-over-myself kind of a way.
putting other's needs before my own.
***none of this is for my dear friends who have walked a road of abuse.  i am talking about mutually respectful marriages!***


i've come up with my top ten things you can do as a wife that have made a difference for us.
i realize every marriage is different, but these are things i think are crucial for a healthy marriage.

#1:
have a faith that grounds you.
when your marriage is built on a solid foundation it is not as easily shaken.
when hard times come {and baby, they will!}
you need to remember that this is a covenant with not only your spouse, but God also.
your husband will fail you.
he is human.
God will not and He ordained this union.


#2:
while what i said in #1 is the most important,
 i think you also have to let go of expectations to a degree, you aren't your husband's Holy Spirit.
i think every Christian woman who gets married pictures her husband as the Godly, Bible leading at the breakfast table type.
while this is ideal, i believe many men struggle with living up to this and fearing failure in their role.
i have learned to set aside many of my preconceived notions about what a Godly husband should be in my mind, because HELLO, i am not his Holy Spirit!
i want my husband, the man he is, not the man i push him into being.

#3:
respect him.
and tell him you do.
i am constantly trying to remember to tell my husband that he is my hero.
he needs to feel that his role is appreciated, just like we do.


#4:
give him all the sex he wants.
did i really just write that?
yes, i did.
and i think this is an important way to validate our husbands as men.
God created sex to be an intimacy between a husband and wife and to withhold that for any reasons that are short of serious health/mental issues, is depriving your husband of something you both need to feel connected.
so - no more headaches ladies,
make it your mission to never say no!
and hey, it's not so bad for you either ;)
and remember, i'm talking to those with healthy marriages and healthy ideas of sex!

#5:
little things everyday.
what makes him feel appreciated?
a clean house?
clean underwear when he needs them?
a meal on the table when he walks in the door?
sometimes these stretch us, while i almost always have a hot home made dinner on the table when he comes home, i do sometimes neglect taking the wash out of the machine, leaving behind that nasty mildew smell.
but if i remind myself how important it is to my husband not to stink, it makes it easier to get off my butt and remember to change the wash over.


#6:
talk.
while a house with 4 ever-present children makes this really hard,
we try.
sometimes it's before he leaves for work, sometimes it's at night,
but actually talk!  even a little everyday!
how was your day?
etc.
i can't count how many moms i've heard say they've gone on trips with their hubbys and have nothing to really talk about.
to me that's crazy!
talk about politics, talk about the latest movies, talk about theology, talk about the 'old days', just talk!
worse comes to worse, you can buy those little books of questions that can generate some interesting conversations.


not an affiliate link


#7:
have common interests.

if you have none, or have neglected them, find some new ones!
my hubby and i love antiquing, movies, etc.
having hobbies in common shares passions and develops a fun atmosphere amidst bills and kids and work!


#8:
set boundaries.
this will look different for every couple, but i think it is super important to have 'rules' set up.
no friends of the opposite sex that you spend  one on one time with.
no business trips with opposite sex,
open access to all emails, bank accounts, cell phones.
no marriage is immune to temptations, no matter how good it is, how godly you are.
while this may seem ridiculous for adults,
i've seen enough marriages fall apart that could have been preempted by these things being transparent.
falling apart marriages don't happen over night, they happen in small cracks in the door that should have stayed shut!
and if you have nothing to hide,  why do so?


#9:
spend most of your time together.
{aside from work of course}.
what i mean by this, is if you are running out the door 4 nights a week to hang out for mom's night outs, or poker nights, etc., it's maybe too much.
i go out on my mom's night out, but 95% of my time is spent with my family.
we all need breaks, i'm not saying they're bad, but if you are flying out the door for the next thing when your hubby walks in on a constant basis, it will start to wear on the relationship.
i have seen this happen to so many friends, even ones who are using that time for "good" things.

#10:
remember we are all human &
say you're sorry quickly.

be prepared, have a plan, hold on to each other through hard times rather than moving apart.
don't be too stubborn to say you screwed up.
if you have a stubborn spouse that won't budge, you go make amends even if you weren't the instigator.


if i listed all the millions of mistakes in marriage i've made, this would be an unending post, but we're doing a few things just right.
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1 comment:

Bridget Lanier said...

Mandy, you're so so sweet and kind. Its nice that you take time out of your very busy day to write these things:-) its awesome. And going on 11 years ourselves, we very much agree with your take on advise. Marriage is not to be entered into with a doubt in your mind that you can't give it ALL you've got. (Besides the very unhealthy ones). My husband and I knew each other a month before getting married and found out we were pregnant shortly after that. What I have also found to be fruitful is NEVER go to bed mad/upset/angry. We have worked very hard on that one because it does go hand in hand with your say sorry quickly. Its so easy to get off track, and we've been there ourselves... but pulled ourselves back together. We aren't willing to give up, and to be completely honest, I still can't imagine myself with anybody besides my best friend. So again, thanks for taking your time to post these things.

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