Marriage: What a beautiful, hard, sometimes messy, joy filled, occasionally confusing, exciting gift from the Lord. I say this light heartedly, but isn’t it the truth?! I have had the opportunity of experiencing this sweet gift for eight short months, and I say short because whoa, time has flown by.
I met my husband, Patrick, when I was in the 5th grade. He was the rule breaker. I was the rule follower. He gave me butterflies in the 5th grade but boys were still pretty icky at that time, and I decided he needed to grow into his feet. I’ll spare you all the details, but my junior year of high school he asked me to be his girlfriend and with the exception of a hard but necessary 4 month breakup, the rest is history. At 24 years old, my now husband still gives me butterflies, and I have a smile on my face every time I see his size 13 shoe next to my size 5 in our closet
The amazing thing about this gift of marriage is that I have never learned so much about my spouse, my relationships, or myself over these last 8 months.
The first and most important thing I have learned in this journey is that open communication is 100% necessary in a marriage…or let’s be honest, in life. Ladies, your husband may be really great at a lot of things but he cannot and will never be able to read your mind. Nope, he can’t. What I have found is that when I open up to Patrick, and I let him know exactly how I am feeling, he is so much more willing to express his feelings to me. In these moments, we are able to talk about the good stuff, the hard stuff, and the stuff that REALLY needs to be talked about. You know, those things that have been bugging you or were hurtful to you, those have to come out. Those talks cannot be swept underneath the rug. Share in your joy and in your pain. Build up your husband and do not ever go to bed angry. Talk it out! The Lord tells us in Ephesians,
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
I have also learned that because this marriage thing is so beautiful yet so hard, you cannot get through it without prayer. It is so important to pray for your spouse. About 6 months into marriage I was beginning to think, something is missing. I couldn’t figure it out. I was cooking dinner, the laundry was done, the house was picked up, the dog was taken care of, I was working, things were checked off the to do list, and my sweet husband was overly helpful and grateful for all the “stuff” that was getting accomplished. Something was definitely absent. I realized about two months ago that I had not been praying for my husband regularly. It hit me when I read the book Fervent by Pricilla Shirer (a must read ladies) Pricilla says this,
“According to Scripture, the number-one purpose of marriage—more than even the unique, time-honored partnership it creates between a man and woman, more than even the conceiving and raising of children, more than any Prince Charming fairy tale in any little girl’s head—is how it represents the mystery of the gospel in active, living form.”
After reading this book, I questioned how my marriage could truly represent the gospel if I was not actively praying for my spouse and we were not spending time praying together. This is a game changer, ladies. Praying aloud with your spouse can seem intimidating, but I can say that it has absolutely brought us closer together as we draw near to the one that made marriage. I encourage you sisters, to ask your spouse how you can pray for him this week. Ask him what he is struggling with, and what he is excited about. Pray for those things in your own quiet time and if you can find some time to pray together at the end of the day when you are ready to turn out the lights, I assure you, all awkwardness aside, it is a beautiful and intimate time together with your spouse and The Lord.
Finally, don’t forget how to date. After seven years of dating we have tried not to forget how to date even in marriage. Our weekend date nights are so precious to us. Everyone needs a time to unwind at the end of the week and go have fun! Sometimes our date nights mean we end up eating take out on our couch, sometimes we go on a hike on Saturdays, or we go out to a fancy dinner. Regardless, have some quality time set aside for you and your spouse during the week. Work and kids and the stresses of life can get you down or get you frustrated or exhausted and sometimes those emotions get thrown up into our husbands face. You need time to have fun together.
Also, to maintain a healthy marriage, we have decided we must allow each other to go do the stuff we enjoy. As a newlywed I love spending a lot of my time with Patrick, but some Saturdays I want to go to Tjmaxx by myself, and some Saturdays Patrick wants to go to Lowes by himself. That is OK. One day not too long ago, we got in an argument because Patrick said he wanted to go to Lowes by himself. I took his statement as he didn’t want to be with me but all he really wanted was some time to be alone at a place he enjoys. Allow your spouse to go do things he enjoys. I promise he will appreciate you for it. Let him go on that snowboarding trip with his buddies, or let him go fishing for the day by himself. He needs that time just as much as we ladies need a night out with girlfriends or a ‘please take the kids while I go get a much needed pedicure’. If you haven’t figured it out, this marriage thing is lots of give-and-take and TONS of compromise. I am learning something new every day, and I have a feeling this learning curve will last till death do us part.
I have so enjoyed sharing my heart with you and what the Lord has taught me in these 8 months of marriage… a beautiful gift that we should cherish and protect.