SURPRISE!! I actually convinced my husband to help me write today’s post! To be fair, all I asked of him was to give me a few things he’d like to share about how to have a relationship that honors God and each other 🙂 easy right?! We’ve obviously been married for all of five minutes, but we truly feel that God has given us a wisdom and maturity like none-other that both help us with our relationship and marriage, and obviously we want to share that wisdom and not keep it to ourselves. Our first couple of months has been nothing like we expected. People talk about marriage like it’s the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to them and to be transparent, I don’t think we really knew what to expect at all. Either we were going to be in heaven or we were going to be working really hard to get there. Lucky for us, it’s been the former and we’ve got a few tips and tricks we want to share to not only help your marriage, but for those of you who are single, give you some guidance and wisdom too on being single in a godly way.
Pray like your life depends on it (because it does)
I started praying for my future husband about 5 years ago. I had an extremely wise woman mentor me (hey Katie) and tell me to start asking God for exactly what I…wait for it….NEEDED in a husband. Not what I thought I wanted, because trust me…we don’t know better than God. Fast forward to now and Nick is more wonderful than anything I could have asked for. He takes care of me in the most selfless ways and does things for me that I don’t even think of for myself. He does things that I know only God would know that I wanted….for example he gets out of bed super quietly in the morning as not to disturb the monster…I mean princess ;). He thinks of me before himself and that’s not something I could have asked for, it’s something only God could provide. Katies advice was to make a list and write it somewhere that I could easily access. Each time I felt lonely or started having a slight interest in a man, I would check the items on this list. Now please don’t hold a man to every. single. tiny.detail….that’s boring! But there should be some things on there that are non-negotiable and if you know they are something that you’re going to need in a man, then girlfriend don’t settle. There’s only one item on my list that Nick doesn’t match up to in the way that I thought, but even that has turned out to be a blessing. Write it out and pray over it constantly.
Now to get right to the point, you’re going to have to do some soul searching for this to be effective. You’ve got to know yourself and how you feel before you can share a life with someone else. That’s part of why being single is so important. It’s the chance to learn yourself better than anyone, and when you join together to share life with another person you know yourself so well that you can communicate things with them easily. What I mean is I’m able to instantly tell when I wake up in the morning that I have an attitude or don’t feel well, I can share this with Nick. I’m able to tell when he says something that comes off wrong or makes me feel a certain way, I can share with him. I’m able to tell him exactly how I feel at ALMOST any time. Part of why our relationship moved as quickly as it did and we were married just over a year of being together, is that we both knew ourselves so well and had such a strong relationship with the Lord, that we’ve been able to communicate effectively and honestly without saying things that are unnecessary or hurtful or untrue.
One of my biggest downfalls is being the type of person who fights dirty. I’m embarrassed to even write that, but to be totally honest I have quite the little mean streak (blame it on the redhead genes). Either way it’s not fair to myself, my husband or anyone for that matter. Nick and I have had very few “disagreements” but when we do, I try to take a moment to explain to him how I’m feeling rather than blame him or point fingers. To avoid these disagreements at all, I do the same thing. Sometimes he says something that hits me funny and instead of getting upset or reacting quickly in anger, I ask him to clarify. Sometimes I just wake up in an awful mood. It’s one of the first things I tell him. Instead of holding everything inside and letting ANY type of emotion fester, I just tell him. Even if it comes out messy or through tears or with a hint of sass…we talk it out…and work it out.
Continuously pursue one another
As a woman let me tell you how important it is to make sure you’re with a man who will endlessly pursue you. He does things to impress you, to make you happy, is self sacrificing when he needs to be, shows you respect and honor…alllll the things the Bible tells you. But ladies hear me clearly…you. have. to. do. the. same.
There I said it.
We cannot expect a man to bow down at our feet and treat us like queens and then treat him like a peasant. There’s this weird phenomenon that happens when a woman treats a man with dignity, respect, honor and supports him fully. All of a sudden you’re treated like the queen (we all know you deserve to be treated) you want to be. It takes a little to get a LOT. Most days all this looks like is bringing my husband a cup of coffee or having one of his favorite meals ready when he gets off of work. Sometimes it’s just a shoulder massage, and others it’s just sitting on the couch listening to how his day was. Men are (lucky for us) incredibly simple ladies, and the benefits way out weigh the “costs”. What I get out of all of those small things is a LOT of love, honor, respect, adoration, kindness, hard work…and the list goes on. The Bible tells us to the be servants, and when I “serve” my husband, even in the smallest of ways, God honors it and Nick turns right around and serves me back. It’s about a balanced act of putting aside pride and helping one another.
Be a number one fan
The world today is so full of hate and slander and discouragement. We can easily get all the negative opinions of a hundred people around us. As a wife, I should be a place of solace for my husband to come to. A place he can feel safe sharing his fears, doubts dreams and insecurities and know that I won’t criticize or ridicule but I’ll be supportive and help him. When you live in such close proximity to another human being, trust me you see ALL their flaws but as a wife you should be there to overlook the small things that don’t really matter and encourage in the areas that truly need improvement. At the end of the day, I’m Nicks number one fan. Anything he sets out to do he can look back and trust that I’ll be the first one he sees right there cheering him on. Even on the worst days of all he can trust that I’ll be there to pick him up and dust him off so that he can keep going. That’s what a spouse is for.
Seek common interest
Married life will, if we are lucky will be long, if you get all the way to 100 years old you are going to have a lot of time to use up with your spouse. Having common interests makes sure that you can spend time together entertained. The easy ones are natural and just require being intentional about incorporating your partner with you. If you both are interested in cooking or just eating, who’s not, take a cooking class together or find a cooking show to watch. I think the more rewarding common interests are the ones that demonstrate you are pursing your partner. Camille didn’t watch or understand football when we first started dating, but took the time to ask me questions and learn about the game. Now she actually enjoys it and we have a lifetime of tailgating and yelling at the tv to spend together.
If you are going to argue, argue about the actual issue
This one can be difficult sometimes it is hard to know what you are actually upset about, maybe you are just tired, haven’t eaten, or are stressed about work. When we don’t always know why we are upset it is important to give your partner grace, they can’t read your mind and even if they could they can’t read it better than you can. While arguing certainly isn’t an enjoyable experience sometimes it is a necessity. If you are going to argue, argue about what the actual problem is that way it at least has the chance to be productive. Explaining why something bothers you is just as important as figuring out what is bothering you to start with.
Don’t fight to win
Building off the last point, winning in an argument with your significant other shouldn’t be the goal. The heat of the moment can make getting that quick jab in feel good or saying something you know isn’t fair or completely the truth just to gain the upper hand and get your way. If you are fighting to win, you are fighting to make them lose. The goal of any relationship should be to build each other up into the best versions of yourselves, that you are both winners.
Happy wife happy life
Sayings can be cliche, but they become sayings for a reason.
That’s a wrap! With only having been married for a couple of months I’m (Camille) so excited that we have so much to look forward to and grow towards and luckily God put us together in such a beautiful way that we’re both willing to stay open and actually WORK on our marriage. Hopefully this helped inspire you if you’re single or reminded you of the bliss of being a newlywed if you’re been married for a while.