Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marriage 101.....The Series.....Part I

There must be something of value to someone in this post because there has been a myriad of  interruptions, computer challenges and discouragements to get it written and posted.  If this is for you....I apologize for the delay........
You've said the "I do's", gotten settled into a pleasant enough day to day routine and the honeymoon phase is pretty much winding down.....now what?  As I mentioned a few posts ago, I do not profess to be a marriage expert on any level, but I do have some experience in that arena, both good and bad.  That is what I bring to the table and what I am willing to be transparent about.  I made many many mistakes in my first marriage and by God's grace learned a little which has helped me to be a better, but not mistake free wife this time around.  When I said my vows this time I knew it was forever, I did not have that assurance the first time.
Divorce is something that I carry much guilt and shame about and I do not consider to be an option in my life any longer.  My Prince and I have a wonderful friendship, a bond unlike any I have ever known and after almost 8 years are only more deeply in love with each other than we were the day we said 'I do' barefoot on the beach in Jamaica.  Life is good, but certainly not easy.  Marriage requires effort and the ability to put someone else first, time and time again even when you don't want to.  This is a skill that did not in any way come naturally to me.  It has been hard work at times.  But I have to be honest and tell you that for me personally the benefits have far outweighed the effort required of me. 
Photo Credit
 And...somewhere along the way it became less like effort and more like a desire to please.... I know crazy huh?
Several years ago I read Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl which brought with it much conviction and a new perspective about my role as a wife.  During the time I was reading the book, something in me shifted and the way I viewed  marriage and my role within our marriage changed.  I began to see God's plan for  marriage in a way I never had before.  I was able to step out of selfish pride and allow God to soften my heart for my husband and his needs.  For that I am grateful.....and so is My Prince ;-)  At first, he did not know I was reading the book, but as things began to change he knew something was up....he joked about not knowing what he might come home to each day.  I began to really look at my role as his wife as an opportunity to minister to him and felt called to encourage and support him in all he did, something, truthfully, I had never even considered before.  I did things that required time or effort or both on my part and the strangest thing began to happen - I found myself looking forward to doing things for him.  I would get excited about a new idea or surprise I might have planned.  Not everything I did was a bulls-eye, but overall, my efforts were well received and I in turn felt more love and connection with my husband than I ever had.  Is our marriage perfect, no, but I can honestly say it is very happy and for me it really is my fairy tale.  There are days we snap and snarl but there is never any question of our forever.
What I really want to leave you with today is this....marriage is hard, but you can do things to make it more enjoyable and deepen the bond you share with Your Prince! First and foremost, pride has got to go girls!  If you put all your energy into what he said (or didn't), what he did (or didn't) you are equipping yourself for a losing battle.  Forget what he said, did, didn't do or what kind of thoughtless clod he may have been and extend some good old fashioned love and kindness his way.  If your typical greeting at the end of the day is a spewing laundry list of everything the kids did to drive you over the edge or how much you hate your job, or all the drama on Facebook (ouch) today then you might as well forget about having any of your emotional needs met in your marriage, because sweetie - those things will kill a mans desire to connect with you emotionally in no time flat!  (I believe in saying it plain...I love you).  You have to park your pride and your issues at the rear and put your hubby's needs before your own. 
 Proverbs 21:19 (NIV)
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
He is your man, you know what he needs! Set aside a little time to really consider how you can support him daily, what things please him, maybe he would appreciate a home packed lunch once or twice a week with a note, where you could share a sweet memory, dream a little about the future or even encourage him in something he may be going through at work.  Pray about what you can do that will bless him most right now.  Think about it and then formulate a plan. 
In my house, some fitted clothes instead of baggy sweats, a little squirt of something pleasing to the nose, a loving greeting at the door sans complaints and  good meal are a great thing to come home to and set the tone for an enjoyable evening together.  I am fortunate to be home and able to make this happen pretty often, you may not be - work with your circumstances.  Men really are made happy pretty easily.  If you are unsure of what he wants....ask....he will tell you ;-)  Then do it....even if it is one small thing at a time, baby steps, imperfect progress....it will get you there!
 Proverbs 12:4 (NIV)
 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Now is a great time to start....it's almost February, this is a great lead in to gearing up for a wonderful Valentine's Day!  I have more ideas that I will share with you over the next few weeks....and it goes without saying that I would love for you to share yours as well!  Remember we are here to support and encourage each other!

Marriage matters and it pleases God when we function within our marriages as He planned for us to - He can't bless what we don't honor.  A pan of brownies or a thoughtful gesture goes a long way toward telling your guy that he is important and that he matters to you, that you think about him when he isn't around and that pleasing him is important to you.  You will reap a bountiful harvest for your efforts in ways that you would never imagine...really!!

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