This Wednesday, we are talking about how you work it… to keep your marriage strong!
So, a short story to preface my perspective on this…
My brother in law (Steven’s brother) and his wife got married five months after us. At their rehearsal dinner, his mom had little cards that everyone could write advice or well wishes to the bride and groom (she did this for us as well, and it is one of the things from our wedding that I cherish most. We read them at breakfast the morning after our wedding and everyone had such sweet, kind, and helpful words. I’m planning to pull them out again on our anniversary and go through them again. Maybe a yearly tradition!). So, at Avery and Shelby’s rehearsal dinner, Steven started out his card with “I’ve been married for five months, so I am now an expert…”
He was kidding, obviously, but that’s kind of how I feel about this. We’ve been married for eleven months now, and nowhere near expert status. But these are things that seem to be working for us, or things we are working on to keep it strong!
These two young’uns met in Fall 2012, and have been married for almost a year now…
3 main things I’ve focused on so far for our marriage:
Keeping the Lord as the center of our marriage…
We feel that marriage is the Lord’s gift to His people, and that marriage is designed to bring us closer to the Lord. Being in a close relationship like marriage gives you a better opportunity to exhibit Christ-like qualities, like forgiveness, unselfishness, and unfailing love. We each have our own routine when it comes to our prayer/ quiet time, but I’ll share my latest finds.
In the month or so leading up to our first anniversary, I’ve started the Wife After God devo book and 31 Prayers for My Husband. I strive to pray over Steven and our marriage daily, and the prayer book just gives a little guidance to the prayers, and the devo gives good perspective on Godly marriage. These are from the Unveiled Wife, which has great resources (like a lot of the same books for husbands, too!)! I have the Unveiled Wife nonfiction novel as well, but it’s one of about four books I’m reading right now, meaning I am not making any headway on any of them… 🙂
I think everyone accomplishes this in their own way, but I’ve enjoyed this routine so far. I am always on the lookout for new resources as time goes on!
Making our time together meaningful…
We have a crazy schedule (that is not always predictable thanks to hospital hours), but I try to be present when we are both home (does that make sense?), and not absorbed in other things, like housework, or my own TV shows, etc. We don’t always get a ton of time together (although, I’ll take living in the same house over living five hours away from each other! We did it, we survived, but I wouldn’t love to do it again!), so I’ve found that the laundry can wait a few hours if it means we snuggle and watch a movie instead, or take the dogs out to play, etc. I want us to be together when we are together.
We’ve always had to be mindful of our time- we started dating while I was in grad school and he was in med school, so we’ve never had tons of spare time with each other. We used to joke when we were in school that it was good we were both in school because if one of us wasn’t, the other one would want to goof off, too. Luckily we made it through all of that! We have gone from living ten minutes from each other (in our first two years), to being five hours from each other (for a summer), to two hours away (about nine months), and then two minutes from each other several months before we got married. For some reason, distance was something we were able to handle pretty well. Somehow we knew it was just something to get through, but it didn’t change anything between us.
So, all I’m saying here is that it’s worth putting off some things you gotta do, or cramming them in somewhere else if it means you and your man can bond doing something else. Obviously there are times we have to do serious and not fun things, but I think taking breaks together are really important, especially during this time when it’s just the two of us.
And my final piece of advice…
Get your own covers….
This one may be a little off the wall, but it is big for us. I like heavy, borderline smothering covers, and Steven likes light and airy covers. We tried to compromise for a while, and finally decided that instead of both suffering, we could just use our own, and it was problem solved. So, we have a heavy Kate Spade duvet that I use, and a thin quilt that he uses. I make up the bed with both, but we each have our own every night.
And I thought this was weird at first (even though it worked), and then I’ve found out SO MANY other couples that do this. I’m starting to think that THIS is actually what is normal. Feel free to weigh in down in the comments 😉
I’d love to hear any advice from any of you! I forget sometimes since we’ve been together for so long that we are still technically newlyweds. 🙂 Let me know some other ways I can be workin’ it!