We’ve just celebrated 11 years of marriage. And it got me thinking…
We have come a loooooong way from those two young thangs that got hitched back in 2008. It made me think about the lessons that we’ve learnt along the way. The victories we’ve overcome, but also the areas we bombed out in. Through all of our triumphs and victories we’ve had our faith to guide us. Some of these lessons have brought me to my knees, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s what I’ve learnt from 11 years of marriage:
1. It's no longer about you
Before marriage I was able to do what I wanted, go where I wanted, spend money on what I wanted. It was a pretty selfish kind of life. I admit to having ‘princess syndrome’. When my husband came along I still saw myself as number one (no judging!), and so when I got married, it was a huge shock to find that actually…the world does not revolve around me!
2. Keep your expectations realistic
Social media, magazines and Netflix can fuel the unrealistic expectations we have for our spouses. We tend to only see the amazing, cookie cutter, perfect facades of other peoples relationships and end up self-sabotaging our own marriages. Because the truth is; no marriage is perfect. No couple is perfect. And when we unhealthily hold our spouse responsible for our happiness or hold them up to unrealistic standards we end up blaming them when we are unhappy. When we overlook the value of our spouses, we become blind to the beauty that’s in our own marriage.
3. Keep Jesus centre
You can’t do this on your own. We were designed to do life with God as our centre. He loves you. Both of you. At times, the only thing keeping us together can be the covenant we made with God. It gets us through the rough patches. And we are better for it. Closer. Stronger. More committed.
4. Fight fair
Fight FOR each other. What I’m saying is; believe that as a couple you have the best intentions towards each other. When that is the foundation of every argument, then every statement is intentionally taking steps closer towards each other, instead of creating a wedge that pushes you further apart. With that in mind; be respectful, focus on what is true and not the emotions attached, compromise, refrain from name-calling and yelling.
If my hubby is reading this he is rolling his eyes! Forgiveness is something I have always struggled with. I am a work in progress. My spouse on the other hand has this one down. He is quick to forgive and always seeks restoration as soon as possible. I am so thankful.
6. Don't stop wooing
It’s easy to get into a rut, but it’s so important to keep the love alive. Keep flirting with your spouse; keep the spice in your marriage. Kiss. Kiss them everyday!
7. You're on the same team
Don’t keep score; how much you have done, how much your spouse has done. This can come through especially when we have kids. Support each other when the other is feeling tired and celebrate each others victories. You should be each others biggest cheerleaders.
8. Pick your battles
Yes! It is frustrating when your spouse doesn’t empty out his gym bag, leaves his briefcase on the dining room table or forgets to fill the tank when he uses the car. But! If its really not the end of the world…if it has no future impact on your marriage…then try to let it go. There are worse things that they can do.
9. Have goals together
This is where picking your battles comes in play. When you have a bigger mission, a bigger dream, those issues that don’t really matter are dramatically minimized. When we have bigger goals and dreams that we are working towards, then protecting our hearts and marriage becomes more important and we are able to prioritise the promises of the future. For us it was planting a church. What has God promised you? Is fighting over dirty dishes worth it?
10. Celebrate your differences
I’m a messy, untidy, make it up as I go along kinda gal and my man is an organized, systems and rules kinda guy. In the beginning it drove me crazy! I’d go along living my life leaving chaos and open cupboards in my wake to the soundtrack of closing cupboards as my husband walked behind me. Looking back…I must have driven him bonkers! (thanks for being so gracious babe!)
11. Keep having fun
When children enter a marriage its so easy to forget the couple that you were before the sleepless nights, nappies, school runs and the endless kids parties. Keep it interesting and change it up a bit. Try new things together and grab every opportunity to laugh. Even at his corny jokes. Those are the ones that got you hooked in the first place right.
This verse pretty much sums it up.