Today is a big day in my home. Today marks 7 years married. I have been married to an amazing man that I am completely in love with.
These last 7 years I have grown so much as a wife, a mom, and a woman. Courtney and I have experienced many hardships throughout our marriage but we have also experienced so much joy and laughter during the same period. Isn’t it amazing how life can be so hard and yet so beautiful all at the same time?
To celebrate my anniversary I thought I would compile a list of the top 7 things I have learned these last 7 years.
1. Have an Eternal Perspective
I think one of the very most important things couples should do is have and share an eternal perspective. Marriage can be hard at times. So, what gets us through those hard times? In my marriage what has gotten us through the hard times is God. Courtney and I decided that we wanted to be together forever. No “till death do us part”, we wanted forever. If we are committed to each other forever we better like each other and both be actively thinking on an eternal plan. If we are both focused on having God at the center of our lives then we will constantly be growing closer to each other.
2. Spend Time Together
Life get’s busy. Being an adult is hard work and it is time-consuming. As adults, we have jobs, healthy routines, social lives, and then we add another adult and their feelings into the mix. And then we start adding tiny humans into the mix. Yikes! It is a disaster waiting to happen IF we don’t make for the things that are important to us. Hopefully, your spouse is the most important thing in your life, second only to God.
Make time for each other. Continue to date each other. Dating outside of the home can be difficult and expensive so sometimes we have to improvise. Courtney and I hardly ever get actual date nights. Babysitters are hard to come by and it is so expensive. Unfortunately, babysitters for my 3 kids are not in the budget very often so Courtney and I have improvised.
Most often Courtney and I have date nights in our front room. Ha Ha! We get the kids to bed and then we will have a movie or game night. We discuss our goals and plans. Courtney will make me laugh till I am crying and I will fall in love with him all over again. We don’t do fancy dates. But, we do spend quality time together.
Do not forget to turn off your phones. It is too easy to get sucked into the mindless scrolling.
We have all heard that we need to be patient with our spouses and we will have to compromise. This should not be new information to anyone married. What may not be aware of is how frequently we need to engage in these practices.
Do not get me wrong, I love my husband, but he can drive me bat crazy sometimes. The way he eats cereal drives me nuts! It is so loud and he has way too much slurping. For my husband, he hates the fact that I am a terrible passenger in the car. But guess what? Neither of us gets after the other for these things…often anyway. We have learned to show each other a bit of patience on these little issues.
I grouped Compromise with patience because they go hand in hand. To have a happy and successful marriage, it is important to compromise. If you both are willing to compromise occasionally it makes it so neither of you is constantly giving in. It’s important to pick your battles. If you were to demand everything be a certain way all the time I guarantee your partner would be feeling insignificant. We want our spouses to feel important and valued.
4. Flirt with Eachother
This one is fun! Remember when you were dating? Do you remember how fun it was to be together? I remember when I was dating my husband I was always so giddy to be with him? Why? Because he flirted with me. He made me feel desired. He did everything he could to make me laugh and he was attentive to me. Not to his phone, not to the tv, but ME! Courtney is amazing at making me feel beautiful and desired even if I haven’t showered in 3 days.
Though the way we flirt has changed over the years, we both flirt…all the time with each other. I know without a doubt that he loves me and would choose me again and I pray that he knows I feel the same.
5. Allow Space
As much as I love my husband and want to spend time with him I recognize that he has his hobbies and passions just as I do.
My husband is an AVID fisherman. When I say avid I don’t mean that he enjoys hitting the river. I mean that his heart is in the shape of a fish. If he is not fishing he is researching fishing. If he can’t go fishing for some reason he is tying flies. Fishing is his thing. I am so grateful he has something that he is so passionate about. But, to be honest. I do not want to go fishing every day, every week, or even every month. I enjoy fishing so I like to go occasionally but I would oftentimes rather be enjoying nature in another way. Because fishing is such an important part of him I try hard to not guilt him when he takes his time to go. I hate to say I allow him to go because I am not his boss but he is really good about asking me if he can go fishing and I feel as if I am good at saying yes.
I don’t have anything like fishing, but I do still require some time. Courtney has never once guilted me for taking some me time. He encourages me to take some time. He realizes that I need time to recharge. Fishing recharges him. I still don’t necessarily know what recharges me but I know that when I need to be recharged he will do whatever he can to make sure I get the charging I need.
6. Experience New Things Together
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we don’t miraculously hit age 30 and have suddenly experienced everything we should or want to. One of my favorite things to do with Courtney is to share new experiences. Courtney and I love to explore together. We are not the daredevil types. You will never see either of us cliff jumping or sky diving but you will find us backpacking through the mountains or driving cross country. We love going and exploring nature together. We love building memories with each other. I can’t begin to tell you how many things we have done together that we still talk about. And the great part is now with kids we want to take them on these trips so they can experience things with us. I think it is pretty darn magical watching your children discover the beauty around us while you are standing hand in hand with the love of your life.
7. Have a Common Goal
My last thing is having a common goal. As individual people, we have individual goals. My goals vary greatly from my husband’s goals. Because of this if we are not careful it is easy for us to begin focusing on our individual goals and as a result, we may subconsciously place our spouses on the back burner. I have learned that to combat this it is vital in my marriage for us to have a common goal.
Right now in my marriage, Courtney and I are focusing on a financial goal. Because we are both aware of this goal and both want to see it become a reality we are both working towards it. Imagine how hard it would be if your goal was to save $10,000 in an emergency fund but your spouse kept buying Starbucks every day. Eventually, it would cause contention in your marriage because you are giving up your daily diet coke but your spouse won’t stop spending money. It would cause issues.
Now imagine how fast you could achieve your goals if both of you are on board! Imagine how fast you could save money if you both were cognitively aware of the money you are spending. We need to cheer each other on in our individual goals but if we can share a common goal and both be on board not only does it provide us with a built-in support system but it gives us accountability. Also, when you finally reach that goal the feeling of pride and love is immeasurable. The gratitude you feel towards your spouse is intense which leads to a deeper love.
So… in case you missed it. I love my husband. I am eternally grateful he chose me and that I chose him. We have worked hard on our marriage and I can say that it is worth it.
I am sure that in another 7 years my list will adjust and grow. Life is about progression and I am lucky that I am with someone that I want to progress with. I hope these 7 things I listed can help strengthen your marriage just as they have for my marriage.
Marriage can be hard, but if you put in the work it is the most beautiful relationship. I chose Courtney every day. He is a part of my future and I hope to be an exceptional wife to him for all time.
XOXOX ~ Charley