16 years of marriage!!!!!
I tell you….I love my marriage.
To say that I married my best friend would be accurate.
I was reading this beautiful post that my husband wrote about me on facebook, when he stated:
“Happy 16th year of wedded bliss to my best friend and amazingly beautiful wife. I am so blessed to walk beside you through this journey of life towards the kingdom of our Lord. You are the most beautiful and loving person I have ever met and best of all your all mine! Love you”
I believe every word of this.
I believe that he truly feels this way.
Because we have put so much of our time, energy, and ourselves into this marriage.
He has not always felt this way about me.
In fact, there was a time when he wasn’t sure that all of this was “worth it”.
I know because I was so tired, so frustrated, so sick of trying to “explain myself”…..and list was endless.
I was a tired mom of young children who felt so misunderstood.
He didn’t understand me.
He thought the worst of me.
He was so selfish.
He was always angry, and I was sick of hearing him talk about it.
If you were to ask him, he would say that he felt:
She doesn’t respect how hard I work.
She doesn’t budget our money well.
She always wanted to stay at home, and now she’s just not happy.
She’s always complaining about something.
We were financially struggling, and the burden was heavy.
We weren’t suppose to feel this way about each other. No one could know these struggles.
From the outside, we looked happy but the fighting was just too much.
Our children were so precious to us, so we chose to focus on them.
We made every day about the kids for weeks…months…a year.
We had three children in a tiny apartment. Our third, a baby, was living in our “walk in” closet. We had one car, which he took to work everyday, while I felt smothered in this tiny apartment with three little ones.
Nothing was easy….the kitchen sink was too small. Our kitchen was tiny so it made preparing dinner so frustrating. The laundry room was downstairs, so I would have to trek downstairs with three kiddos in tow. I would come down later to find that same laundry thrown in my basket wrinkled, as someone else had changed the load. I would have to grocery shop when the hubs got home so that involved not “forgetting” anything that was needed for dinner.
I was too tired to argue…but there was so much frustration that we fought about everything.
Countless nights I would wait for him to go to bed, and I would crawl into bed crying.
How did we get here? This wasn’t the guy that I dated. This wasn’t what I signed up for….
It was so easy to just stay angry. So easy to call all my girlfriends and bitch about my husband and how men are so frustrating.
Let’s be honest, I could have created a list of “justifable” reasons that I could be angry.
We can always find people willing to allow us to vent, but we also need to seek out people who will help us to change the course of what is going on.
I happened to be blessed with an amazing brother in law who would allow me to call him and vent about my frustations. He loved my husband and would provide me “insight” into my husband and share his marriage’s similar struggles. He was a tremendous “bridge” that connected our two worlds.
You see….he helped me to see what I always knew to be true……
Perfect marriages don’t exist.
I don’t think that any of us truly believe that they do.
However, I think it’s easier for us to assume that others do not encounter our same struggle.
Why is it so hard for us to share the struggle? Why is it so hard to show our weakness?
Because when we leave our struggles “in the dark”, we also keep Christ out of it. We reserve a part of our life to be handled by us alone. It’s only after seeing how we truly fail anything on our own, that we lift our hearts in prayer to God and allow Him to bring us help.
I decided years ago that I wanted a better marriage.
I decided that I was going to fight for what we both wanted.
I knew that he was that same guy, and I was that same girl he loved. Some how, we let “life” and the “world” come between us.
We had stopped working on us.
And if you are struggling with some of these same feelings/issues..I have a few pieces of advice.
Make a decision to fight for your marriage…..and give your marriage to the Lord. Marriage is a decision. It’s a daily decision to love your spouse. Once you make this decision, it becomes the most important fight that you are in. It means rolling up your sleeves and conquering whatever hurdles you have together. It’s an “us against the world” mentality not a “you against me”. It means waking up daily, and asking the Lord to bless your marriage and any roadblocks for that day. I wrote a great blog about fighting for your marriage here.
*I will never advocate remaining in a situation that involves cases of physical, mental or verbal abuse. Please seek professional help if you are in this situation. I believe that God can work miracles in your relationship, but that might require distance and professional help first. You are a child of God and worthy of much more.
Always think the best of him. Assume the best so that you are never overly critical. It’s so much easier to think the best, then to apologize for rushing to judgment. Trust that he loves you and would never want to hurt you intentionally.
“I’m sure he meant to get to these dishes. The kids must have been tough tonight.” Instead of, “what an ass! He knows I don’t want to do all these dishes”. I’ve done that second one a few times and it bit me in the ass. haha. I know I leave the dishes until the morning if it’s crazy-ville and should give him the same courtesy.
Be open and honest. This is super important. Communication is key. I can tell my husband anything. I mean anything….. We don’t have “big discussions” because we don’t need to. We work out everything together. I have a certain way that I like things, and other things I don’t care about. We sat down and talked about who would handle what, and what decisions we wanted to be the “voice” of and what decisions the other person could handle. I know how he likes to be loved, and the things I can do to support him.
Honor the stuff that is important to each other. I honor the stuff that is important to him, and he respects my decisions about stuff that is important to me. I used to hate football….I know…it’s hard to admit. I decided years ago that I would just honor his love for the game. I would make these cute spreads since I loved appetizers and hosting. Then, I would sit and watch the games with him. I was content to eat and hang out, he was content to hang with me and watch the game. What was a “sacrifice” turned into a love of the game. We now have complete ND rituals with songs and gear…haha.
He knows how important “girl time” is to me. He makes sure I always have some wine in the bar, and often will just suggest that I “go out by myself for a few hours”. This past fall, he flew me to Atlanta to surprise my girlfriend for her birthday. It was just an amazing time. As I rocked with her on her porch with a cold beer in my hand, I got a text message that said “I love you. Don’t let her pay for anything this weekend.” As a single mom, he wanted my girlfriend to feel supported and cared for. It spoke volumes into her heart and mine. Whenever I mention a “girls’ night” or a “girls’ weekend”, he always helps me to make it happen.
Laugh. I can’t tell you how much this man makes me laugh. Even when I’m trying to be serious and discuss something with him. There is nothing better than laughter and what joy it brings to the heart. We constantly have inside jokes, or make references to Seinfeld, King of Queens, or The Office episodes. If you know my husband in real life, he is truly one of the funniest people EVAH……
Put each other first. Trust me. I love my kiddos. If you flip through my instagram, you can see how much I love the joy that they bring to our home. However, my husband always comes first. For us, that means plenty of date nights, yearly vacations alone, and just time together. Every saturday, we take our coffee and tea into our sitting room, and chat about the week ending and the week approaching. The kids know not to enter this room at this time. It’s our sacred time weekly. We cuddle and just relax. In addition, Now that my oldest has started babysitting for us, we have also been able to slip out for breakfast few times a month together.
Perfect marriages do not exist. But good marriages do.
They are the product of love, and selfless actions on the part of each other.
They are built brick by brick into the beautiful home that others see.
So…embrace the fight…embrace the struggle…and join countless other couples in fighting for a good marriage.