Wednesday is mine and my husband’s eight year anniversary. Honestly, I find it so hard to believe we have been married for eight years. It seems like just yesterday I saw him walk into Chapel at Central Bible College and felt my heart stolen from me. On June 12th 2010, I set out on an adventure with Benjamin. I have learned quite a bit during our marriage. We have faced more trials than we expected. We have grown both separately and as a couple. We have built a life that we love together. While I was looking back on our 8 years, I decided to compile a list of the most important lessons I have learned during our marriage.
Sure, there have been more lessons than just these eight. Like the fact that my husband only fills the dishwasher half way before starting it, it drives me batty, but I have learned it is better to just do it myself than bring it up to him. Maybe you have been married longer than 8 years. Maybe 8 years seems like a drop compared to the grand scheme of things. Maybe you aren’t married yet. Wherever you are at in your life, I hope you find even just one of these lessons as valuable as I have!
Lesson Number One
You Are A Team
There are always going to be those days in your marriage where you do not feel like a team. In our marriage we have faced disagreements that seemed mountainous to us. No matter how hard we tried, we just could not see the other person’s point of view. Those moments, those arguments, they are going to happen. Maybe you disagree about how best to discipline your children, or maybe you disagree on finances, in laws, jobs, whatever it may be, those big subjects will come up.
When they do remember you + your spouse = a team
You are on the same side. That never changes. The sooner you realize this and embrace it, the sooner you can overcome the obstacles that have been placed in your marriage. On the big issues, talk them out as a team, try to understand the other person’s side. Come together on common ground. It is possible.
However, on the small issues sometimes you will just have to agree to disagree. That is okay.
Lesson Number Two
You chose your spouse
Several years down the road or maybe not even several years, after your wedding, you may be faced with hardship inside your marriage. Maybe you will be tempted to look somewhere else for comfort and pleasure. Maybe you will draw away from your spouse, claiming he/she has changed. The love has gone away. If that happens, I encourage you to take a step back. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you can remember that drew you to your spouse. Maybe they have changed. It is also possible they have not changed all that much and you are just looking for an excuse to escape when life gets difficult. You chose your spouse for a reason. You may just have to remind yourself of that reason every once and a while.
Lesson Number Three
Change is not always negative
I think sometimes we look at change as a bad thing. Not all change is negative. We have to be willing to grow and change right alongside of our spouse. If we are stubborn and refuse to grow WITH our spouse, then we may be creating unnecessary conflict inside of our marriage. I am not the same person Ben stood across from 8 years ago and vowed himself to. He is not the same person either. We have both matured and changed within the walls of our marriage and home, into something much more stable and beautiful, in my opinion. Do not try to stay who you were at 18, 20, 25 or 30. Choose to grow and mature, when you do that your marriage will naturally grow and mature as well.
Lesson Number Four
You need to fight in your marriage
Okay let me say that again you need to fight in your marriage. I do not mean fight with each other. You need to fight FOR your marriage. How? By safe guarding it. By being purposeful and intentional in your marriage with what you say, what you do and with what/who you let in. I’ll say that again. Safe guard your marriage by being watchful with who or what you let in. If a person or a thing is going to tempt you to be unfaithful to your spouse, or put your marriage in the line of fire, then they don’t belong in your life. I wrote an article last year about safe guarding your marriage. I give sound advice on ways I protect my marriage. Protecting your marriage should always be at the top of your priority list.
Lesson Number Five
Your spouse comes before your children
Please let me clarify something. When I say your spouse comes before your children, I do not mean your children’s needs. The needs of your children, their safety and physical/emotional needs should always be a top priority and come first. When I say your spouse comes first I mean do not forget you have a spouse just because you have children. Your spouse is deserving of your time and affection just as much as your children are.
Over the weekend we went to a baseball game. My husband is a huge baseball fan, his favorite team was playing. I could take it or leave it. Our daughters enjoy the thought of going to a game but when they get there the restlessness runs rampant. It rained on us in the second inning. We shuffled our children under the awning to wait it out. There was some crying, a lot of pulling on mommy, and fighting over daddy’s hat. At one point in time our youngest threw herself on the ground and cried. What for? We have no idea other than she was bored and hopped up on to much sugar. My husband consulted with a few people to figure out when the storm would pass. I can count on two hands how many times he asked me if I just wanted to leave. “They’re bored” he said. I looked at him each time and said “no we are not leaving and they can be bored.” The rain moved and we stayed until the eighth inning, when the rain moved back in, we decided that it was time to go then.
Why didn’t I just leave in the second inning? It was obvious our daughters were not feeling baseball that night. The reason is simple: that night was not about them. We went to the baseball game because their daddy likes baseball. We were not going to leave just because they didn’t like it. That is not how life works, and that is not how our family operates.
It is important for our children to understand that mommy and daddy also have likes and dislikes, wants and needs, those need to be attended to as well. It is not always going to be about our children, that is okay. The sooner our children learn that lesson the better. The more considerate they will become. Children watch your marriage, they will learn through you how they need to treat their futures spouses. Make sure they are learning the right way.
Lesson Number Six
Have sex with your spouse
I believe God created sex to be fun and enjoyable. I believe sex is for both women and men to enjoy, in the context of marriage. So this lesson is pretty self explanatory. Have sex with your spouse. Do not be afraid to have fun. You may be surprised at how close it brings you to your spouse both physically and emotionally.
Lesson Number Seven
Whatever you face you can face it together
My husband and I learned this lesson very early on in our marriage. A year and a half after we were married we buried our newborn son David. We learned we could face tragedy together during this time. A circumstance that seemed was going to inevitably tear us apart, wove our marriage intricately together in ways we couldn’t have imagined. It was then that we realized whatever storm came our way, we were better and stronger together.
Lesson Number Eight
Be your spouse’s biggest supporter.
Every one is a critic. The world does not need more of them. Your marriage and spouse definitely do not need more critics. Be an encouragement to your spouse. Be their greatest supporter. Are they wanting to do the impossible? Support them. Are the wanting to change jobs? Support them. Are they having difficulties at work, with friends, etc? Support them. Do not criticize. Do not put down. Do not discourage. Hold your spouse up and encourage. That is what they need from you. After all it what you need from them too.
In my eight years of marriage I have learned many more lessons, but these are the eight that I implement the most in my marriage. What are the most important lessons you have learned?
Until next time xoxo,