My 5 Marriage Tips
It’s been a quick minute since Dave has made a debut on the blog. Dave takes most of the pictures for CnC, so he’s usually the man behind the camera.
Today, I wanted to do a special blog post on marriage. I certainly don’t feel qualified to write a how-to book on relationships, but I do feel very fortunate to be in a happy and loving marriage. The reason my marriage is such a happy one is because Dave & I work to keep it that way (Dave probably works harder than I do because I’m more difficult). Before I met Dave, I was in a relationship that totally crashed and burned. As painful as that time in my life was, looking back I realize I learned a lot from the failures in that relationship (both failures of my own and of the other party). So, I certainly haven’t always gotten it right and as a result I want to ensure this post doesn’t come across as ‘preachy.’ I’m simply sharing what works for Dave & me in our home (which is a post a few people have asked for). 🙂
- Water the Relationship: Now that Dave & I have 2 small kids at home, it is so easy to lose each other in the midst of all the chaos. We obviously aren’t in a season where we can swing a date night each week, but we can find time to pause in the middle of the craziness and focus on each other. We find little ways to frequently pour into each other and I find that those little deposits we make truly do help our relationship grow. Dave is really great at this.
- Be Quick to Offer Forgiveness: Dave & I don’t argue very often, but obviously disagreements are inevitable when you live with someone. I’m such a girl, so I’m usually the one to ‘get my feelings hurt.’ However, God has really been challenging me this year to not be so easily offended (because, um hello! Jesus wasn’t, so why should I be?). One of my favorite quotes on forgiveness actually came from a book I read this summer called, “The Traveler’s Gift.” It said, “Forgiveness costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to all and used by few. The unmistakeable truth about forgiveness is that it is not a reward that must be earned; forgiveness is a gift to be given.” Sometimes the sweetest gift I can give both my husband and myself is forgiveness.
- Make Home a Place You Both Want to Be: One of my sweet friends said this to me one time and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. He said, “When you make a home that you and your spouse both want to come home to at the end of the day, you know you’re doing something right.” How true is that? I’m pretty OCD so I used to be FREAKY about keeping the house clean. I hate clutter. I hate dust. I love a freshly made bed with 32 throw pillows on it. You know the type, right? I realize I’m ridiculous and I also realized I was making Dave crazy because I was always trying to keep the house immaculate. Now, this is an issue we have both had to compromise on because just like the man has to live in peace, I have to live with some sanity. However, I came to terms with the fact years ago that it was more important for Dave to love being home than it was for me to love having a perfectly pristine home (& now we have 2 babies, so that dream of a perfectly pristine home is down there with my dreams of being best friends with Kelly Ripa). I didn’t want a husband who stayed at work until 8pm and found every excuse to avoid coming home. I wanted Dave to want to come home, which meant I had to help create an environment that welcomed him. And he’s done the same for me. The last 2 times Dave has traveled, he has come home a day early because he said he just wanted to be home. When he arrives home from work, I try to always greet him with a smile and a kiss and typically I have music playing so that the vibe in our house is a fun and upbeat one. (Now some days, he does come home and I’m like, ‘Here are the kids – I’m going for a run, good luck. Don’t touch me. They are monsters today. Peace out.) ← Real life
- Don’t Keep Score: Dave & I are competitive and all about keeping score in a game, but when it comes to our marriage we don’t ever keep score. Because in that scenario, everyone is a loser. I don’t do 50% of the housework in hopes that Dave will do the other 50%. I strive to do 100% of the things that I’m able to do and Dave plays by the same rules. I don’t say things like, “I’ve changed all the dirty diapers all week, so since it is Saturday and you’re home you are going to change them all.” If I see a situation that I can handle, I handle it. And Dave doesn’t say, “I took the trash out yesterday, so tonight you can do it.” If he sees a need, he’s quick to meet it. This applies with bigger issues too. Sometimes it is easy for me to think, “I compromised on this issue last time, so it’s time for him to give now.” But that’s just another version of me keeping score and that game never ends well. This principle has gotten so much easier with time and practice for me. I strive to give 100% no matter what I feel Dave’s output is (and luckily, I’m married to a man who strives to give 110% in all he does).
- Assume the Best: This tip is simple, but so helpful. I always try to give Dave the benefit of the doubt. I give him credit and assume the best about him, as a husband and a father. So for example, if Dave has to work late one night, I don’t hate on him when he gets home. I assume that he would probably rather be at home, just like I would rather have him home, but he is hardworking and he takes his job as the provider of our home very seriously. Or if I see him on his phone during dinner, I assume that he is tending to a matter that is urgent rather than freaking out about him breaking our ‘no phones at the table’ rule. Dave will sometimes ask me to do things for him during the day (like pick up the dry cleaning or proofread a document) and there have been plenty of times that I have failed him because I got too preoccupied with those 2 tiny humans we made. But Dave gives me so much grace and he will say things like, “Babe, don’t worry about it. You’re busy and you’ve got a lot on your plate. I know you would have done it if you had time.” I think assuming the best about somebody not only makes them want to be better, but it also avoids a lot of unnecessary arguments.
There’s a Wrong Way to Be Right: There are times when I know I am in the ‘right’ in a disagreement, but there is a wrong way to be right. If I’m right with the wrong attitude, then I’m wrong. I think the secret to a successful marriage can be summed up in 1 word: Humility.
Phil 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.”
I know what you’re thinking. If I could sum up the success in 1 word, then why the heck did I just write this lengthy post?!