I am not claiming to be an expert on marriage nor do I think that hubby and I have it figured out. We only have a few years under our belts. I do know that we have a good marriage but a good marriage is one that struggles well. (struggle with our fleshly desires...which usually boils down to selfishness)
We have an epidemic in our country and even in our churches. When the going gets tough we opt for the easy way out. When I walked into marriage I had enough baggage lugging behind me to destroy several marriages over. I did not grow up with the example of a God-centered marriage. Actually several people on one side of my family have been married multiple times or if they actually stay married they have much negativity and the stench of sin is so strong it's toxic. I had never had an earthly example of what to do. I didn't know! My husband and I have contrasting backgrounds. He comes from a long line of believers and marriages that lasted lifetimes.
The first year of our marriage was challenging to say the least. Not because of my husband but because of my sin. I had unrealistic expectations. I had put the burden of my happiness on my husband. That's not the role God gave him....that's God's. God did not create marriage to make us happy but rather to make us holy. God uses our spouses to reveal to us our ugly side. Not because he has nothing better to do but because He loves us and wants to spur us onto holiness. I had a hard time seeing my ugly side. God asked me to confront my childhood victimization something I was NOT ready to do! Instead of changing I did the opposite. I started "bucking" the system God created. A lot of that came from insecurity and fear. I became the bitter wife that instead of running towards God I chose to be disrespectful to my husband. My attitude said I knew better than God and I did not want to face everything He wanted me to face. I realized that I was acting just like my mom. I was humbled. I did not want to become the wife she was and I did not want the marriage my parents had. (my parents do not read my blog)
I wanted a strong marriage. I wanted to do this marriage thing God's way not mine. With God walking me through...I cleaned out the skeletons in my closet. I apologized to my husband. I know that I will always have a battle with doing things the way I saw growing up. But that just means that daily I will have to find my strength in Him and surround myself with great wives and moms!
After that trial in our marriage the relationship with my husband is much stronger. We are best friends. Yes we still a few bumps but we have unconditional forgiveness. I daily work on showing him unconditional respect.
I was blessed to have the husband I have. Because through everything that we have gone through and will go through he is incredibly patient. He never raises his voice and never acts out in anger. I know that any decision big or small he has to make has been covered in prayer. I also know that when God leads my husband to certain decisions God is not forgetting about little man and I. He is doing what best for our family.
In our society there seems to be some confusion about love. Contrary to popular belief love is not a feeling but rather a choice. So the whole "we fell out of love" reasoning for divorce.....I'm not buying. You don't fall out of love but out of repentance. When our spouse does something that gets to us instead of acting in anger, we can choose to love them and show patience, kindness, or self-control. We make that choice.
Did you know it takes 21 days to break a habit? In our marriage I had a lot of communication habits that needed to go! I learned that words are powerful and there are consequences to my words. I could either build my husband up and encourage him or tear him down.
We now have a child! Children watch their parents and form definitions. How I treat "daddy" is how they will treat him and how I talk about him to them is important. Oneness in marriage is crucial to raising a child that will continue on the godly legacy.
We have a lifetime to make mistakes that we will learn from. For us divorce is not an option. The best person for you is the person you are currently married to.
Here are a few fun things that we do to keep our marriage strong. (I love hearing other ideas too!)
We pray together
We have a few minutes to "debrief" our day when he comes home
Go on dates together
Journal to one another
Encourage one another
write notes on the bathroom mirror
we took the tv out of our bedroom<--- you will be amazed at the conversations you can have!
we use to say no tv, phone, or internet after 9.....we need to implement that one again.
serve in ministry together
we also pray for each other in our alone times with God
Notes hubby has written me
a fun box that has different date ideas... hey! hey! :)
It has cards for the husband
and there are some for the wife. No peeking at each others. So you can then be surprised!
It gives a detailed description on what to do.
We have this hanging in our living room as a constant reminder to our friends, family, child, and us of the covenant we made.
I will write another post on some of our favorite marriage books.