If you read my “About Me” you know that I love, love. I have a real passion for helping create and cultivate successful marriages. You know when you just “know” you’re meant to do something? Well I know I am supposed to encourage women to have a healthy, happy, successful marriage. So whether you are married, engaged, or just dating. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned.
Now, of course, a lot of what I will write in this post is a generalization. It may not at all apply to you and your relationship. I am basing this all on my own experience and conversations that I have had with fellow women.
You Probably Don’t Know How To Be Married, But You Can Learn…
This never made any sense to me, we go and seek help, read manuals or take lessons for virtually ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that we have never done before. But for whatever reason, we don’t promote that for marriages. Everyone just has a wedding, and then that’s it…it’s just sink or swim. You only hear about couples taking counseling or marriage classes a few years and some major fights down the road. After bad habits and heartache have set in.
Well, Mark and I didn’t like that system. Neither of us had a clue as to how to be married, but we knew we wanted to give this marriage every chance of being great. I come from a family who has some pretty kick butt marriages. And I refused to think there was any other option.
I STRONGLY encourage you to take marriage classes in your first year of marriage. It was the best thing that we could have done for our marriage. Honest truth, I have had a wonderful marriage full of ups. Now, while my marriage has been nothing but positive, it is a result of some seriously hard work. Those marriage classes did a lot to show us how we should go about solving issues, loving each other and being successful.
You’re Going To Have To Face The Music, You Kinda Suck….
Okay, let me explain this before you get offended. This was the best lesson that my hard-head could learn about being married. In our marriage class, it talked about how we are so quick to blame our spouse for not doing things the way we like, but we often never ask what we are doing? And I will never forget the way the pastor worded it “your marriage will get better when you realize you kinda suck” it’s so true.your marriage will get better when you realize you kinda suck Click To Tweet
When you’re dating or engaged, you are both still on your best behavior. Not that you haven’t had your moments, but in general, you two are still trying to impress each other, and he is probably overly nice and hasn’t informed you of how bossy you are. At least that was the case with my husband. And I didn’t tell him how I hated that he sprung things on me. I naively thought that when we got married, he would see that obviously, my way was the best way…. Well, reality check Melinda that’s not always true.
So here’s what I learned and what I suggest for you; before you look at what your spouse is “doing wrong” look at what you are kinda sucking at first. Are you:
- Being too bossy and not letting him have a say.
- Did you express your feelings before this moment (he probably didn’t know you would have a mental break down if he added more dirty dishes to the sink since you didn’t let him know you were already having a terrible day)<—- this may or may not have happened.
- Is your way really the best and only way to do this.
- What did you do to provoke the situation
Now, this is my list that I ask myself; yours may look different. But the main point is that we need to make sure that we are doing all we can on our end FIRST before deciding our partner is wrong. Because, most of the time, we will realize we might be playing a larger role on the issue than we initially assumed.
Big Discussions Should Happen When You’re In A Good Mood, And Probably Over Milkshakes….
This idea has been essential in our marriage. A big compromise that we learned early on is that Mark couldn’t just say a blanket “I’m Sorry” to get us to stop talking about things. And I couldn’t demand that we have an in depth analyzation as to why he was saying he was sorry IN THAT VERY MOMENT. So we discuss those touchy topics like money, children, and other life decisions when we are in a good mood and over milkshakes. Becuase who could get upset while sucking down a cookies and cream milkshake.
Seriously, we make a point to have all significant discussions in places that make us happy.
Make Even The Little Things Date Opportunities….
We are both really busy. So we work on making sure to enjoy each other as often as we can. This lesson was another one we learned in our marriage classes (seriously look into taking some), spend even the little moments together and make time to do things the other person enjoys (even if you don’t like doing whatever it is).
I go out and watch Mark mow the lawn; he sits in the kitchen while I cook, I run to the store with him when he goes, and so on. Spend those moments that seem so insignificant with each other. You will see that it makes such a difference. But keep in mind that to make these mundane moments a “date” opportunity, you need to be intentional. So, don’t JUST be in the room while he’s doing the dishes. Express your appreciation, or talk about how great his butt looks while washing all 20 forks he managed to use in 2 days…you get the idea.
Also, we CONSTANTLY act upon those spontaneous urges. In fact, my sister-in-law makes fun of us. She says “you two are always going on late night runs for Yogurt Mill” and she’s right. We keep that fun “just dating” spontaneity in our marriage.To the point that I get questions on snapchat all the time if I am pregnant because we are going to Dollar General at 10 pm for gummy bears and sweet tea. Nope, those are just my normal late night cravings, not pregnant cravings.
Marriage Is Like Getting Fit; You Have To Work At It Constantly…
I don’t think that marriage is hard, I think marriage takes hard work, and there is a difference. I like to think about marriage like getting fit; it takes constant hard work. I’m talking every day you work on creating a great marriage. Making great marriages happens in the little moments.
When I was a competitive athlete, I used to hate all the drills that we would do in practice. But man I knew that doing them would make me a better athlete. Same with marriage, you can’t just expect to have a good marriage if you don’t “do the drills.”
Most importantly is centering your marriage around your relationship with the Lord. But that is going to be a whole other post. So be sure and sign up with your email, so you get notified when that post goes up.