Phillip and I have been married now for over 9 years. And we are no experts on marriage. We’re not experts on our marriage even. We’re not experts on each other. We’ve still got a lot to learn. So keeping that in mind and knowing that we are not experts at all, I just want to talk about some things that have helped us to have a stronger marriage and also some things that we struggle with.
It seems like I’m hearing about more and more marriage lately falling apart. And it’s so heartbreaking. First and foremost we have never spoken the word divorce as an option. It’s just simply not an option for us. Now if one of us was being abused by the other (which he’s not b.t.w.), then the abused spouse would have every right to leave the marriage. That’s my opinion. I’m sure there are those that would disagree with that but whatever. Anyway, we have had some strong disagreements and some very hurt feelings over the years but ending this has never been, and I don’t think will ever be, an option.
Earlier in our marriage there were things that we both were not 100% honest with each other about. I think that’s probably normal for young married couples. But we eventually had to get that stuff out in the open and out of the way. I believe for the last several years, we have had an honest relationship. We are extremely real with one another. There is no person on this earth who knows me better than Phillip and vice versa.
We compromise on a lot of stuff. We yield to each other’s ideas and needs. Do we do this 100% of the time? Uh…no. Does he compromise on movies that I want to watch but he doesn’t? Uh…no.
We respect each other in front of other people. Does this include friendly banter? No, we certainly pick on each other. But we do not degrade or make fun or belittle each other to other people. We are each other’s biggest fans. Do I occasionally maybe drop a line about him forgetting to take out the garbage on facebook? Yeah, I think I’ve done that. But I won’t do it again. Promise.
For the most part we support each other’s parenting decisions in front of the kids. Usually if we don’t support each other’s decisions it’s because we were tricked by a very smart child. There are some instances where we disagree about parenting stuff in front of the kids. We don’t make a habit of it and when we do, it’s not heated and we resolve it quickly.
We spend as much time away from the kids together as we can. We have had a “date night” once a week for the past… like…5 years at least. We are fortunate enough to have our parents in town and they love having our kids. If we had to pay a sitter each week, I doubt the date night thing would happen very often. This is our favorite night of the week. We’re able to sit and eat without getting up from the table 100 times. We’re able to actually have a conversation without being interrupted by stupid knock knock jokes or the dog whining or Mikey throwing food on the floor. Is it romantic? I don’t even know what that means so I would have to say no. But it is just a time for us to talk about stuff that’s been going on. We tell each other funny stories about things we’ve seen or heard. We usually end up talking about those darn kids. But talking about the kids is much better sometimes than trying to talk over the kids.
We are both fairly quick to apologize when we’ve done wrong and we are both quick to forgive. I would say that I am the better apologizer and Phillip is the better forgiver so I guess that works out. We both probably need to work on our weaknesses in this area. We really don’t let things fester. In these 9 years I can remember very few instances where we went to bed angry. We went to bed sad a lot because we’ve gone through some really hard stuff. But we rarely go to bed angry with one another.
We let a lot of things go. Earlier in our marriage we used to nitpick a lot of stuff. We used to just kind of pick little insignificant fights with each other just to be mean, especially me. I would get it in my head that “he doesn’t love me” if he didn’t unload the dishwasher when I thought that he should. I would give him the cold shoulder for hours or days for something he didn’t even know he did or didn’t do. Now thinking about that stuff seems so ridiculous. After going through some of the stuff we’ve gone through, whether or not the dishwasher was unloaded just didn’t seem all that important anymore. Now to be honest, I still do get unnecessarily gripey at times when I feel like I’m behind on house work. But I’m blogging now instead of cleaning it, so it must not bother me that bad, right?
We want each other to be happy and fulfilled. We encourage each other to have hobbies and we are supportive of each other in those. I genuinely want him to enjoy his life and he wants that for me. And we do what we can to help each other have a fulfilled life.
I cook chicken for him and he handles most of my internet needs.
So this all sounds lovely and perfect, right? We sound so put together, right? Well, we’re not. We still have lots to work on. We aren’t great communicators. Phillip keeps stuff bottled up and I like to let stuff just blow. Neither one is healthy. We are pretty good at talking about things that are easy to talk about. But neither one of us is real keen on bringing up hard stuff. We need to be more intentional about having meaningful conversations about stuff that really matters and not just like a funny billboard we drove by. And while we are both Christ followers, we don’t invite God into our home and our conversations nearly enough. We need to work on that.
So I guess those are just some of my ideas of things that have helped us with this whole marriage thing. Take it for what it’s worth. If you’re married, I hope that you find and have a beautiful life together. If you’re divorced, I hope that you are able to find healing and maybe one day find love again. Love that will last. And if you’re not yet married but want to be, I hope you’ll hold out for the right person who’s holding out for you.