Seven pieces of advice (that I am not qualified to give considering I’ve only been married for seven years: however, I think it’ll be interesting, so I’m going to do it anyway) on how to enjoy marriage (at least my marriage with my husband).
After seven years of marriage I have learned some things. I don’t always apply what I’ve learned, but for the sake of this post (and my overall well being) let’s all assume that I practice what I preach and I never, ever roll my eyes at where my husband put the cheese grater when he emptied the dishwasher.
1.Use common courtesy: Put your phone down and look at each other. If you are the first person home, open the door for your spouse when they get home. It is a polite way to greet the person you’ve pledged your life to; plus, it really is embarrassing to be shown up by the dog.
2. Marriage is not about dirty dishes, a mowed lawn, folded laundry, or a Pinterest-ingly decorated home. Sometimes, especially to me, it feels like these arbitrary elements are barometers of a “good relationship”, but they aren’t. I do not allow dishes or laundry to affect my relationship with anyone else; I have never said, “I am moody and irritated because you left your dishes in the sink for two days”; therefore, this is probably not a rational way to evaluate whether my husband loves me, appreciates my efforts, or regrets marrying me. Don’t keep score. It doesn’t matter how many times you did X and he did Y. All that matters is that X + Y = US (and that’s the extent of my mathematical ability).
3. If you have children, understand that the majority of what you say (yell) to each other in the first four months post-birth cannot be taken seriously, nor do either of you mean it. You will have heinous conversations that revolve around poop, lost sleep, and genuine anger and thoughts of regret. While this is 100% typical of new parents, this is not who you are. Try to remember who you were before an 8 pound tyrant started to Guantanamo your relationship. Eventually these moments, and memories, will fade and you’ll just remember new parenthood as a rosy-hazed period in your marriage set to the sound track of your child crying (or maybe it was you crying… honestly, it was probably both of you).
4. Accept that marrying someone also means marrying their family. In this same thought, love your in-laws; yes, of course they are crazy, but so is your own family. And if we’re being honest, everyone is—just accept the crazy so you can appreciate the wonderful too. Crazy breeds wonderful.
5. Just like a cooperation, marriage works best by identifying and recognizing your specialty. My husband’s specialty is finances, house repair, and forcing me to try food I don’t want to eat. My specialty is cooking, organizing/ operating our home, and family relationships and interactions (ie: arranging all outside interaction). While we may dabble in each other’s expertise, for example once a month my husband explains where our money is and why I can’t get a $600.00 vacuum and sometimes my husband will buy a birthday gift, typically we stay within our own departments. And it works. My husband cares far more about the HDMI ability and pixels on our television than I do (I don’t even know if I used those words right), and he has no interest whatsoever in cumin. Divide and conquer.
6. You are going to argue, you may even fight (you will, I was being sarcastic). As long as you forgive too, it’ll be fine. And you know that cliché about never going to bed angry, that is stupid. Go to bed, you’ll be smarter and calmer in the morning.
7. Pray. Pray together, pray for each other, pray about each other. Just pray. Beyond drawing our marriage closer together and closer to Jesus, prayer softens my heart toward my husband.
That’s what I’ve come up with so far.
Also, a PS to my husband:
Sweetheart, you are my heart. Being your wife makes me a better person every day. I love you far beyond the actions of our daily life and I am grateful that we have a life time together.