What Marriage Has Taught Me

wedding rings

In two weeks, my husband and I will be enter into our 8th year of marriage. As I reflect on who we were then and now, there’s a lot that has changed, a lot we’ve learned and plenty we’re still learning. For me I saw marriage as the opportunity to finally leave my parents’ house, do life with the one I love and figure out what God had planned for us together as a couple. I knew marriage would be hard work, but I couldn’t wait to be a wife and discover new things in life with my husband by my side. The thing is you really don’t know what it’ll be like until you’re in it. You can imagine all the possibilities and amazing moments you’ll have together, but we rarely think about what it would be like when things get tough. There’s lots of joy in marriage, but it’s also a daily act of working on us, never giving up no matter how hard things become and choosing to love one another daily. Here are some of the things I’ve learned in the last 7 years.

  1. God first, then each other

Without God there would be no “us”. We aren’t strong enough on our own. Having a personal relationship with God and ensuring Jesus is the center of your marriage helps keep you focused on what’s important, therefore He should be first in your life. You only have one spouse and that spouse comes before all other family, your job and any hobbies. Anything you allow to get in the way of that can really affect your relationship. It usually begins in a subtle way before realizing it’s a problem and by then it’s bigger than you expected. Always be aware and don’t let anyone or thing cause division.  

  1. It takes two

If you want to be successful in your marriage, then both must be willing to work at it, each giving 100%. One person can’t be expected to do it all. Make sure you build together. When things get tough, are you willing to fight together and work things out no matter how long it takes, or are you willing to give up? When one person is struggling, are you there to lift that person up daily until they become stronger and vice versa? Both must be willing to give. The giving of your time, support and love. Remember that you’re a team.

  • Everyone’s marriage is different

One of the worst things you could do to your marriage or your spouse is to compare yourselves to others. Every marriage and person within the marriage is different. You don’t know the truth about what someone else deals with or what they’ve gone through in order to get to the point they’ve reached in their relationship. It’s ok to look up to a married couple because they represent themselves in a positive way or accept advice from those more experienced in certain situations. However, the end goal is not to become like them, but rather use their example as a means of encouragement and a guide to work on your own relationship. Work out what you and your spouse need in order to make your marriage a healthier and stronger one.

  • Know each other’s love language.

This is something I didn’t really think about until this past year. Understanding how your spouse receives love is so important. Sometimes we want to show love or affection the way we feel it should be given yet our spouse my not think or feel that why. My love language is different from my spouse and that’s ok. Knowing this helps us to better show our affection towards one another in different ways that make the other feel loved and connected.

  • Communication

We always hear about how communication is so important, but it’s so easy to fall short of this. Communication or lack thereof can build or break the marriage. Seeing things from their prospective will develop how you understand one another. You are too different people, with two different backgrounds therefore sometimes how you express yourself or perceive things will be different from how your spouse does. Part of this has to do with truly listening to what your spouse is saying. After a few years we realized communication was something we weren’t doing as well as we thought we were. The important thing is to recognize it, figure out why and work on a game plan to better improve in this area. This allows us to be the partner that our spouse really needs.

  • Honesty and trust

Honesty and trust go hand in hand. When I speak about these two things, I’m not talking about being faithful and not lying to one another, which is extremely important. What I do want to focus on is being honest about your feelings or what’s on your mind. This relates a lot with communication. We should feel comfortable sharing with our spouse anything we’re going through or thinking without feeling judged or condemned. As a spouse, if you hear something you don’t like, you don’t agree with or maybe you spouse has a crazy idea, take the time to think for a moment and not overreact. Trust me, this isn’t always easy, but this can cause your spouse not to trust you and your reactions, therefore preventing them from being truly honest with you regardless of how small or big it may be. Creating an environment of openness will eventually strengthen the trust between the two of you to the point where your spouse won’t be nervous to come to you and share what’s on their mind, in their heart or when they mess up.

  • Be accepting of your differences

Marriage is two different people who come together and compliment one another in all aspects of life. Where one is weaker the other is their strength. There are things that each of us as individuals have been gifted with, that our spouse was not, therefore we should be able to complement and support one another in the things we are good at. Spouses can grow and develop to be a better version of themselves for their partner, but don’t try to make them a version of yourself or someone else. When we do this, we’re tearing that person down and making them feel less valued.

  • The power of the tongue

Did you know that the bible talks about how powerful our words are? Proverbs 15:4 (NLT) says “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) says “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.” During arguments, there are times when things are said which can make matters worse. Whether we mean them, or we’re caught up in the heat of the moment, we can really hurt our spouse with the things we say or how we say them. Arguments aren’t the only area. If a spouse constantly speaks against their partner for not living up expectations, without allowing them the opportunity to mess up and grow along the way, there’s pain that follows. The words we say can either tear down our spouse and make them feel like they will never be good enough. Or, it can build them up and encourage them to believe they can do anything, even if they mess up a long the way. Be each other’s cheerleader in everything, allowing one another to grow. Let your words bring life.

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