Five Years :: His + Her Lessons from Marriage


This is probably one of my favorite posts all year. Pretty much anytime I can get my boyfriend in on a post, it's bound to be a favorite. So here she is in all her glory. Five years of marriage brings you TEN little tidbits (his 5 are little, mine are wordy) on what we're learning in marriage.

Notice I said learning not "learned." We're still working through all this. Maybe by year 10  (ha, jk more like 40) we'll have these figured out and be on to bigger lessons to learn. Maybe.

Still, I like where we're going. 

If after reading this you're like "Man, Ben seems like the best husband ever."

You're right.

Alright, here we go!

1. Leash your hobbies. And invite (and respond with a yes) the other person into your hobbies. This goes both ways! Guys, don't be afraid of a sewing or craft project.

2. Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Seriously, just let the small stuff go. It's not really that big of a deal if the lights are left on in the other room. As far as the second half goes, a shower before some intimacy goes a long way ;)

3. Explore together. Get out. DO STUFF! TOGETHER!!! Experiences are great, but experiences shared with that special someone are so much better.

4. Sometimes, going to bed angry is the only way to calm yourself enough to be rational. I have a hard time with this myself. I always want resolution. But if it's 11pm and the baby has been screaming for 2 hours and exhaustion is at it's peak, sometimes both of us just need to sleep and approach it the next day.

5. Your hands show what you are currently paying attention to. If I have a PlayStation controller in my hands and we just need to talk for 5 to 10 minutes, it doesn't matter if the TV is off. I'm clearly communicating that I want to play video games rather than talk to the love of my life for 5 minutes. So, set the controller/phone/book/etc... down. Even better, hold her hands. That will REALLY communicate that you are listening.

1. Be Kind.

The world can be kind of cruel. The stress involved in showing up day after day to support a family, be a loving parent, awesome spouse, jolly good friend can be overwhelming. Having someone, especially someone who sees every flaw and broken bit, give out kindness makes a heart rest easy. Your husband needs some place to rest easy and your home is where that should happen.

I'm especially learning this recently when my kindness seems so hard to find at the end of the day ( It sometimes feels like I spent it all on our two little people.) The reality is, that's when we need it most. A kind answer can do a whole lot of good for a marriage. Far more than a grumbling friend who's got her eye on the clock and a lecture on her tongue.
2. Measure the Cost.

 This season, everything seems costly. Husband wants to go out with the guys? That costs me. Helping him by doing his share of housework during stressful seasons? Costly. Making food and keeping it warm when he's gotta do overtime? Double costly. Heck, spending time playing board games when my pillow seems pretty sexy right now: costly. 

There's two ways to go with this. Either I rack up the debt of my gifts to him or I buy into the idea that everything that costs me and blesses him isn't just chump change, but investment into my own good. 

I've tried it out, and letting him go out without the guilt of returning home is worth his rest. It's worth helping out with chores when it means we can rest together when he gets home. Investing in my spouse, however costly, to bring about his joy is worth my energy. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, sometimes that's the farthest thing I want to do, but the energy cost is rarely greater than the joy produced. 

The same goes for intimacy. There's always the classic sitcom joke of  "not tonight, honey." But when will it really be a good night? Sure sickness and pure exhaustion have their grounds, but in this season? The pure exhaustion part is kind of part of the territory. Again, the energy cost is rarely greater than the joy produced (for both parties. Wink, wink.)

3. Let him parent how he's gonna parent. 

Someone once joked "my kid doesn't need two of me." It's stuck with me ever since. Eowyn doesn't need two Brittanys to parent her. She needs Ben. He does it differently. He holds them in trapeze over hardwood floors and is just itching to introduce them to Lord of the Ring Movies as soon as they can stomach it. He makes some things major that I minor in. He minors my majors. And while the parenting styles do need to cross over a bit (like making sure we don't belittle each others majors and uphold what each other is trying to build up,) it's okay if quality time for them looks very different than quality time with me. 

It's supposed to be that way.
4. Encouraging each other in Christ. (It can be done without nagging.)

 I used to be wary of ever asking Ben how he was doing in his 'walk with Christ.'  But I'm learning now (especially living abroad with a much smaller christian social network) how imperative it is to encourage each other with this. This doesn't have to be the check mark "did you read your bible today?" business, but it can be a regular, honest conversation. If we aren't growing in what we value most, well, we don't value it most.

I used to default to "he's the 'pastor' of our family, so I shouldn't have to ask him." Uh, and I'm supposed to be the biblical helper (see Genesis.) If I'm not helping him in this, then somethings off in my understanding of helping. Spurring each other on towards Jesus is the primary goal, so a conversation on how that's going should be had. 

5. Let God Write your Love Story (no, really.)

All my youth group compatriots just let out a heavy sigh. Remember how youth pastors dealt this sermon out along with the purity rings? Yeah girl.

I think we all drank that Kool-aid  to some degree-and that's actually a good thing. It meant we, in some teenage way, let go a bit. It meant we became kind-of-okay (maybe) with the reality that eventually God would f.i.n.a.l.l.y line up our soulmate. 

But then 5 years later, when things get messy and the dishes are piling and the babies are screaming, and he's looking exhausted after yet another stale mate conversation, it can be really baffling how this all happened since God was supposed to be writing this epic love story for me. Soulmates aren't supposed to argue over sleep training. Soulmates aren't supposed to break each others hearts and sin against each other. 

God tends to write stories far different than we would anticipate (virgin birth, much? )  Often times his stories include desperation, human limitations being reached, and everything seeming to fall apart. He so often shows up in ways that make us uneasy. But always, ALWAYS in ways that makes things far more beautiful than we could have hoped. See, I'm learning his stories really are HIS. He seems to like to write things up in some way that plagiarism  is far from possible.  Lord knows I couldn't write this craziness all up. 

All that to say, if I'm going to be waving the "Jesus wrote my love story banner" I need to realize he didn't past tense write it. He's currently doing so. Which means he's weaving his kind of love into my story now. If I read his book, I'll find something hard to swallow. His love is a hard, but unbreakable love. His love is going to be painful, and sacrificial and often mean feeling a little bit like I'm doing all the work. There might be some frustration in waiting for Him to show up and do what I so desperately hope He will. Sometimes He does. And sometimes He calls me out to move towards my spouse in a way that seems costly. 

But it's worth the cost. (see #2)

Cheers to Marriage!

To read previous years, click here

No comments:

Post a Comment