Thursday, February 28, 2008

Marriage Wisdom Part 1

I was reading over HERE today and Mindy had such a great post on Marriage, that I decided to talk about it. You can find the post HERE, and I highly recommend it!

As my husband and I are coming up on our one year anniversary (3/17/08), I have begun to reflect on all the things that I have learned. My hubby and I dated for six years before we got married, and so I felt that I knew him pretty well, but this past year I have learned lessons so much deeper then I did in the past.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is how careful I have to be with my words. My words should be used to encourage, edify and lift him up. I learned how easy it is break his spirit, even in jest. I learned the HUGE responsibility I have with my words when it comes to the way I talk to my husband.

Some things that I have learned through my relationship, through my marriage, and from other women (mainly my grandmother, mother and sister) are:

  • Always put your husband first. I heard this so much, and especially right before Capri was born. I thought to myself "Of course, of course, I get it". But NOW I understand why they took so much time to tell me-its hard. The urgent things in life tend to always come before the important things in life right? Well, with a baby, there is always something urgent to be done, and so its easy to let the important time with your husband slip away. It's all about managing those urgent things, and working around them. It takes a whole lot of intention and a little creativity, but its IMPORTANT. I've learned this lesson in a big way lately.
  • Never put down your husband to others, even "in good fun". When Wade and I are with friends, I am sure to never tease him, or put him down in any way. I never "correct" him, belittle him, or laugh at him. If others are out of jest, I don't join in. I choose to show respect to him and lift him up to others.
  • This also extends to talking poorly about him to my mom/sister/friend ect... when we get in a fight. I would warn against running to these women when you fight with your husband. You may be able to move on, get over it, and forgive but they don't get the benefit of the make up, and its harder for them to let go of the way he acted in that moment. They also will remember the things you say about him in that moment, and it is very dangerous. I've learned to take my problems to the Lord, and journal. IF there was ever a serious problem, I would turn to a pastor or counselor. Always lift your husband up to other people.
  • Be interested in HIS activities. My husband does plenty of things I really don't care about, but I choose to engage and care. Wade loves football, so I found a way to enjoy it with him, listen to him ramble about this game, that trade, this player, and it shows him so much love. I used to just sit and watch a game with him and read a magazine or book, and not engage, and this was sort of point less. He really wanted to share his excitement with his best friend-me. So take time to learn about what he enjoys, and take time to share it with him.
  • Spend quality time listening. Not just asking "how was your day?", but going beyond that to ask him about his struggles, fears and dreams. Connect with him on his passions and disappointments. This will make him feel valued, loved and important.
  • Encourage. It's really easy to think, "of course he knows how I feel, he knows that I appreciate him." However, your husband needs this affirmation daily, and the more affirmation he gets, the more confident he feels about himself. He will feel empowered, inspired and appreciated. What a HUGE gift we can give in such a small way. Notice the little things he does, and tell him that you notice, and you love him.
  • Believe in him. This is a choice. I've learned, that even if he has let me down in the past, I have to forgive and let those things go, and choose to trust and believe in my husband. If I don't, he will only live up to my expectation. If I EXPECT him to let me down, then he will. If I EXPECT him to succeed, then he will. My belief in him is monumental, and as his wife, and his lover, I have a huge responsibility to tell him that I know he can do it, and I believe in him. It's like the prince that can only slay the dragon if the princess believes he can.
  • Be intentional with intimacy. Plan time for love makin'! This is especially crucial when you have children (so I have learned). It doesn't really just "happen" any more. It takes planning, and its easy to let a bunch of time go by because of it. Plan out nights and times so that you both can be prepared spiritual, emotionally and physically. Make this an absolute priority, and think of it as VITAL to the health of your marriage.
  • My husband desires to give me everything, he really does. It is my responsibility to not burden him with all my "want". I sometimes don't even realize how much I affect him when I'm talking and saying "Oh I reaaaallly want an IPHONE" or some "bedroom furniture", or those "cute boots". I thought nothing of my continuing wish list until I saw what it was doing to him. He began stressed and burdened to get me all of these things, trying to figure out solutions to make more money, work harder, and when he couldn't he felt absolutely worthless as a provider. How horrible right? He provides all my NEEDS, like a home, food ect... and yet feels inadequate because he can't get me the IPHONE. I don't NEED the IPHONE, and I don't need to be making my husband feel inadequate as provider just to get one. I guess you would say he is easily to manipulate in this situation, and it gives me a whole lot of responsibility. I'm not saying that you should never ask for stuff, but just be careful, be extremely careful.
  • Never go to bed angry. Why does EVERYONE tell you this? Because it is SO important. The fight either gets SO much worse, or you tend to let things go when they really need to be resolved, just leaving it for another fight which will end up EVEN BIGGER. Even if you have to stay up all night to work it out... do it. It's worth it.
  • Communicate from a responsible vs. victim mentality. Instead of starting out by saying "YOU made me feel so horrible" "If YOU didn't do this then I would not have gotten mad". Take responsibility for your own emotions, no one can MAKE you feel anything, YOU CHOOSE your response. Instead let him know that it hurts you, or you feel betrayed, dishonored, ignored, hurt ect....when this happens. By choosing not to play the victim role you hubby will not feel the need to be defensive and you can both work towards a solution.


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Adventures In Babywearing said...

Carrington, this is a great post! Everything you've said is so important. I always and forever remember that my husband is the Man of the house and it's so important that he feels that and knows you feel that way. Also, when we went to our marriage counseling with our pastor before getting married, he told us to beware of the little things. Don't let them trip you up. Unfortunately many people let the little things count for too much. We both know when to choose our battles and because of this, we never battle. : )


Jordan said...

I love the post, I've learned lots of those things in my first year of marriage too!
I think it's about time to show us your wedding pictures, put them on or something so we can order them! It's been a year already! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are awesome! It took me 5 yrs of marriage to figure out all that....through a lot trial and error!!!! Ha! Way to go girl! You're headed for many, many years of a great marriage!!! I agree with everything you said- especially about putting hubbie for ESPECIALLY after a kid. It gets hard with every child! Its super hard for us to get together with 2.

Harrysjoy said...

You speak with a wisdom beyond your years. Your words will become invaluable as I begin to look toward the future. Looking forward to reading the continuation.

Erin said...

What a great post. You are so wise to be so young in your marriage! Marriage is TOUGH, but it is so worth it. You're right with all the things you said! I, too, have to remind myself about my words!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. You've brought up some great points. We need all the help with our marriages that we can get!