As a I approached my 10 year wedding anniversary I wanted to take some time to reflect on the lessons I’d learned from a decade of wifing, as I like to call it. There are hundreds of things I’ve learned about me, him, and certainly about God, so I decided to make a list of the lessons that have been life-changing.
If you missed the first five lessons, you can read them by clicking here.
If not, here are the next five…
6. Learn from those who’ve been married longer.
We had the massive blessing of having 9 months of premarital counseling before we said ‘I do’ and have also had several couples invest in us over the years. We’ve been in small groups with other couples who were willing to be real and raw, and we’ve chosen to be honest with couples who would tell us like it is. We’ve also had professional help at times!
If you believe you are always growing and learning as an individual and have no problem seeking advice as a woman, or a mother, why wouldn’t you put that same effort into your marriage? Asking for help is not weak, it is WISE.
We have a specific couple that actually shares our anniversary. One year we did a weekend staycation together to celebrate. We still reach out to them often when we find ourselves in a rut or disagreement that needs mediation.
So, don’t be afraid—reach out. Not sure where to start? Church is a great place to look!
Asking for help is not weak, it is WISE.
7. Be his biggest fan.
It’s no secret—our men need attention. Lots of it. (Ok… Truth be told, WE DO TOO!)
Sometimes I knowingly let this slide and don’t give him the attention he deserves—and this is dangerous. I don’t want him looking for it elsewhere, do I? Too many marriages are currently in trouble (or have ended) because one or both spouses stopped pursuing the other.
A few days ago, The Mommy Tribe issued a challenge to stop whatever you’re doing when your husband gets home to give him an undivided 10 minutes. Convicting! But wise wise words for wives. Our men need to know we see them, we still think they’re the bomb, and no other woman could ever love them more.
I often think of Philippians 4:8 that tells us to “focus on the fine, good things” and I allow it to remind me to think about the man I married—and then go a step further—to tell him what those good things are…regularly!
8. Take time to unplug and focus on each other.
We are not the best at this, and it’s pretty easy to see that when we DON’T make quality time as a couple a priority, we just get…off.
Work. And our son. And chores…they all pile up. Sure, they are important, but if we don’t take time to invest in US then it’s bad-news-bears for everyone.
So, to celebrate our anniversary we went away to take time and focus on each other! We really needed the opportunity to do so!
9. Expectations can ruin EVERYTHING—if you let them.
When you get engaged you have lots of ideas about how marriage will be… Full of happiness, compromise, and excitement all the time…
Then you’re married and all of a sudden things aren’t as you expected. Most of the time.
Now expectations themselves aren’t so bad—it’s when they become deal-breakers and you choose to cling so tightly to them that no spouse can ever measure up. This is a recipe for disaster in a marriage.
We’ve had more than our fair share of unmet expectations. They sneak up and ruin things All. The. Time. But—in marriage, you’ve got to learn to call out that expectation—and then make like Elsa and LET. IT. GO!
For the sake of the oneness… The unity… The US.
I’ve been practicing this very concept a lot lately, and I encourage you to keep it in mind too!
10. The biggest and most important one: Marriage is not for me.
You read that right. It’s not for me in that it’s not ABOUT me. It’s not about me and it’s not even about my husband.
Marriage can make for a happy, fulfilling, enjoyable life… But that is not its intended purpose. Nope.
Marriage is about Jesus. It’s for Him. It’s a picture of how deeply, unconditionally, and fully He loves His bride—the Church.
When I stood at the altar in my pretty white dress and said “I do” to the man of my choosing, I promised to love him and to be faithful to him out of my love for God. I promised to represent God in my wifing and devote myself to one human for the rest of my life (or his). I said YES to a daily process of having my selfishness tested, my comforts tried, and my independence set aside. I choose to submit myself to Paul because God said that’s how He ordered marriage. I choose to do things “God’s way” because I trust God and want to honor Him. He went the full distance to secure my salvation, so I can choose to give my full life in service, submission, and selflessness to Paul.
Note: I fall disappointingly short as a wife most days. Yet, because God is so good, He loves me anyway. And so does Paul. When Paul falls short of his responsibility to protect or provide or lead—I choose to give grace—because I’ve been given said grace.
Because marriage is not about us.
It’s a gift—a covenant that isn’t changed by circumstances or feelings. It’s a promise of unconditional love.
It’s really great, really hard, really rewarding, and really underrated. It’s really, a picture of grit and grace.
If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up.