Marriage is quite an adventure. When you say “I do,” you have a timeline in mind of how your marriage and relationship will go. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your marriage is to say goodbye to your own timelines and hello to letting God lead the way.
Here are a few of the many lessons I have learned since I wed my best friend ten years ago:
- You will have moments of frustration – it’s all part of the process. Your partner might snore, clog the toilet, leave an empty toilet paper roll, or they might wash the delicate laundry with the towels. You will work through the little kinks and realize that the little things are not worth letting fester and are not worth fighting over. Take a deep breath, friend.
- You must make a conscious effort to keep dating even after you say “I do.” One day you might look at your calendar and realize it’s been six months or a year since your last real date with your spouse. It’s those moments of realization that leave you awestruck and your insides screaming, “That makes sense, I feel it.” There is nothing like getting away from the demands of the home, the mounting stressors, the endless piles of laundry and work emails, and dodging the mountains of toys from the kids to spend quality time with your spouse. While you’re at it, go ahead and slip on that cute little red dress and some heels for your man when you go on a date. Your marriage is worth it!
- His dreams will change, and yours will too. When I married my husband at 19 years old, he didn’t really know what his passion was yet. Now, 10 years later, he is a career Firefighter/Paramedic who sacrifices nights at home with his young babies to restart hearts and run into burning buildings. I never imagined this life for us; however, it is one that has drawn us closer together because we have learned the value of quality time together. When we got married, I had big dreams for my career. Little did I know that my dreams would evolve into being a full-time boo-boo kisser, story-reader, crushed cheerio vacuumer, toddler snack maker, and vomit cleaner-upper for our little kids. Marriage is a beautiful story of watching your lives and dreams evolve and change together. Support one another.
- Never threaten divorce. Early on in our marriage, after experiencing a miscarriage and some other emotional and spiritual battles, we said divorce during a time where we let our anger get the best of us. It took a long time to rebuild that trust and refocus our marriage eyes on Jesus. Pause, pray, talk to a Pastor/Counselor – don’t threaten divorce.
- I need lots of improvement. Marriage has shown me that I had a lot of emotional and spiritual holes that needed to be filled. I still do. Marriage has shown me that I can’t let my anger and insecurities in the pilot’s seat of my emotions – we need Jesus to steer.
- There’s nothing like coming home to your best friend every night. And now that he’s a fireman who works 24+ hour shifts, there is nothing like his return home from a shift. It feels like Christmas morning every time. Just knowing he’s safe makes my heart so thankful. Make it special when your spouse returns home. Let home be your safe place – a place to make memories and let your love blossom.
- When you have kids, you learn that time together really is beautiful and rare. We are in the parenting phase where our conversations are almost always interrupted by toddler questions, “please come wipe me” screams from the bathroom or a little whimpering baby, extending her arms and begging to be held by one of us. Dates are rare for us right now, so we try to treasure and make the most of the hour or two we have once the kids finally lay down and don’t need a glass of water or to be rocked again.
Marriage is not an easy journey, by any means; but it is the journey of a lifetime.
The memories and love can extend further and higher than Mount Everest – if you are willing to say goodbye to your pride, let your dreams take root together, and occasionally take time away from the toddler booger-wiping and story-reading to spend quality time together.