December 3, 2019 marks our 8th wedding anniversary. We are a pretty boring couple. It will be celebrated with the same meal every year. Tostitos pizza, cheese dip, and ranch. We will also find some time to watch Fireproof, although it usually happens on a weekend surrounding our anniversary. This is what works for us. You will probably never find us in a 5 star restaurant in fancy clothes. If you do, we have probably been forced there against our will.
I have decided to share 8 things that I’ve learned along the 8 years.
I SUCK at communication.
Like, really am terrible at it. Funny, considering I love to write. When it comes to talking about feelings though, I can’t do it. Looking back now, I know that I’ve always been this way. Not a good problem to have in marriage, considering communication is possibly the most important thing. However, I much prefer to bottle up every emotion I have and wait until a horrible time to light that bottle up with numerous boxes of tannerite. It is something I only recently have been focusing on and am learning to figure out how to communicate appropriately. So, maybe by our 9th anniversary, I’ll be able to tell you some tricks on communication.
Lower your expectations.
This might be the key to happiness in all things. If your expectations are too high, your spouse will always fall short. If my husband expected me to have make up on, hair done, perfectly clean house, and supper ready every day when he got home, well then, he would be sadly disappointed. If I expected my husband to come home from work and clean up the house, take care of outside chores, play with the kids, and give me a bunch of attention, well then I would be sadly disappointed. There isn’t enough time or energy for all those things to be done every single day. So, the days he does have energy and time to clean up messes that the kids and I have made throughout the day while he is gone, then I’m pretty happy. Remember, your spouse isn’t Superman (or woman).
Schedule time together.
This is very important. This is also very difficult. Especially when you are in the trenches of parenting. There have been many times that we have looked back at the past few months and said, “Oh crap. We need time alone.” So, I get it. For 2020, We have already scheduled one date day each month of the year. We are going to attempt to be much more intentional.
Working as opposites.
My husband and I are always thinking of doing the same ideas. However, it’s never at the same time. He wanted cows and I was totally against them. We got cows and I started liking them. When I started liking them, he wanted to get rid of them. This is only one of probably 3,000 examples. We are now trying to work as a team instead of doing our own things along side of each other. It probably would have been a much easier ride thus far if we would have started doing that right away. What I should have done from the beginning was say, “You want cows. Great. How can I help this dream?” Instead, I selfishly said, “I am scared of cows so you will have to do everything yourself.” I didn’t support him.
Get a mission statement.
We had a sermon at church once and it really stuck with me. Afterwards, we came up with a family mission statement. “To Love God and Love Others.” Everything we do, we strive to point to this. Figure out what you want your marriage to look like.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
This is a big one. My husband could tell me I need to calm down if I’m upset. Depending on his tone, depends on how I react to that. If he says it in the typical way that he is probably thinking in his head, you can bet that my blood pressure will be sky high. However, if he chooses to tell me that I need to calm down in a caring, compassionate way , then I’m going to respond much better.
Praying with your spouse really does change the world.
We didn’t start praying together until a few years ago. We also go through seasons of it. Some months, we can pray everyday. Other times, months will go by without praying together. As I look back on our prayer journey though, I can tell you that our marriage has been much stronger when we invite God into it. If we can be stronger, our family will be stronger. If our family is stronger, we can face the world with an attitude of Christ, thus changing the world. All because we choose to pray to the One who brought us together.
Make your spouse feel wanted.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. We have so much to get done, that we expect our spouse will always be there ready for us to fulfill our needs. If we don’t show love to our spouse though, how can we get love back? Taking time throughout your work day to text them and see how their day is going, kissing them hello or goodbye, or even just holding their hand on a car ride are just little things that can go along way.