It's hard to believe that my husband and I have already been married for an entire year. It really feels as if we were completing our guest list yesterday, but we have been blessed to celebrate our one year anniversary. It's only been one year you might say, but you would be surprised at how much learning we've both done during that short period of time. The last couple of months after we exchanged our vows were blissful, as they should've been. I repeatedly bragged about how easy married life was to those who asked, and it was. Today, I still feel butterflies when I lay next to my husband, and I still know that getting married to him was the best decision I've ever made. Every marriage is different and everyone has their own stories. Although there are many more chapters to come, here's what I learned from my first year of marriage.
1. Marriage Is A Gift
When we're courting and dating, we spend so much time investing in our relationships until we make it to the altar. We invest time and effort into our relationships, and nurture them. We pray and seek help when needed, with hopes that we've finally met your other half. Yet once we're married we often forget that this is what we wanted all along. When things get tough we question everything we've ever worked hard for, and forget that marriage is a gift from God. Having someone to share your life with, travel with, start a family with, is a gift. We often take our spouse for granted once we reach marriage, when in fact we should be grateful for the opportunity to live that life that we chose. Your spouse is a gift that is valuable and should be cherished.
2. Know Your Spouse’s Love Language
Years before we got married, I read the book The Five Love Languages where I learned about the different love languages. During our pre marital counseling sessions, we discussed each other's love languages and how to practice those in our every day lives. It's important to know your spouse's love language because people love differently, and the only way that they know how to show love, is based on their love language. Because my husband and I have different love languages, I intentionally make the the effort to focus on his love languages, and not only on mines. When someone's love language isn't addressed, they can easily feel unappreciated or neglected. Keep in mind that you will always tend to act based on your own love language, which might be different from your spouse's. You never want to be the reason your spouse feels unloved or uncared for. Take care of their love language!
3. Marriage Is NOT 50/50
Get it out of your head now! It will take more than just 50% to make your marriage work. Marriage is about giving 100% to each other AT ALL TIMES! If you aren't putting 100% of yourself into your marriage, you aren't putting enough. Be willing to give it your all, and get rid of this myth that your spouse must meet your half way. The work and commitment will require that you both put all you've got into your marriage. One of the best advice that I've received from our minister, is that as a wife, you need to only focus on your part. Know your role, and duties in the home and do them. What we don't realize is that if we focus so much on what our spouse isn't doing, we start playing the blame game, and stop doing our part. If both partners commit to always doing their parts no matter what, there won't be much to blame, complain, or argue about.
4. Cover Your Spouse In Prayer
The devil hates marriage because he hates seeing God's glory shine through marriage. There are times where you will have to intercede on behalf of your spouse. It is your job and duty. One book that I constantly read is Praying For Your Husband From Head To Toe. This book is practical in teaching how to pray for your husband in all the aspects of his life. Sister wives, if you don't cover your husband in prayer, no one else will!
5. Both Eyes On The Finances
Although it is true that opposites attract, but when two people are opposites in the financial department, it can easily lead to divorce. It's important to build and go through a family budget on a regular, so that you are always both on the same page. Find ways to split the responsibilities evenly, so that one person doesn't feel burdened. Remember, it is not usually the lack of finances that causes divorce, but the lack of financial compatibility.
6. Support Each Other
You should be your spouse's number one cheerleader, and he should be your biggest fan. It means the world to me knowing that I can always count on my husband to support me in my ventures, and I always go hard for him in all that he does. When two people get married, dreams are plans are shared and adopted. The work, expenses, and sacrifices will be required from both. You have to go hand in hand on the mountain tops and the valley lows. You are a team, and team players never act alone.
7. Spend Time Together
Quality time is important in a marriage. If you're not careful, your marriage may easily turn into a habit, like a job. It will become dull and tedious. Be intentional on how you nurture your marriage. Do things together, go on dates and vacations, watch Tv shows together, commit to sitting at the dinner table in the evening. Find something that you both enjoy and spend time doing that. No matter what, don't stop dating, or stop doing the things that you used to enjoy when you were dating. Marriage is meant to be enjoyable, not a burden. It can easily be either one, it's all based on conscious your choices.
8. Learn How To Deal With Conflicts
It's impossible to avoid conflicts in a marriage. Avoiding conflicts lead to bitterness, lack of trust, and frustration which will hurt your marriage. Avoid putting so much stress on your marriage by dealing head on with conflicts. Discuss and find solutions that work for both. Seek help if you can't come to an agreement. No matter what, don't let conflicts go unresolved. Approach conflicts with a willing ear, and focus on the core issue. Most importantly remember that your marriage is more important that any conflict that needs to be resolved. Never let a conflict become more important than your spouse and your marriage.
9. Old Habits Die Hard…Or Don’t Die At All
In other words, if he wasn't putting down the toilet seat before you got married, he isn't magically going to once you are. This goes to say there will be some annoying habits that you will simply learn how to deal with. You didn't marry someone perfect, and you can't change any of that. Pick you battles, and don't sweat the small stuff.
10. Say Thank You and I Love You
Say " Thank You"for the little things. Every time my husband finishes his meal he says "Thank You", every time we ride together and he drives, I say "Thank You". We don't ask it of each other but it makes us feel appreciated. Because you can never say them enough, always say Thank You and I Love You.
What are some things that you've learned so far in your marriage? Please do share!