In honor of this oh-so-magical holiday, I asked one of my best friends and blossoming bloggers to share with me her tips for married life. If you're new to my blog, suffice it to say that before I met Chuck I had no plans to get married and as we prepare for our nuptials, I can use all the help I can get!
|The beautiful bride Whitney and her handsome hubby!|
When asked to write this post I had no idea what to write. Having only been married for just over a year I am by no means an expert on love and being happily married. So bare with me as I do my best!
My husband and I have known each other since we were 14. After the four year long roller coaster ride that was our teen years we finally began dating when we were 18. We dated for four years. Four years of stomachs filled with butterflies, eyes filled with tears, moments filled with heartaches, and, more than anything, hearts destined to be together. It was definitely not an easy courtship, but we made it through.
The first year of marriage hasn’t been a smooth ride. Having dated for four years before saying ‘I do’ we were long passed the ‘Honeymoon Stage’. We were faced with many rather uncommon challenges. I have never been someone who easily opens up to people. I don’t like to share my feelings and I don’t like to tell people what I want. My husband is in the Marine Corps, doing intensive training to become a pilot and we were together for about three days in our new home before he was gone all day and studied all night. I knew no one. I had no car. I had no job. And I had a husband who was barely around. I was extremely unhappy during this time and I began to think that I could not live this life. There was just no way I could continue on the way we had been living and feel happy and fulfilled. I felt discouraged and defeated and had no idea what to do. We fought all the time, at times very intensely. We hurt each other and drove a wedge deeper and deeper between us. I thought ‘We’ve only been married four months and we’re already like this. This is going to be a disaster.’
It was around this time that we decided to try some marital counseling. While it was a big, humbling step to admit we needed some guidance, that we couldn’t figure this out ourselves, it was the best thing we could have done for our relationship. From those few months we spent in counseling we truly grew as a couple and I grew as an individual. The most important thing I have learned so far is that if you want something from your spouse you have to ask for it. I would always get mad when my husband wouldn’t tell me about his day, or wouldn’t take me on dates, or wouldn’t help me with the housework. I figured they were just basic things that he should know I want. Regardless of what I thought was common sense or thought he should do, he honestly didn’t know that I wanted and needed some of the things that I longed for. People always say communication is the most important part of a marriage and it’s so true.
So here’s some of the things that have helped my marriage:
- Ask your spouse for what you want and need. No matter how commonsensical it may seem, it may not be to them!
- Don’t be too proud to seek and accept help from others more experienced than you. Those with long, successful marriages are your greatest resource.
- Put God first, your spouse second, and yourself last. God knows what is best for both of you. If you put your relationship in God’s hands, the rest will come together. Seek to meet the needs of your spouse and your own will not seem so important.
- Some of the best advice about marriage I’ve ever heard was from my dad while he was performing a wedding. He said that historically most covenants or agreements were bilateral covenants. That is, it was a ‘I’ll keep up my end of the deal as long as you keep up yours’ kind of thing. This is how our world has come to see marriage. If our spouse doesn’t make us happy, if they don’t always treat us with respect, if they don’t always speak to us in love, then we rationalize that it’s ok to back out because they’re not holding up their end of the deal. The sacred covenant of marriage is not to be this way. It is to be two unilateral covenants, meaning that when you say ‘I do’ you’re not saying ‘I’ll do it as long as they do it’. You’re saying I promise to love, cherish, respect, and care for this person until death separates us, regardless of how many times they mess up.
- My husband and I budget a specific amount of money each month designated for us to go on dates. This was super helpful for me because I’m the kind of person that always wants to be doing something and I love spending time doing things with my hubby! We found that we spent so much time and money on other things that we had little time and funds to enjoy activities together! Budgeting money for dates has really helped us make ‘us time’ a priority, as it should be!
- Probably the most valuable things I’ve learned is the importance of compromise. With my hubby’s demanding schedule we don’t often spend much time together other than Friday nights and Saturdays. As you can imagine, that got old after awhile. It wasn’t really possible for him to make more free time or to make more hours in a day. So we decided to step a little out of our comfort zones. I began going to the gym with him! While I’m sure I’m not the best spotter for his bench press and I definitely don’t love the gym, it enables to do something together that is good for us and gives us time to talk together. Plus, working toward a common goal (losing that newlywed 15) really helped strengthen our relationship.
So there it is. Perhaps not the most insightful of advice, but this is what I’ve found has helped my husband and I have a better relationship. All relationships are different, with different strengths and weaknesses. What we’ve found to make our relationship closer to bliss may not be what others need. But I think all marriages have a common need for love, excitement, trust, friendship, and forgiveness. Pretty simple concepts really, achieving and keeping these themes is another story! May all of you find what keeps your relationship strong, happy and full of love not only February 14th, but every day!
|If that's not love I don't know what is...|
My BFNSCF (Best Friend and Neighbor in our Senior Community Forever) is my first close friend to tie the knot and I've continued to look up to her as a model for a beautiful and Godly marriage. If you'd like to know about her visit her blog here. Love you, Whitney!