My sweet man and I are getting ready to celebrate 15 years of marriage in a few months. Yes, we were mere babes with barely a life lesson learned when we walked the aisle. Fortunately, we both said our vows with the intention of not only keeping them, but creating a marriage full of life and love. We didn't want a lukewarm marriage. We wanted one that was vibrant. Vitality requires work, but the benefits are worth it. Grant it, some years it took a lot more work than others.
There were times in our life (and I'm sure there are more to come) that we were just plain exhausted. Having 3 children 5 and under is enough to make anyone tired. Add a 4 month period of a bedridden husband and it's a recipe for disaster. Those are the moments that you just hang on. The decision we had to make before the storm came was whether we would cling to each other or allow the circumstances to sweep us away. We all have those times in our lives, and fortunately, they are the exception to the rule.
It's the daily living that really determines our marital character.
How are you doing on a daily basis? Are you making your marriage a priority? Are you a cheerful spouse or a complaining companion? Do you encourage more than you discourage?
I definitely have to give myself a check-up on these questions. I can fall into the trap of looking for the little nuances rather than celebrating the gift of life.
One of the greatest needs a man has is his need for respect. The way I speak to my husband, even when I disagree with him, must be respectful. It is not something that he must earn. I must choose to give it as a gift, expecting nothing in return. Hormones, frustration, and exhaustion are not justification to show disrespect. They are simply excuses to not show my love for him.
Have you ever been around someone who constantly berates her husband? Can you say awkward?! An interesting thing happens when this occurs. Her goal is to make him look bad, and in turn make herself look better, smarter, funnier, etc... When in fact, the opposite occurs. She is the one who looks the fool. I know 2 women who constantly belittle their husbands. Sometimes I just want to shout, "he's a good guy! Give him a break and ENJOY what you have!"
Before we go any further, I want to be clear about one thing. I know that many marriages come with a lot of baggage. I know that there can be years of pain and deep wounds that need to be healed. I'm not a marriage counselor, but I suggest you visit one. It's not something to be embarrassed about. If you are sick, you go see a doctor. The same principle applies. Get help.
My little blog entries about marriage are for the daily, baby steps it takes to reach the summit of a great marriage. I know it takes two to tango. You might be giving it all you've got, but you are feeling alone. That is valid, but you are not completely alone. The great Healer can mend even the broken hearted.
I want to encourage you today. Ask yourself this:
- Am I being the best spouse I can be?
- Am I making my marriage a priority?
- Am I respectful, loving and fun?
- What baby step can I take to get to the summit with a beautiful view?
Here is the question of the day (to answer in the comments):
What creative idea do you have that can be a baby step toward a vibrant, fun, fulfilling marriage? Just a baby step, we don't want a 12 step program. ;)