My amazingly patient husband and I have been married now for 7 years. We have two children and a mortgage and we go camping every summer all summer long. We are really turning into that family that childrens stories are based off of. But behind the happy smiles and fun family adventures lays the foundation that our family is built on. We are imperfect people who put a Loving God first.
Both my husband and I were raised in a Loving Christian Family. We both have 2 parents who are still married to each other and we both come from a family with 4 children. Although our families look a very similar on paper the only real thing they have in common is that our parents both love and fear God. God is the center of their marriage and family values. This has been something that both my sweet hubby and I have taken into our own marriage and used as a foundation when starting our very beautiful little family.
What does this look like?
1. Unconditional Love – God loves us no matter what. He has so much grace and forgiveness for each one of us and asks us to do the same for each other. Especially in marriage. My husbands parents and my parents have been married for a combine total of over 60 years and in those years they have seen their fair share of trials, disappointments, heart breaks, struggles, break downs, and moments of complete loss of hope. Holding tight to Gods promises and love for us and turning our eyes to Jesus when your human partner has let you down for the 15th time (today) is a key part in making a marriage survive the hard times. We have not been thru enough hardships to make me an sort of expert, but we have witnessed how a marriage can thrive or even just survive a trial.
Children are always watching. Whether they are 2 years old or 22 years old. They are unintentionally taking notes and making decisions on how they would respond or react if they were in that situation. When I was taking my ECE (early childhood education) course I learned a lot about how children learn and how their outlook on life is shaped in the early years. a huge part of how we respond to life and family is based on how we were raised. We can try our best to unlearn or avoid doing the things our parents taught us but that is our basis. That is our core. Praise the Lord that we both had/have such amazing Parents who in their own imperfect way have showed us how to rely on God.
2. Arguments – Everyone fights, Especially people who love each other. For some reason you fight with the ones you love the most, most of the time. My husband and I can have some pretty heated arguments. Well, to be honest. I am the heated one and he is always cool as a cucumber. He is quite rational and calm and I do a lot of arm flailing and feet stopping. Because I am just a wee bit dramatic we make sure that we fight in our bedroom when it is a “heated debate” I learned that from my parents 🙂 But we also make sure that we have serious discussions in front of the children to model for them how to disagree with someone and still be respectful.
I have learned that arguing is actually good. It means you care. You care enough to voice your opinion and have a say in what is going on in your relationship. Its when the arguing stops that I will become concerned. The main thing to keep in mind is how you argue. I have learned that it is better to say few words than many. Words are supposed to get your point across, not stab the person in the heart. (eeek… I am going to pretend I have never done that) .
over the years that my husband and I have been together (12) I have learned and started to apply different filters to my arguing techniques. First, I pray. Letting God take control of my words and opening my husbands ears to hear what I am trying to say. My husband and I are as opposite as two people can be so this also means that we speak different languages. We both use English words but I have no idea what he is saying. God is our translator. God has an amazing track record when he is involved in our arguments. When we bring Him into the center of our disagreement there is no misunderstandings and hearts are not broken. It is when we try and take it into our own hands that things get all messed up. Another thing I have gleaned from our parents.
3 Date nights – This one was hard to understand in the beginning of parenthood. Before children we had no problem spending time alone. Especially when we lived in Ontario and had no friends but each other. But when we moved back to BC and to the land where all our friends and family lived and soon after started our family, date nights became a hot commodity. Date nights have take different forms over the years. in the early early stages of parenthood it meant those 30 minutes while baby was sleeping and my hubby and I would quickly make dinner and just stare at each other and not say a word because we were enjoying the quiet. That was super romantic, not even being sarcastic. Now date nights mean running out of the house as soon as my parents walk through the door to baby sit our two toddlers and then waiting for 1 hour to get a table at a restaurant and enjoying every moment of it. One time we even went to a movie theater and both fell asleep.. Ha! expensive nap.
Important part of this point is that date nights and weekends away are important for your marriage. Getting away just the two of you without your children is important. it doesn’t have to be for a long time. it doesn’t have to be right away when your child is still little. but it does have to happen. You decide when you are ready and go for it! Schedules can get filled. Girls nights can take over your life because come on, you deserve it. But your marriage deserves Love and attention as well.
4. Be Goofy – I used to get soooooo embarrassed when my mom and dad were goofy in the grocery store or when my friends were over. Now as an adult I watch our parents be silly or tease each other or even have inside jokes and it makes me so happy. Families that Play together Stay together. Making jokes and taking silly pictures together or playing silly games when out in public is good for everyone in the family. Life is too short and already boring to let boring people take over your family. You may not live longer because you were goofy but you will live better.
5. Apply what you have Learned from your mistakes – This one is something that I have also noticed both our parents do. They actually learn for next time and better yet, I learned! learning is not just knowing what to do next time it is actually doing it. This is a hard one to do. It seems that Muscle memory seems to take over and it is always easier to just do what comes naturally and unless you are Jesus, what comes naturally is normally not the best response. Especially in a frustrating situation. This is a lesson meant for every person at every stage of life but I am finding it is vital to a healthy and thriving marriage.
In the long scheme of things my marriage is still a baby. Seven years is not 25 or even close to being 50. But Seven years is huge. Two imperfect people trying to learn to love each other the best they can. We can not do it alone. Having God as our center as our root and our core is so important. Knowing that you do not have to have all the answers or do it alone has helped me in so many ways. Those moments when my husband has pushed me to what I think is my breaking point i turn to Jesus and He calms me down. Those moments when I find it hard to bless my husband, I look to Jesus and He helps me see my hubby (His child) through His eyes and I become refreshed and reenergized to be my husbands helper and partner in life.
Marriage is so hard. Marriage is so AMAZING! Marriage is strange. Marriage is filled with so much joy. Marriage should never be lonely because God can be such a huge part of it. I have so much more to learn and master and I feel as if the only thing I have mastered is saying “Sorry”. I am a PRO at saying “sorry”. I am so thankful to have two sets of parents who are showing us the way. Not just the glamour of marriage but the guts and gore as well.