In your life, sometimes you have to accept hard truths in order to grow. You have to overcome your anxieties, overcome your fears, reflect on yourself, and even listen to criticism or loving advice. When you accept these things, I believe you grow as a person and in your marriage. You are transformed and honestly, there are so many opportunities to grow in your marriage – you just have to look for them.
I write about marriage a lot, but I definitely don’t have all the answers or a cheat sheet on how to do it right. I have a lot to learn. I am not even a decade in yet, but I do know that God has laid it on my heart to share. He has laid it on my heart to trust him, share his truth, and I hope to become a better wife. If you are single, engaged, barely married or celebrating your 40th anniversary, I believe these truths could help your marriage right now. Sometimes we all need a little nudge or a little reminder in life.
Be purposeful in your marriage, romance doesn’t just happen.
Which, brings me to my first point – be purposeful in your marriage. Romance doesn’t happen on it’s own, and thoughtful service takes action. It takes time and thought to romance your spouse. You must take time to plan date nights, give thought in writing love notes, and plan ahead getting their favorite late night snack. It takes intentionality. You learn what your spouse loves, and you romance them. While theses things tend to fade as time goes on, they don’t have to.
Placing unrealistic expectations on your marriage sets you up for failure.
Expectations will get you every time. When I talk about this, I always relate it to the beginning of our marriage. When Kevin worked in sales, his hours were unpredictable to say the least. I remember countless times where we would have plans, I would spend time getting ready and dressing up, only to get a disappointing phone call that he wouldn’t be able to make it. He didn’t do it on purpose, it wasn’t his fault, but plans changed. But for some reason, the fact that I had an expectation, I put time into something and then it didn’t happen – always upset me the most.
Its the same in marriage. You come into marriage with expectations whether you realize it or not. Yours might be small like you expect your husband to take out the trash, or you expect your husband to help with chores. Or, they might be larger like you expect your husband to be romantic 80% of the time and go on fancy dates. Either way, expectations can kill a marriage. Somewhere along the way, you have unintentionally formed certain ideas of how your spouse should act and treat you or what your marriage should look like as a whole. This may come from watching your parents marriage, or movies. It can also come from observing other couples in your life and even through social media.
Be aware of expectations and communicate through them. For example, I know that Kevin enjoys a freshly made bed and his towel hanging in certain spot. These are small things, but expectations. I expect the trash to be taken out and to have time to talk about my day. We were together over 5 years before we got married and we didn’t know these things about each other until we were married. We learned them, we communicate about them and we are better for it.
Prayer is not a Plan B.
Praying for your spouse, praying for your marriage and praying with your spouse is NOT AN OPTION. It is not a PLAN B. Is NOT for last resorts or just for hard times. It is for the everyday. Prayer is one of the most intimate and most amazing things you can do in your marriage! You and your husband are bearing your souls before the Lord. It is extremely vulnerable, extremely intimate and extremely important. You can probably tell that I am VERY passionate about this. Prayer can move mountains in your marriage. It heals broken marriages. It comforts in the darkest hours. It restores. It heals. I have seen so much grace. I have seen a glimpse of Jesus. If you aren’t sure where to start >> Start here.
You will hurt each other.
This is a hard one. No marriage is perfect. No person is perfect. When two imperfect people make a commitment and say for better or for worse… some worse is going to happen. But, the fact that you do hurt your spouse is a sign of how much you care about their opinion and them. Don’t get me wrong … there shouldn’t be constant screaming matches physical hurt. But, your husband may forget your love language or even your anniversary. And, wives may be disrespectful at times or hurt their husbands feelings. When you are hurt, this is where prayer and communication come in. Go to the Lord in prayer about how you should discuss it from a place of love and then communicate kindly.
Remember that YOUR sin is greater.
Yes, YOUR SIN IS GREATER > This is probably the hardest truth to accept. The bible clearly states in Matthew that “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
I admit that it is easier to look past the log in my own eye in marriage than the speck in his, especially during arguments. Its so easy to see how you are hurt instead of how you have hurt. My granny once told me, “it always takes two in marriage”. It takes two to build up a marriage and it takes two tear down a marriage.
Are you building or tearing down? Are you willing to work on hard truths in your marriage? Are you willing to let God do a work in you and your marriage?