Our marriage turns 12 this Sunday. And though I totally expect to look back on this post in future years and laugh at how much I thought I knew, I'm going to risk sharing some things that I feel the hubby and I have learned in our small twelve together. And yes, you are welcome to laugh too. I won't mind. You could even leave some real marriage wisdom in the comments if you'd like.
#2. Sex does not have to be the best ever every time. Sex can happen in any mood, in any physical state (head aches are really meaningless when it comes to this), and in any emotional state. Intimacy is magic and magic is mysterious and supernatural.
#3. Agreeing is important. The hubby and I are very blessed to agree on a lot of things. We are spoiled really. For the most part we agree on which movies to watch, what team to root for, how to discipline the kids, and what theological standpoint is most likely Biblical. We agree on most things but not everything! I really do not like war movies (sorry, dear) and the poor hubby couldn't eat meatless every night. I think it has been important that we agree on lots of things, but there is room for disagreement as well. This one is really not easy for us. I still can't understand why he doesn't like Shakespeare all that much and he just doesn't get the fact that mountain biking sounds like a peculiar kind of torture to me. And that's ok. We have lots of "agrees" to fall back on.
#4. Our relationship will grow if we nurture it. Such a simple principle! If we give it time and energy and thought and even a little money sometimes (showing that we think it's important), our relationship will grow and mature. It takes prayer and prayer and more prayer and lots of Time with a capital T.
#5. Media needs to be managed. This is a funny part of marriage these days--so much communication could end up via text, instant message and email. So much time could be spent "together" with computers open or with the tv on. I'm not saying any of this is bad! It is great to communicate and being able to send a quick text or IM to a busy husband can be a huge blessing. It just needs to be managed. Don't forget that face time (and I don't mean on your phone) counts infinitely more towards the nurturing of your marriage.
#6. The "Daily" part of marriage is meaningful. Our daily habits together matter. This is another place where the hubby and I are very blessed. He has the kind of job that starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon/evening of each week day. Some don't have that luxury and the Daily gets a bit harder. But for us the Daily means little things like--he doesn't leave without giving me a kiss. I wave to him from the window as he leaves. I (try my best to) give him time to acclimate when he walks through the door, after work, and he plays with the kids if I need to have a few minutes in the evening. I know the Daily looks different for each marriage, but it's something worth thinking about.
#7. Our children are an integral part of this marriage, but their place is not between the hubby and me. Again: spoiled. We are truly spoiled to have had two kids who were naturally independent before we had our more dependent one. So, rules like, "no kids in bed" were super easy to keep because no kid has ever even asked to get in bed with us! I also get to sit beside the hubby at the dinner table and on the church pew just because. We love our kids so much! But our message to them is clear: our marriage is important to us, and we really do like to be close to one another.
#8. Respect is absolutely essential. If there is any area where I do not respect him or he does not respect me there will be conflict in that area. And there is no way for us to change our opinion of the other (whether our opinion is based on fact or fallacy) without the help of the Holy Spirit. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to give me respect for my spouse in every way.
#9. Studying your spouse is a really good idea. What is that passion about? Where does this desire come from? What is important to my spouse? How can I pray for that issue? When I ask questions and really listen to answers, I understand my husband so much better (of course!). And I love and respect him more as an added bonus.
#10. The more we have fun, the more we have fun. Do you know what I mean? If we allow ourselves grace to have fun doing something that is easy (say watching a tv show on Netflix from first season to last in a matter of months) then the things that are a bit more difficult (say cleaning up from dinner or filling out adoption paperwork) are a little bit easier and more fun as well. I don't know why, but it's true. And can I just say, my husband is superb at having fun. Without him, I would be a serious sourpuss most of the time. He can laugh and joke and show funny videos and get excited about sports and be silly with our kids in such an amazing way!
So there you have it. Pretty obvious stuff, I guess. Or maybe just beginner marriage stuff, but we knew so little when we got married, it feels like we've come a long way. I pray blessings for each of your marriages, and happy anniversary to my dear Beloved!