"I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine."
-Song of Songs 6:3
March 5th will mark four years of marriage for me and my beloved...four years. This year, we will have spent ten years together. It seems like we've been married for much longer than just four years. Four years seems so short: the time it takes to go through high school, college, or to obtain a medical degree. It seems like a flash...a lot has happened in that short amount of time so maybe that is why.
In those four years, we have lived in five houses, that is one move every 9.6 months if you average it out. We have had one baby. We have had 4 different cars. We have changed in innumerable ways.
This probably sounds bad to say out loud, but I like to pretend I am amongst blogging friends...I often wonder what makes us work so well together? I mean on paper, we are COMPLETE opposites. I like to think and talk about world issues, relationships, feelings, emotions. He likes to discuss cars, helicopters, and home audio equipment. I like to cook with fancy ingredients and make things that are difficult to pronounce. He would be happy with a meal made from a box with a white glove on it or some frozen fish sticks. I like to explore towns, try new restaurants, check out small boutiques. He likes to stay home and work on projects around the house. I mean, really we are about as opposite as two people can be, but we work...and we work well.
I am by no means qualified to give marital advice, because well, I'll be the first to admit, I have a LONG way to go in becoming the perfect wife, but I did try to figure out some of our "rules" that make us work:
1.) God first. Family second. Everything else third. This of course is our ideal...in actuality, we find ourselves struggling to keep this order of things, but it is good to have that same goal that we are continuously working towards.
2.)There is no out. There is no get out of marriage free card: no divorce, no affairs, no checking out. We set this one from day one. Well, actually before day one. We are in it til the end so we have a choice, we can be miserable or we can be happy. We usually decide to be happy because miserable is no fun.
3.) Say it and then we can take it back later. This rule was created for my love as he sometimes will, how do I put this, insert his foot very far down his throat. So, we just live by the rule you can say whatever you are thinking at the moment and we can take it back after we think about it and realize it is not a true feeling or statement.
4.) You gotta laugh. Marriage is tough enough trying to get two completely opposite creatures to live in perfect harmony so you have got to add some humor. We spend most of our time laughing at or should I say "with" each other. I mean who else do I know that can successfully rearrange the dishes every single time they unload the dishwasher? I often struggle with answering the question, "Where does this go?" when helpful guests ask for guidance in putting away a dish. The answer is always, "It depends on who is unloading..."
5.) Figure out each others love language. Every couple must read or be familiar with The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is the only way this high gifts and quality time person could stay happily united with a high physical touch and words of affirmation guy.
6.) TALK! This is one of our biggest reason for success besides rule #1. I get shocked in the military when I meet a wife who doesn't know what squadron her husband is in or a wife who doesn't know about their spouse's coworkers. We talk about it all, from the moment he gets home, I get the run down of every funny story, every thing that went wrong, who he saw, what he said, and so forth. He has even gotten to the point of asking the new people he meets "questions for my wife" because he knows what I will ask (common girl questions: is he married? what is his wife's name? what does she do? do they have kids?). I think a HUGE part of our intimacy comes from this deep desire to know what is going on in each other's lives. He knows every crazy thing our child did, every emotional roller coaster I rode, and every fear I have. I know what he thinks about the people he interacts with, what is stressing him out and what he is wishing was over at every given moment. Talking is what truly keeps us connected when our schedules keep us far apart.
7.) Choose your battles. This has been a hard one for me. I like to be right. I like to prove I am right. I almost made a career out of being right and proving I was right. Then, I realized some times it really doesn't matter...it really isn't important who left the light on or who forgot to lock the door. There are important issues, ones that need both sides looked at, but most issues are not these types.
8.) Focus on what you love about the person. It is so easy to get wrapped up by the annoyances this man child (I use the term lovingly, of course) living in your house causes you: why he doesn't put on a new roll of toilet paper, the fact that he won't take the garbage out until you nag him at least five times or when he says that grocery shopping was your break for the day. Yes, those things can easily become the things your mind automatically think of when you think of your spouse. But, if you can look beyond them at the wonderful things about him like the fact no man could love or respect you like he does, that he is a Godly man who you never have to worry about in terms of his faithfulness and the way he loves and adores that little princess sleeping in the next room, then, the little annoyances seem to disappear altogether.
Honestly, I don't know what we did to make us work so well. The more I think about it, the more I realize it was very little of what we did at all and completely God's grace in putting two opposite creatures, who shared a love for Him, together in an amazing way. The reason we work is that together, we truly are one. The reason we are such opposites is that was the design, where I jut out, he concaves in so that we can fit completely together to create one, whole being. My weaknesses are his strengths and vice versa. He needs a help mate to remind him of things, to take care of the details. I need a protector and a provider. Together, we are the one God created us to be and I am so thankful for the past four years and the years we have in store for us.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Here's to my hubby....
Until next time,