Dear My Future Self,
I’ve learned that marriage is no cake walk. Is it the most beautiful & rewarding thing that God ever designed? Yes. Does the enemy want things to work out as God intended them to? He definitely doesn’t. So he attacks.
Having a baby was a strain on our marriage, but it thankfully didn’t last long. God has been teaching us a lot & I want to keep a record of it for the future, when we will need reminders of what we’ve learned & what helped us.
KEEPING A MARRIAGE ALIVE (heck, not just alive.. but spicy. thriving. passionate. fulfilling..)
Let’s just be shameless & get this one out of the way. Yes, I obviously mean what comes to everyone’s mind first:
As a new mom, I was exhausted. I had my to-do lists. I leaned on my emotions. In order for romance to happen, I ideally preferred a perfect fairy tale spiel of words of affirmation & sweet caresses. But, I learned that sometimes my husband loves when I initiate, take charge, & compliment him too! Sometimes I needed to just (mentally) add ‘intimacy’ into my to-do list to make it happen. It had to be a priority.
Intimacy made us closer & connected emotionally. As a result, it was easier for me to sincerely respect & submit to him. And it was easier for him to romance me with words of affirmation or actions that made me feel loved.
Yes, sex is amazing. BUT the physical goes way beyond only that – hugging, running his fingers through my hair, caressing/scratching each others backs during movies, holding hands while driving or walking around. Why don’t we do more of that?! Why not copy those cute old couples that we say we want to be like someday & be sweet like that NOW.
At times, it takes a step of being intentional to make it happen because we know it’s good for us as a couple. And after that initial step?? The ball starts rolling, emotions start flowing & we’re reminded why all forms of staying physical with each other are soooo important. And enjoyable. I mean, parking somewhere & making out like it’s nobody’s business never hurt anybody.. & neither did this:
RESPECT & LOVE
“How beautiful you are, my love!, how perfect you are”. Song of Solomon 4:7
‘.. her husband praises her. He says “many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all'”. Proverbs 31:28-29
I have an easier time showing respect to my man when he shows love & appreciation to me. Why is that?
“Husbands, love your wives & do not be harsh with them”. Colossians 3:19
In our marriage, I struggle with being too blunt. I’ve learned, the hard way, that my husband feels most disrespected when I yell & say things out of my spur of the moment emotions. Not only am I disrespecting him, I’m also sinning. Then on top of sinning, I defend my sin. Awesome. Example:
“Well, if you wouldn’t have made me feel that way, I wouldn’t have yelled at you!!”
Instead of asking for forgiveness, I shift the blame to my husband. I don’t own up to the fact that I said hurtful things. Whenever either he or I defend our sin instead of submitting to the Spirit’s conviction and asking the other for forgiveness (no matter how big or small the sin) we are choosing to sabotage our marriage. My favorite real-life example I’ve read about this topic is “Defending Sin, Eroding Marriage”, click here. And a compilation of examples/verses that my man likes about what a Godly husband looks like is here.
COMMUNICATE. seriously.. for the love.. start talking more.
We have to stay honest, blunt & transparent with each other. When I’m not feeling connected or on the same team as my hubs, it helps him when I voice it:
“Babe, I’m struggling.. I feel like we’re disconnected & I don’t like it. What do you think we could do to change that?” or
“How much do you love me?”
He then realizes I need more encouragement or affirmation & he gladly gives it. Or we talk & work through whatever issue is standing in our way. (Warning to myself: Make sure my bluntness doesn’t turn into speaking before thinking or communicating out of emotion, bitterness or anger).
“.. let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19
Like out loud.. holding hands.. shamelessly sharing our fears, hurts & dreams before the Lord. Make it happen. And then prepare for your worlds to be rocked & your marriage to be blessed.