We all have that fairytale dream of marrying our prince charming or princess one day right? And once we do, life will be complete. I laughed out loud while writing that sentence because it made me think about how childlike we as humans can be while trying to plan out our futures. Very small minded and most of us don’t put a lot of reality doses into that life when we’re dreaming it up. But I’ll give you a little reality check this morning.
Chad and I will have been married for seven years in a little over a month. Crazy right?! And the funny part is, I feel like we are just now starting to figure each other out. I hear that’s normal but how insane does that sound?! It takes seven or more years to learn enough about a person enough to be able to resolve conflicts better. I swear we just figured out our love languages in the past two months thanks to marriage counseling. Don’t freak out because we’re going to counseling, I feel it’s important for every couple to do it at some point in their relationship. Maybe even ten times if need be. But, seriously, we are just now figuring each other out and with that comes some peace for having the answers to our questions, but then comes the hard part: applying what we’re learning.
Maybe you are newly married or maybe you’re a marriage veteran, either way I’m sure this applies to you. Marriage is HARD. It’s amazing as well but it’s also the hardest, most humbling experience you will ever face in your existence. You give your heart and body to a single person for life and they get to know all the baggage and flaws that come with those two parts of you. Not only do you give yourself to that person, but you are on the receiving end as well. You get that gorgeous man or woman for life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Through wealth, or being so poor you can’t afford your next meal. Through the happy days full of health and through the really crappy ones when you’re letting them see you at your most vulnerable times. That could mean mental or physical health. You sign up for the whole shebang when you say “I do.”
I love my husband with every ounce of my being. He is my other half in the truest sense. But we are also as different as night and day and some moments those differences can be blinding. I’m writing this to you today because maybe you’re going through the beginning of newlywed bliss, or maybe your marriage is in the valley right now. Maybe those newlywed days are all but a memory. I’m here to tell you there is hope! Wanna know my secret?
You can fix it almost every time. Wanna know how? With yourself. I’ve always believed that love is an action word instead of the feeling we are all accustomed to hearing about. Your parents will tell you that you should always feel loved in a relationship and I’m here to tell you that is complete bull. There are going to be times in your marriage when you are lonely and downright bewildered. You’re sitting there wondering where that person went that you “fell in love with.” Well, they are human just like you and sometimes in the heat of life’s disappointments we show our worst sides to the ones we love most. It’s in those times when you have a choice to make. You can either fight for your relationship and your spouse with all your might or you can give up because you’re not feeling it anymore. But I can promise you this, love is a choice. My definition of love is this: giving of yourself, holding nothing back and expecting nothing in return.
Now please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying; it’s not that you need to be a martyr in your relationship. That’s not it at all. I’m just so tired of the lies that our society feeds us on the daily. If it feels good, do it! If someone treats you badly, give them hell! What is that really accomplishing? In my experience, going through the hard times makes you that much stronger together. It tests the very depths of who you think you are as a person, causing you to cling to the ones you love because you have nothing left. It’s in those times of difficulty that you see that love shine through.
So my advice to you if you’re newly married or getting married soon; don’t place unrealistic expectations on your spouse. This will automatically set you up for some major disappointments early in your relationship that will lead to resentment later down the road. Don’t be overly critical of your him/her. Speak in love when it’s necessary, but for goodness sake, choose your battles wisely. Ask yourself if that particular issue is really worth fighting over. Cherish the good days when you have them. Those are the moments you will go back to in your mind when the days seem unbearable in your relationship or your not “feeling the love.” Because let’s face it, we are all sinners saved by grace and none of us show love at all moments of the day. Know now that most likely the qualities that attracted you to your significant other will drive you crazy a few years down the road. Because, typically, those qualities are who your mom or dad was to you, and they are your polar opposites. Try to appreciate these differences even when they annoy you greatly, because those qualities are why you mesh.
If you’ve been married for a bit and you’re wondering what went wrong, this is for you. Remember that no one is perfect. Not even you! Especially not you, though you probably believe you are right in whatever you both are arguing about. I see you. I know it’s hard and it can be really frustrating when you’re going through those hard times together. But these things have helped us immensely: Don’t play mind games. If you are both wrong (you probably are so don’t try to deny it,) don’t wait for the other to apologize first because you are just wasting precious time. If you’re going to fight, fight fair. Say what needs to be said and be done with with it. Don’t focus on the person in front you as much as the action that caused the hurt. The action is what hurt you and most times your spouse didn’t intend it at all. Give them a chance before bringing down the sword on them. Learn to forgive easily. It takes practice for most of us because we all bring a little (or a lot) of baggage into our marriages that prevent us from loving and forgiving easily. Giving and asking for forgiveness is the heart of marriage. We all mess up, and learning to accept that and move on from it makes all the difference in the world. So if you’re in the midst of a hard time I want you to write down five things that you love about your spouse. Write down those five qualities that make your heart soar and I promise you if it’s really, really hard….you most likely need to be the first to apologize because you were wrong. You forgot all the reasons why they are amazing. You only get one life so make it count. And the great part is, once you’re done I know you will want to go make things right and move on together because you love him/her. At the end of the day, love wins if you let it. Don’t be the one to hinder love from being the best it can be.
Marriage is hard, but so worth the effort. Cheers to a wonderful Wednesday. Make sure you tell me when you get a card or flowers for being the superhero to surprise your spouse by saying sorry first and taking the heat. You will surprise the heck out of them, don’t worry 😉