8 years ago today I walked down the aisle in the middle of a beautiful pecan grove…in Phoenix where you can walk down the aisle outside in March…towards my best friend. The day was perfect, as any bride would say of their wedding day. Surrounded by our friends and family, we made our vows to one another, promising…forever.
It was all so dreamy back then. I remember thinking how amazing marriage was, how lovely love was, how incredible we were as a newly married couple.
These are the musings of a young bride. I’ve been in this partnership now for almost a decade and have learned a thing or two about marriage. Please allow me to share with you some thoughts from a more seasoned bride.
1. Remember Your Vows
Seriously…go back and watch the video or find your notes. What did your vows say? Keep those words in your mind, turn them over in your heart on a regular basis. They will hopefully remind you of why you chose him/her.
2. Continue to Pursue
Remember all the things you used to do for each other during your dating life? The notes, the texts, the random flowers just because? I do. And those same things that I loved then, I love now. My husband did those things to pursue me, to show me not only his interest but his commitment. In the years since, we’ve had to remind each other of those things to reignite the pursuit. There’s no harm in reminding, we all forget, so tell your partner that you loved it when they used to do___________-. And remember to return the favor!
3. Kids Will Change Your Marriage
I don’t think there’s much I need to say about this. Make sure that your marriage is built to outlast your kids. In other words, don’t make your kids the center of your marriage, otherwise when they’re gone you’ll have nothing left to talk about. Period.
4. Unplug to be Heard
We live in an age where we can be connected at all times in all places…even the dinner table. I believe it is absolutely necessary to set clear boundaries with each other regarding the use of electronics with each other and with your kids. In order to be truly heard you need to have the other’s undivided attention. You can’t have their attention when someone is clicking away at their iPhone or iPad or Android, etc, etc. This one is an ongoing struggle for us.
5. Don’t Bottle Up Anger
It may be ok to go to bed angry but it’s far better to share your hurts, your struggles, and your issues with your spouse than to bottle up all that crap inside. We all know what happens to a bottle when it’s put under pressure. It explodes! And so will we if we don’t feel the freedom to share what’s bothering us with our spouses. If there’s something there set some time aside to talk it out.
6. Sex Challenge
What? Here are some suggestions…turn the lights on if you typically leave them off. See what’s there. Or turn them off if you usually have them on…how does darkness change things. Here’s another suggestion…if you have sex once a month try increasing it to twice a month or once a week. Buy some cheap lingerie or a toy. Sexual intimacy increases marital intimacy.
7. Dates are a Must
I’m going to preface this and say that date nights are NOT a must. I don’t believe that it’s always possible or feasible to have a date night depending on economic situations or cultural practices. I do think that it’s wise to get some time alone with your spouse on a regular basis. This could mean a walk, a coffee, whatever it is to get alone with your partner.
8. Be Interested in Each Other’s Interests
You each have your own pursuits whether it’s work, hobbies or other accomplishments. Take the time to inquire about them or engage in them. I have a friend who joined World of Warcraft because it was another way to spend time with her husband. Talk about extra points! Encourage your partner, no matter if you think it’s the most boring thing in the world, and that encouragement will come back to you.
9. Figure Out Their Love Language & Execute
What really speaks to your partner? What communicates big love? I know for my husband it’s food! Not that I’m a fabulous cook, although at times I do nail it in the kitchen. However, if I want to get his attention we get some really good food to eat. Challenge yourself to find different ways to say I love you.
10. Forgive Each Other
I was once told that being in love never means having to say you’re sorry. What kind of crud is that? Loving someone means having to say you’re sorry…a lot! It also means that when your partner wrongs you…and they will…you’ll need to learn how to forgive. This is probably the most invaluable lesson I’ve learned. Forgiveness is powerful and full of love.
I love my husband and we have grown and matured in our marriage in these last 8 years. I’m thankful for so much, all the joy and all the hurt. Let’s press into the next 8!