Monday, September 7, 2009

Married with Children(or without......whatever)

Chad and I are coming up on our 8 year anniversary in a few weeks. Sometimes it's hard to believe that we've been married that long. I do realize that 8 years isn't all that long in comparison to our parents and grandparents, but it's longer than some of our friends and acquaintances have made it. How do we do it? I'll give you the rundown. I'm not a marriage expert by any means, so please don't think of this as an authority or commentary. It's just what works for us, and we both consider ourselves happy and content in our marriage.

  • Christ. By far the single most important thing any marriage has to have to achieve longevity. We wouldn't still be together if it wasn't for the grace of God working in our individual and married lives. You must put God before each other and your children. His will and plan is supreme and far superior to ours. We must bend and submit to Him to be able to bend and submit(dreaded word for women, trust me I know) to each other.
  • Communication. You gotta talk to each other about everything. And I think, and this is just my opinion, you gotta do it right then, or as soon as it's appropriate. You can't let things fester. Have you ever gotten a splinter? What happens if you don't get out the splinter? It gets infected and all red and pus filled. Gross. That's what happens when you don't communicate with each other. You get a pus filled, oozing, red, infected splinter out of something that really wasn't that big of a deal to begin with. Deal with it, get it over with and move on. Life's too short to let nothing become something.
  • Nothing or Something? And on that same note, you have to decide if whatever is irking you is really important or not. Toilet lid up or down, probably not important or worth a fight. Same thing with socks/books/Dt. SunDrop bottles(that last one might just be our issue) laying on the floor. However, there are some issues that have to be addressed, and generally you know what those are.
  • Date Night. Whether you have kids or not ya still gotta date each other. It can be as extravagant or as simple as your finances allow. We've been known to sit at home and watch a movie on a date night, and nothing more. Our personal favorite is to go to the movies. That's what we did most when we were dating, so we try to relive that romance a little.
  • Laughter. You gotta laugh. First and foremost at yourself, then you can laugh at/with each other. Learn to take and give a good joke.
  • Friends/Hobbies. You gotta have them. I read and surf the Internet. Chad rides horses and hunts. Here's the thing about both friends and hobbies. Use and enjoy them in strict moderation. They should never ever become more important or more prominent than your spouse. Boundaries folks. Even babies want them, so we gotta keep setting them for ourselves as adults.
  • Respect. Mutual and equal respect. No one should ever measure up to your spouse. They should be the coolest, best looking, hardest working, etc. person you know. If there's ever a shift in your mind about that, you gotta check up immediately. Figure out why and fix it. If not, it's a recipe for disaster. When we start having frequent negative feelings about our mate, then we're headed for a marital cliff with sharp pointy daggers at the bottom.
  • Learn to say I'm sorry. Do I feel like I'm the one that always says "I'm Sorry"? Of course, but Chad feels the same way I do. I had to apologize last night for being a total emotional wreck. It's part of pregnancy and I couldn't really do anything about the reason I got upset at him, but neither could he. Chad doesn't understand being pregnant and the horrible moans(hormones) that go along with it. He doesn't deserve all my wrath for not understanding.
  • Learn to accept an apology. This is a HUGE weakness of mine. When Chad apologizes, I never seem to believe he's doing it from the heart. I always question his motives. That's unfair. His motives are between him and God. My responsibility is to forgive and move on. Don't bring it up anymore. Let sleeping dogs lie. Don't beat a dead horse.
  • Pull your weight. Whatever your work situation is, do your part. I work a public job. There are many reasons for this. I love what I do, and it's the right decision for our family. It's not right for everyone, and that's fine as long as both parties are in mutual agreement. Because I work and have a sorta set schedule, Chad has to do more around the house. His schedule is much more flexible than mine. He picks up Clayton more than I do, and does the laundry, and mops the floors, and a whole lot more. That's part of it. If I was a SAHM(stay at home mom) he wouldn't have to do as many of these things, but our total dynamic would shift. I'm just saying figure out what works for both of you and stick to it. If you need extra help here or there that's fine, but remember that it takes BOTH of you to keep the house and marriage together. Work together, and you'll actually enjoy more free time.
  • Say Thank You.............A LOT!!! Just be grateful for what the other person does. When Chad carries the heavy stuff I'm thankful because I don't have to. If I tell him thank you, he's more likely to do it again. If it goes unnoticed, then he's less likely. Is it childish to have to be thankful for the itty bitty things? Maybe, but who cares. We all want to be noticed by our spouse. I want to be noticed when I cook a decent dinner(don't laugh it happens every now and then), and Chad usually doesn't disappoint. He's thankful for the meal, and it makes me want to do it again.
It's not an exhaustive list by any means, and it's just a few things that work for us. I absolutely love being married. But, besides being a parent, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Our marriages take constant efforts to stay healthy. You can't drop the ball ever. Stay on top of it. It's worth it.


Jen S. said...

What awesome words to live by--thanks for sharing. Our Anniversary is's been 13years and I couldn't be happier :)
Again...thanks for sharing! Love your post!
~Jen S.

Jamie Lynn said...

If you re-read that, you will know why you guys are my "model" couple that I would like to be like:)
I love you guys!!

Abby said...

this is some great advice! thanks for sharing it.