Thursday, June 27, 2013

9 Things I learned about Marriage in 9 Years

"A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life."

-Proverbs 31:10-12

I write a lot about marriage and the husband-wife relationship. The reason is that I pray about what to write on my blog and the Lord leads me in this direction. I am a very observant person. I love to people watch. I like to watch people interact with one another. People are very interesting. The marriage relationship and how people treat each other is interesting. 

You can tell a lot about a couple through their body language. If they are holding hands, smiling at each other, and genuinely flirting with each other they are probably very happy in their marriage (at least to an observer like myself). If a couple seems to be avoiding eye contact, gets snippy with each other, or keeps their hands across their chest (signifying that they do not want to be touched) there are obvious problems. 

I've been around and witnessed my fair share of disgruntled married couples (and non-married couples). Some people are great "fakers". Even if they are fighting like cats and dogs behind closed doors, no one would ever know and that's the way it should be. 

I say all of this because it has been on my heart to write about being a wife again. I love being a wife. Of course, my wonderful husband makes it easy! Lately, I've been noticing more and more couples being down right mean to each other. It breaks my heart to see it happen. To be honest, most of the time it is the wife nasty and mean to her husband. Now I know that no husband (or man or woman) alive is perfect but I'm not here to discuss the husband's role (as I've never been one before). Men are wired differently than women. Nagging to death, yelling, and demanding a husband to behave a certain wait, say what you want, or do what you want will never me on this ladies. It wears him down, makes him feel like shutting down, and it kills his spirit. 

I've learned that the way to get what I want from my husband is to give him what he wants first. Most husbands don't want a squeaky clean house, a super model for a wife, and perfect children. What he really wants is to be respected and admired, loved and appreciated, needed at home, and kissed each day when they come home from work. They spend all day away from you and the kids. They have been torn down and worn down by his boss, customers, co-workers, etc. He just wants to come home and know that he is a hero to his wife and children. 

As a wife, I know that when I put God first, everything else seems to be better. My relationship with my husband, children, friends, and family is so much better when my relationship with my Heavenly Father is first in my life. 

I know I haven't been married a very long time (9 years) but Hubby and I have been through a lot. We both think of our marriage as a ministry. If what people see if fighting and arguing and hatefulness toward each other, that does not represent Christ very well. We try to be the best we can be so that others will see Christ through our marriage. ("Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." -1 Peter 3:1-2)  My husband has told me many times during an argument that he is most happy when I am happy. That is such an eye-opener to me. 

Here are 9 things I learned about marriage in 9 years:

1. Put God First
  • Make time for God every day. Give Him the best of your time not what's left over in the evening when you are exhausted.
2. Pray for your marriage and husband
  • Ask God to protect your marriage from sin. Ask Him to guard your husband from sin as he goes to work each day. Pray that God would show you new ways to show your love for your spouse. If there are serious problems between the two of you, pray for restoration of your marriage. With God anything is possible. Don't give up.
3. Don't nag, complain, or give orders to your husband
  • Men are humans too. He has had a hard enough day at work, give him a break and make your home a happy place for him to be. Make him sad to see you leave and happy to have you with him. He is imperfect just like everyone and in need of a Savior. Give him grace just as God has given you grace. Ok, so he doesn't do things your way or when you want it done. His mind processes things differently than ours. Remember the verse in the Bible It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife."  -Proverbs 21:9
4. Uphold your husband's reputation 
  • The only people that should know about your husband's flaws and faults are you and your husband. We shouldn't bash him in front of people. We shouldn't call our mother or best friend just to tell them the latest thing he did wrong. This kind of behavior could cause others to sin by thinking badly of someone else. Would you want him airing your dirty laundry on Facebook, to his co-workers, or to HIS mother?? Yikes! By the way, your children hear EVERYTHING. If you bad talk your husband, they will begin to think bad things about their daddy. We should only say uplifting and good things about him. Do we want our children to say and think bad things about us, as mothers? Think about it...
5. Don't belittle your husband
  • Whether in public or private this should never be done. Jesus would never condone this kind of treatment toward someone. It is hurtful and embarrassing. Try this instead: when something negative comes to mind about your spouse immediately replace that thought with something positive about him. You married him for some reason(s) or another. Even if you have to think back to the "dating years", do so. 
6. Don't argue in front of anyone
  • This is a huge "no-no". Not only does it look bad for both of you, it makes other people feel uncomfortable. Also, and this is very important, never argue in front of your children. They copy your behavior...good and bad. They want their parents to love each other. How can we expect them to learn how to love if we are unloving toward the most important person to us? Be the example of love that they wish to have one day with their future spouse. 
7. Make time for each other
  • Remember when it was just the two of you? The all-night conversations, holding hands, romantic dinners, long walks...Now you have jobs, children, finances to budget, a house to clean, general demands in life. With all of the busyness of life comes less time to reconnect. Take time at least once a month to do something together. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. You just need each other. You don't even have to leave your house. Take the kids to a sitter, grandparent, neighbor, someone you trust for a few hours or overnight. Do something that you both like: go for a walk, go to your favorite restaurant, watch a movie, stay home and hold hands on the couch. Anything is good. Keep the love alive!
8. Enjoy the man that God blessed you with
  • If he comes home right away every night from work (regardless of the hour), if he loves you, if he loves your children, and, most of all, if he loves God you are truly blessed with a good man. He may not be perfect (because no one is), he may do things a little differently than you, but he is yours. Cherish him. Love him. God gave this specific man to you. Enjoy the blessing that he is. 
9. Be intimate with your man and often
  •  "But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." -1 Corinthians 7:2-5
          Ladies, this is tricky because our bodies are made completely different than our husbands body (other than the obvious). They WANT to be intimate with their wife. I think the Bible verse above explains it         perfectly. Just consider this part one of the perks of being married :) Afterall, I married my husband for       his looks anyway. LOL!

One more thing I would like to mention is how we should treat our spouse. If a wife is always dissatisfied with her husband and never pleased no matter what, there is a serious problem. Pray about this. Treat him like you want to be treated. We don't have to live miserably. We have a choice everyday to be happy in our marriage or miserable (unless there are extenuating circumstances). I always say this prayer in troubled times "change ME, O Lord". I've noticed, often times, that my husband plays off of my attitude. He can be in the best mood and happy. But if I've mean and put him down, he gets a bad attitude as well. Also, and this goes for any relationship, don't let your circumstances determine your reaction. Practice self control.

We are all under pressure in some way or another. Let us practice Galatians 5:22-23 (the fruits of the spirit) at all times. 

I don't want anyone to think that I have this whole marriage thing mastered by any means. I am a work in progress. As long as I'm working toward being what God called me to be as a wife, mother, and person I'm headed in the right direction. 

50% of marriages (including Christian marriages) end in divorce. We need to get that number way down. The only way to do that is to put God first!

These are all my opinions, of course, but I feel strongly about this subject. I mainly wrote this blog post for myself as a reminder to be the best wife I can be. I pray that someone else will be blessed by it as well. 




Gail @ said...

Good lessons, all of these. Marriage is a wonderful gift from God, but one that needs deliberate, continual attention.
Bless you.

Kasey @ Walking Redeemed said...

This is awesome! Excellent, excellent lessons!