Wednesday, July 24, 2013

{finally} the conclusion of 14 ways to stay married

I have been trying so hard to get this post up all week long.

Summer just seems to swallow up our plans. And that's good, it really is. But we've been doing and going and floating the river and trying to escape the heat. It's been a full month. 

Also, we got a new dog. Enough said.

So yes, I've been busy. But right now at this very moment, the three kids are playing spy games outside in the oppressive heat (how they do that I'll never know) and the dogs are snoozing. And the house, she is quiet. I realize that if this post doesn't go up now it might never go up. 



So here we have the last of the 14 things I've learned in our 14 years of marriage. 


Sometimes, go to bed angry

There is absolutely no value in fighting all night long. Of course, as a married couple, if you’re furious over something, it’s good to calm down and deal with those emotions. But sometimes it’s okay to abide by the ten o’clock rule. In our house, we decided not to have any “discussions” after 10 pm. Sometimes even 9 pm. We do this because we’re usually tired and ready to put the day to bed. If something comes up we agree to disagree, acknowledge that we still love each other and then turn out the lights. In the morning cooler heads always prevail. And often, a good night’s sleep helps to put the proper perspective on what ever the issue was, making it maybe not so much of a big deal. 

Love and Respect

Women need love. Men need respect. There’s a reason that the Bible commands husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands, it’s because God knew that those are things we desperately need. Woman want to know that they are loved, romanced even. And men need to know that they have what it takes as a man, and that their woman respects them. It’s a big deal. So this is where we wives make a choice to not be so nagging. We let men do things their way, out of respect for who they are. We allow them to be who God made them to be, and in return they love us the way we need. When this is done right in a marriage it’s a beautiful thing.

Ignore the socks

Or the drawers that she never closes. Or the pile that always fills up the extra space on the kitchen counter. Or whatever it is that your spouse does that drives you batty. Life is too short to nag your husband over how often he leaves his socks on the floor halfway up the stairs. Even if it happens daily. Maybe instead, we can pick them up and take them to their proper place and pray a prayer of gratitude that our spouse is around to leave those messes out. And before you get too huffy about things, maybe it might be good to think about the things you do that might get under your spouse’s skin. I know I get frustrated at the socks, but I also am really good at leaving piles of books out.-all over the house. And I also hate to make phone calls and forget to turn the curling iron off. But my husband deals with these things gracefully and with patience. He deserves the same from me. Let the petty stuff slide. If we spend too much time focusing on the negatives we will never see the positives. And what’s the fun in that? It just makes us a negative, grumpy people.

Pre-forgive

There will be times in your marriage that you will do things that hurt your spouse. Or make them angry. This is a true fact. I think it’s impossible to live in community with someone without little, or even big, disagreements coming up. Make a choice to pre forgive your husband or wife. Even if your furious or wounded over something, you still love each other. And that’s what really matters. It’s about extending grace and patience and kindness towards your partner. And I can’t think of this without thinking of how God still tirelessly loves me, even when I make the same silly mistakes over and over again. He forgives me and then he forgets. Can’t we do the same for our spouse?

Don’t take yourself too seriously

And finally, lighten up. Live a life that allows for rest and play and rejuvenation; together, individually, and as a family. When you are well balanced in this area, or as balanced as one can be, you’ll be better equipped to handle the big things when they come. And they will come. But in the meantime? Play a little. Laugh together. Let the little things go. And, over all of it, remember why you said yes to each other in the first place.  


Catch up on the first two posts here and here.

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