Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary. Yay us! I’m so glad to have him in my life. I wouldn’t want to share this life with anybody else. That being said, we have definitely had our ups and downs. Everyone says the first year is the hardest, but for us, that was not the case. Maybe it was because we didn’t live together before marriage, so we hadn’t had time t get to know each other’s little quirks. Our hardest year wasn’t even the second year. For us, it has definitely been the year 2013, year 3. A year of great blessing and great strife. That was the year our first child was born. You think you know each other, you think you have talked about how you want to raise your kids, until you have one. We argued so much that year, about things I never thought we would argue about. We argued about why we were arguing and what was important or not important to argue about. Crazy, I know! We argued about how to change a diaper, where to put the baby to sleep, what food to start the baby on, when she could have her first taste of sugar, when to call the doctor. You name it, we probably argued about it. Oh, the wasted months spent arguing.! But, if I had to do it again, I would not change a thing. Not one silly argument. Not because I like to argue (though I have been known to be argumentative) :), but because it taught us so much. Of course, we have not completed our lessons in life, I am sure, but here’s hoping the following lessons we learned can help you through your journey of marriage (and let’s face it, it is a journey more times than a vacation)
- It is okay to argue. It is what you do with those arguments. I would like to say we don’t have arguments anymore, or at the very least, we don’t have the same arguments. But though we have learned to communicate better, we still tend to have similar arguments. Just don’t let it fester! I’m talking to you girls! You know we are bad about letting things fester until it boils over. When you bring up something from a week ago, your poor guy is probably feeling bombarded (or so my husband says). It is healthy to argue, just as long as you do resolve it eventually.
- Do take time to enjoy your life and children together. If your husband and daughter are giggling together instead of him putting her to bed, join in. If your daughter is throwing her stuffed animals in the air to see how far they can fly, then throw them with her. If she makes you some “tea”, drink it. And if your infant son wants to snuggle just a little longer than usual, than snuggle! Turn off the computer, tablet, phone, and remote control, and look your loved ones in the eye and be present!
- Take time for you! We hear it all the time. I’m still working on it too. In my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, we are currently talking about being refreshed and flourishing. Whatever that looks like for you: Reading, taking a nap, exercise, meditating, music. It looks different for everybody, but we all need it to flourish. It looks different in each season of life. For me, right now, it may only be 15 minutes of reading or enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee (without having to microwave a million times!). I know between taking care of a 5 month old and a spirited almost 3 year old, I need time to refresh. I know you do too. Take time to be quiet and still! For the sanity of yourself and your marriage and the safety of your children, instill a quiet hour or two. (Some of us need more sanity saving time then others) If your children don’t nap anymore, make it a quiet time. And everybody has quiet time, including the adults. We all need time to ourselves. At the same time. For me, right now, that means working my toddler’s schedule around the 5 month old baby. As soon as I lay him down for a nap, I’m laying her down shortly after or shortly before I know he will be ready for his nap. It won’t always be perfect. Life happens and you get off schedule. But some days, this is the only thing that has saved my sanity. During this time, give yourself permission to not do any cleaning or “needed tasks”, only things you enjoy, that fill you up!
- Pray. .Pray for your marriage. Pray for your parenting. You are on the same team. Marriage and parenting is not for the faint of heart. We need God to be first in our marriage, then each other, then the children. I don’t think the children should come before your spouse. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I believe if you have a healthy marriage, then your children will see that, they will see that you are on the same team, so really it benefits them more for you to put your spouse first. Pray together, pray for each other, pray for your children. Pray aloud, pray silently. Just pray. That jut may be the only way to keep Satan out of your marriage.
- Share and Sacrifice. Share your prayer life. Share time together. Share a back rub even when you are exhausted. (I’m preaching to myself on this one.) Sacrifice your time by allowing the other to have time alone or with friends. Share articles and books you read. Just share your life. I don’t know much, but I do know that when my husband and I share and sacrifice for each other, we are at our happiest and most content. Just the other day, we were arguing about who would go to get the dog food. He didn’t want me to go because I would have to manage both kids and a 50 lb bag of dog food. I didn’t want him to go because he had a long day at work and that would prolong his day even more. I don’t give this example to brag, but rather to point out that when you share considerations for the other, then you are sharing love. Sharing is of paramount importance. When you share your life in all the tiniest daily living, then your share love. Not love in the sappy romantic way (although that his its time and pace), but true and deep and unconditional love.
What are some of the lessons you have learned in your relationships?
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“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoince at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (ESV)