My husband and I just celebrated four amazing years of marriage this past Monday (March 7, 2016)! It really has been a great journey of love and companionship. We’re not perfect, and we’ve both made a ton of mistakes, but I’m grateful for our progress along the way. The more I grow in God, the more I continue to work on myself and improve my role as a wife. So, I just want to share with you Four Important Things I’ve learned in our 4 years of Marriage.
1.The power of “Okay”.
Okay, Listen, I’m an extreme thinker. Two of my strengths are problem solving and planning. If you come to me with an idea, by the time you get to the third sentence, I’ve already thought of two ideas to enhance your idea as well as possible problems that may arise. Not only have I thought of possible problems that may arise, but I’ve already thought of at least two possible solutions to that problem.
The first time someone kept our older daughter, Hannah, overnight, I left 7 pages of notes with different scenarios of what to do if different problems happened to arise with her. I know, I know, Too much maybe? Lol I told you, …..I’m an extreme thinker , planner, and problem solver. But in my marriage, there was a little issue with that. My husband is a visionary with a brilliant mind. He comes to me with these visions, and I start thinking. By the time he is on the third sentence my mind is REALLY going. Over the course of our marriage, he came to me proposing business partnership ideas with different individuals and my first reaction was:
- How long have you known this person?
- What is this person’s credit score?
- Do they lie?
- Is this person willing to sign a contract?
And on, and on and on I went until I would look at his facial expression. And all of a sudden I realized he no longer was talking. Uh oh. I had totally KILLED his desire for this idea, and I didn’t mean to AT all!
◊Helping Note: Men want to know that you are on board FIRST before trying to critique their decision- making.
In MY mind, my husband already knew that I was on board with his ideas. In HIS mind, I wasn’t expressing that to him. It just seemed like I was ripping his ideas to shreds.
So, now when he proposes an idea, I’ve learned to look at him, listen intently to him, give him a smile, and say “Okay!” And it’s not a sarcastic okay but an okay followed by a compliment of the creativity of his idea. This has created great synergy for us in decision-making because his reply, after he knows I’m still in his corner, is usually, “what do you think about it?” Then I proceed to ask my million and one questions or enough questions for us to brainstorm.
This way, I haven’t killed his idea, he knows that he fully has my support, and I also get a chance to express my thoughts on the subject without him shutting down. So, before you go full steam ahead critiquing your husband’s ideas, pause and say, Okay or whatever your “okay” may be that expresses that you are 100% his ride or die!
Note: Of course this only applies to things that do not compromise your integrity as a Christian. If he says he wants to rob a bank, your response should NOT be Okay. Just had to throw that in there. Yikes. Moving on…..
2.Never get tired of serving.
Funny story: A couple of weeks ago, I offered to make my husband a cup of coffee. I was bright and cheery when I made the first cup. He took a couple of sips and said it tasted funny. Ok no problem, I’ll make another cup. To him, the second cup was even worse than the first cup. He said something about the bubbles looking funny. Huh? Ok sir, you’re wasting my good coffee. By this time, my patience was getting a little thin. But he asked me to make him another cup.
Was the third cup better to him? Absolutely not! But all three cups tasted great to me! By the third cup I was no longer smiling. I was over it. Just drink the coffee! “lol”. But then the Holy Spirit tugged this scripture on my heart, “Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as (something done) for the Lord and not for men” (Col 3:23)
When I made those cups of coffee for my husband, I was thinking, “I have other things to do…Will he just drink the coffee…Why is he complaining…people elsewhere wish they had coffee”…and I was definitely rolling my eyes in my head until I had that gentle reminder of scripture.
You see, when you are serving but do not have the spirit of a servant, it becomes very easy to be offended. You can misinterpret an individual’s need and desire to enjoy the convenience of what you are offering with a feeling of being undermined or under-appreciated. My husband’s lack of enjoying the coffee was not a reflection on him or me. He simply wanted the coffee to taste right, and I was the one who offered the coffee in the first place. Bringing my husband the coffee was “getting the job done”, but making the coffee to his satisfaction is what “serving” is all about. And beyond that we should be serving as if we are serving to the satisfaction of the Lord Himself.
So…wives…know that when we serve our husbands, we’re working for the Lord. Let’s step up our service and serve with gladness of heart all the time because we know that our real reward comes from God. So, times when I don’t “feel” like serving, I remind myself, “Amanda, what you’re doing is unto the Lord. Do it gladly. Do it well”.
3.Let it go.
I was raised in a family where, during disagreements, it was important to talk about every single thing. When my mom upset me or I upset her, we had these super long conversations and the same thing with my siblings. We always talked about everything. To this day, whenever my husband and I have a disagreement, I want to talk about everything concerning that disagreement.
- How did this conversation make you feel?
- Do we need to talk about it more?
- Did you mean what you said?
- Can we talk about this?
But I’ve realized sometimes I have to just take one for the team and let it go. Everything doesn’t need an explanation all of the time. And all of my questions irritate the mess out of him after he has already decided to let an issue go. I realized that all my questioning can be downright nagging and no man wants to be married to a nagging woman!
“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife”- Prov. 21:19
“Better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife”- Proverbs 21:9
“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike”-Prov. 27:15
Got it? Got it? Good.
Ok so Maybe he WAS just having a bad day. Let it go. Keep in mind we have two kids. He could be exhausted (I know I am) Let it go. Who cares if he puts his socks on the floor instead of the hamper. Everyday. Let it go. Why? Well because he LOVES me. He takes amazing care of me. And he is an amazing father. You see what I just did…take note!
Sometimes you have to compare all the things you do like with all the things that you do not like about whatever current situation is bothering you. This kind of reality check reminds you that the good outweighs the bad. And all the stuff that you don’t like…well…you choose to Let it go.
◊Helping Note: Some person is praying for the very thing that you are complaining about. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. The minor roadblocks you have in marriage are not that serious. Let it go.
4.Time alone is non-negotiable.
Whew! Ok, so currently we have a(n) almost 2.5 year old and a 15 month old. Until this week, we had not had a night away from the children since before I got pregnant with our 15 month old! And before that we only had one night away from our first when she was 11 months old. We were waaayyyyyy past due for some time alone with no diapers, wipes, whining babies, and minnie mouse toys.
I honestly didn’t know how badly we needed the break until right before we went. Our days and nights had begun to run together from our crazy schedule. Our oldest battles allergies at times so she had been waking up often in the night, and our youngest one has gotten four teeth in the past couple of weeks and was teething something serious. And then of course, we still have business to take care of everyday.
I said “enough is enough! We need a vacation, away from the kids.” So we did a 3 day, 2 night stay at Hilton Head Westin resort in a Director’s suite with a beach front view. AMAZING time! We came back super refreshed! It spoiled us. And because of our crazy schedules, we’ve decided that every 3 months, we would have at least one night to ourselves without kids.
Married couples, please take breaks and take vacations alone. You need healthy marriages to build healthy families; so don’t neglect that time alone with each other. INVEST in your marriage. Other things can wait, I promise you. Spend that time together. Start planning now, because time alone is absolutely non-negotiable.
(This was us during our anniversary vacation this week ! We had soooo much fun! )
I pray that these tips helped you. Marriage is HARD work, but it is SOOO worth all of the work. Feel free to share any tips that you’ve learned along the way in your marriage.
Love you all so much!