HER Five Things
Make-out make-up makes everything hunky dory
Go ahead and laugh. (Sorry to our parents if you’re reading that). David came up with this proverb years ago. It’s his way of saying, “Let’s kiss and make up.” There are times when all you want to do is scream at your spouse because they’re just not getting it, they’ve said something really hurtful, or they’ve pushed one too many of your buttons. When you find yourself in those situations, understand that your spouse may have a different need for calming down. For me, it’s space and silence in order to have time to think things through. For David, he needs to talk things out until the situation is resolved. When we find ourselves in arguments, we have to consciously decide to honor each other’s needs in processing and cooling down by finding a happy medium. We fail miserably sometimes, but when we respect the requirements of our spouse, we end up making up more quickly. No matter how awful an “intense moment of fellowship” (as our Sunday School Teacher and his wife call it) we’ve had, when we kiss and makeup, we pour healing and trust back into our relationship and remind each other that we’re in it for the long haul and that we still love and care intimately for each other as a spouse and are committed to having a great marriage.
When the going gets tough, stay put and remember you’re on the same team
We’ve had our share of tough moments throughout the last five years. Four moves, three wrecks, one layoff, one stray dog attack, grad school all-nighters, and more, we’ve learned that the most important thing to remember during those moments of conflict is that we are on the same team. It’s easy to get emotionally charged in the midst of trials, thus taking it out on the one we love the most. What each of us have been reminded of time and time again is that our spouse is not against us, but for us. We are on the same team. Each spouse has different perspectives and ideas to bring to the situations we are up against. Each point of view is worth hearing and considering. Why? Because teamwork makes the dream work. Teammates aren’t going to try to sabotage the game plan. No, teammates take what play is handed to them and work together to come out as winners.
Make it a point to always stay honeymooners
One thing that I have appreciated about my husband so much is that starting the week we got back from our honeymoon vacation, he would find moments to say, “Happy Honeymoon.” Well, five years have passed and we are still saying that to each other…whether it’s on a date at the movies, a road trip, sitting together at church, sitting in the car repair shop, or pushing the buggy around the grocery store. When we first got married, we heard this a lot, “Oh, just wait till the honeymoon’s over.” Why would people say that to a couple who has just promised to love each other in good times and bad till death they do part? That’s the most ominous, discouraging thing you could say to those with freshly said vows. We decided to stick it to those people and just not end our honeymoon.
We’re still on it. We still love each other like newlyweds and intend to until we are 103 or draw our last breaths…whichever comes first. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t come to discover the good, the bad, and the ugly about each other. It does mean that we are making an intentional choice to be madly in love with each other come what may till death do us part. So, yes, we are still making people sick by posting gushy comments on each other’s Facebook walls, trying to outdo each other with gifts and acts of service, and smoochin’, huggin’, and holdin’ hands like a couple of 16 year olds. The end of a honeymoon is a choice. We choose not to let it end.
Protect your marriage from over commitments.
I’m guilty of saying, “yes,” to people far more often than my husband is. I realized a long time ago that life is short and I want to experience it to the fullest. That was all well and good until I realized that my time didn’t just belong to me anymore. It was our time. Yes, we both have things that we need and want to do. But, when signing up for things, inviting people over, agreeing to take on leadership or occupational responsibilities, we have to consider our other half and how it will affect them. Experience a full life individually and as a couple, but protect your marriage from being weakened by saying, “yes,” to others more often than to your spouse.
Time is something we do not get back. Protect your marriage by preserving quality time for your spouse. If your marriage is struggling, the rest of your world is going to struggle and spiral out of control. Whatever ministry, goal, or job you may be striving to accomplish will suffer because you’re not able to give it your all as a result of feeling the pain of a marriage that is struggling after not having enough quality time poured into it. The time spent saying “no” a little more often to the rest of the world and “yes” a little more often to your spouse is worth the investment. The world will be better off if you’re able to remain focused rather than distracted by a marriage that craves one thing which trickles into many other things: time.
Get on the same page about finances as early as possible
I was in the “real world” of bringing home a paycheck from a full time job and paying bills for a couple years before we were married and my husband graduated from college. I had a great system going for me. When we got married, I felt the need to be persistent about carrying over that same system into our new joint account. He had different ideas, but because I was the more experienced one in that realm, we tried it my way. Well, it didn’t go as well as I had encountered as a bachelorette. Turns out, my inexperienced-in-the-real-world husband actually had much better financial ideas than I did. There’s a lesson in submission for ya! I was so stubborn that I missed out on his wisdom.
We also soon learned that as the adage goes: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. We now run from pyramid schemes, festival booths, and direct sales because we tasted them and none of them did anything for our finances except for drain us financially and physically while stealing our time which could have been invested in more profitable income endeavors. Also, really limit (or ideally get rid of) your credit card purchases to emergencies. If you make credit card purchases regularly with the intention of paying them off right away, that’s a great theory. But when a true emergency or an unexpected layoff comes, you are left with the necessity of charging some things once you have depleted your savings and are faced with more debt that has been piled on top of your pre-existing debt. It’s not pretty. Be wise: don’t spend what you don’t have and save, save, save.
Lastly, make it a priority to give back to God by tithing regularly. I’ll be honest. We have been in a couple situations where we were really limited in what we were able to give back to God. I, especially, have beat myself up over that. But one thing that has really helped me through that is remembering the story of the widow’s mite. She gave all she could even when she had very little. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t necessarily give 10%, be faithful to give what you can to the Lord as a tithe until you’re restored to the point where you can give 10% or even more. If you need to, ask forgiveness when you’ve blown it and been unfaithful to give back to Him. One thing my Granddaddy taught me is, “You can’t out give God.”
And One to Grow On…
Make stories with each other every day and embark on adventures any chance you get
One of the best parts of marriage is that you get someone to share your story with. Make it a great one. Not every day is going to be packed with wild adventures; but each day holds opportunities to experience a great life, even in the small things. Think of the love that is fueled by tag teaming to clean the house, the hearts that are blessed by bringing a meal to those going through a tough time, the spouse who is encouraged by the simple prayer over a shared meal with his or her love, the hair that is pulled back with tenderness while one gets sick, or the warm memories created by playing a round of cards. Those little things all add up to a great story. With that, seize the chance to go on adventures and even turn things into adventures. It can be as simple as an impromptu drive on the parkway, a walk around the neighborhood, or a search for an open restaurant on Christmas Eve. Or, it can be as elaborate as a missions trip to Africa, a quest for a specific antique, or a camping trip out west. Whether planned or received as a curveball, be intentional to live out adventures with each other. Be the Marian to his Indiana Jones.