In honor of my ten year wedding anniversary coming up on February 14th, I am sharing ten personal reflections on marriage.
These may read as lessons learned on my marital journey thus far or gender neutral tips for experiencing lifelong love and intimacy in your relationship.
First thing’s first. You must love and respect yourself before you can offer love and respect to a life partner. Live life responsibly. Have self-control. Reclaim your life and get the victory over unhealthy habits, negative people, and vices.
Lesson two. Patience is fundamental. Each person brings his/her own supply of insecurities, mistakes, or past traumas into a marital union. The realization that one is operating on a past hurt requires healing time. It can take months, years, or even half a lifetime for your spouse to overcome and heal from past issues. One may even transgress or become all out confused as a result of stuff that has happened in the past. Your mate’s journey to a better him/her is not a quick fix. Can you wait without complaint?
Lesson three. Needs must be addressed. We are never without need. Realize that, like our children, adults also need different things at different times (i.e. intimacy vs. socialization, motivation vs. chillaxation and so on). When two people come together to live life combined, basic human needs can clash. Even if you are good at communicating need, it could still result in tension or straight up conflict. Don’t let contrasting needs turn you into enemies. Understand how need works and know that meeting your partner’s need is almost always an act of sacrificial love. How loving can you be?
Lesson four. Maintain a sense of humor and a bright outlook no matter how difficult life can get. If you’re serious-natured like me, be intentional when it comes to letting loose and having fun. In marriage, there are certainly times for critical conversation and there are also times that require silliness. So tell lots of jokes, dance, and share crazy videos with one another.
Lesson five. It won’t be perfect. I don’t care how people present themselves on social media, two imperfect people do not equal a perfect marriage. Stop obsessing over perfection. Stop competing.
Lesson six. There is an I in marriage and that I has to do with your individual, total self. Even though you have a lifelong partner, you will still have to define yourself for yourself as you grow into the man/woman you were created to be. Children, for example, force us to lose ourselves and then develop a new identity until we find ourselves again. If you’re paying attention, you should be able to tell when your husband or wife is having an identity crisis. Remember to be patient.
Lesson seven. Adjust constantly. Your spouse will change. Finances will change. Routines will change. Minds will change. Health will change. Hearts can change. Everything could very well change. People gain new interests and insights. Consistency is great, but expecting people to be the same way forever is pushing it. There will be new dreams, careers, hobbies, and plans. Like a manual transmission car, you each are responsible for shifting gears. Work together during periods of change. Clutch! And curb the impulse to demand that things go back to how they used to be because change is making you unhappy. Who knows where change will take you.
Lesson eight. Making love is essential. Connecting on an emotional, spiritual, and physical level daily is so important. Making the first move on any level is also an act of bravery because no one wants to feel unwanted or rejected. Be brave. Make moves. Re-connect when kids interrupt sexual ebb and flow! They’re cute and have a way of landing slap dab in the middle of the bed forcing parents to opposite ends. The hateration is real in the bedroom dancery, so set boundaries.
Lesson nine. Apologize and be free. There is an amazing grown-up feeling you get when you consider your emotional health and well being by choosing to forgive/forgo the impulse to retaliate, assume, punish, resent, carry a grudge, or criticize. There’s an incomprehensible power that comes with being an agent of peace who hardly ever comes out of character. Consider the children who watch and hear.
Final lesson. Tomorrow isn’t promised so tell your spouse daily that you love him/her. Don’t even pass by each other without acknowledging the other person. A tap, a smile, a kiss, a touch, a helping hand. Never be too tired or occupied to notice something new/different, to surprise one another, or to simply be the best helpmate you can be.
♥ We fight for our marriage daily. What lessons have you learned? Comment, share, and spread the love.