Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Things I've Learned After 5 Months Married

Reposted from FaithVillage. See original post here.

To some, my husband and I have been married for only five months. To my husband and me, we say, “Wow! It’s already been five months!”

Before our midsummer wedding, which, by the way, sparkled with hundreds of candles, bedazzled flowers and pink glitter, my husband and I dated for five years. Enduring high school, college and post-graduation still standing beside one another, I felt pretty confident I was ahead of the game in the “married world.” I thought I knew everything about my husband – what foods he liked, what made him happy, what made him tick, which teams he roots for, how he likes to eat popcorn every night after dinner… But what I didn’t realize was that after our fairytale wedding ended, I’d begun the real journey to discovering him.

Now after five months of marriage, we’ve bought a house, totally renovated it, and officially joined a couples’ life group at our church. More importantly, after five months of marriage, God has weighted five big concepts about loving relationships on my heart. While there are many, many things I’ve yet to learn, I believe these concepts are continuing to shape me into the wife God wants me to be for my husband.

1. Enjoy each other’s passions together.

“Why does everything you want to do involve either hunting, mud or danger?”  I often ask my husband.

It’s rare for people who have nothing in common to have successful marriages. Yet, that doesn’t mean good marriages involve both parties having exactly the same passions. Despite my initial hesitation to many of the deer lease invitations I’ve received from my husband I’m learning when I spend quality time doing the things he loves, and doing them with a joyful attitude, he expresses his love for me even more. With compromise and humility, God softens both our hearts and makes us more sensitive to each other’s needs.

2. Listen, talk, listen, listen, talk, listen, listen…

One of my biggest struggles is containing the nagging scream in my throat when my husband looks past my moving lips and towards the 60-inch plasma screen behind me.
Men need side-by-side time, and women need eye-to-eye time. Our life group leader shared this little jewel of information with us, and it couldn’t be more spot-on.

 “Eye contact, Hunny,” I say as I force a smile through gritted teeth and gently punch his shoulder.

Both spouses need to actively listen and invite one another to talk. When my husband asks me how I’m feeling or what I think about something, it makes me feel valued and appreciated. I’ve learned that when I listen to him and engage in conversations more on his timing, he feels honored and respected. Communication is huge in relationships – especially successful marriages.

3. Purposefully protect your relationship.

One of the most important tips we took from premarital counseling was to discuss our family’s priorities, values and dreams. It seems so simple but involves serious decision-making.

First of all, we chose to put God first. That means we have to constantly be evaluating whom we hang out with, which movies we watch, where we go, and many other components of our life that sometimes have to change. We plan on spending time together and promise to be faithful to each other in every aspect of our life. We respect each other’s concerns about friends and/or coworkers. We make decisions together and hold each other accountable.

4. Pray together all the time.

Prayer is easily the best way for me to begin the day. It’s how I communicate with God, and if I start the day off that way, then I’m set. Prayer is also the best way to end a fight.

When we were in college (so less than a year ago), our arguments could last for days – you know, the kind that go on because you may have forgotten what you’re mad about, but you know you’re right, so you don’t want to give in?

Now I’ve learned that no matter what you’re fighting about, if your first reaction is to pray, it’s like throwing a big bucket of water on fire. The more we pray together, the more intimate we become. There’s nothing more attractive to me than seeing my husband vulnerably humble himself to the Lord and lead me in prayer.

5. Become his best servant.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned after five months of marriage is that God calls me to be His servant and also my husband’s. I first felt convicted of being selfish in our relationship, when I found myself tattle-telling on Micah to God. I’d cry in the bathroom, watching my pitiful self sob in the mirror, and wait for God to make my husband apologize. Now, it’s definitely a process. I get the urge every now and then to return to my restroom refuge when we argue, but I’m learning to have a servant’s heart – that God’s way for my husband is far better than my own. 

I’m reminded that marriage is the reflection of the holy union between Jesus and the church. Taking that to heart, I naturally want to be the best wife possible. However, my efforts to do so sometimes lead me to be nagging or controlling.

But God is good. He continues to open my spiritual eyes to His desires for me as a wife. Having a servant’s heart is more than just cooking and cleaning and planning. It’s putting your spouse ahead of you in reverence to the Lord, and ultimately, it means trusting God. 

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