As I approached my 10 year wedding anniversary, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the lessons I’d learned through 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. Here are the first 5.
1. Age isn’t an excuse to quit.
I was a mere 21 years old when we said, “I do.” That’s pretty rare these days. “Getting married young,” is a common excuse I hear when it gets hard and people are looking for reasons to “escape” the marriage. I’ve heard it a lot during my wedded days—friends, celebrities, and strangers alike often cite it, but marriage is hard and good and worth fighting for. Just like you, me, and wine … it gets better with age.
2. Marriage is not 50/50. It’s 100/100.
I know. Mind. Blown.
You’ve heard it said, and have probably said it yourself: marriage only works when you both give 50%. But, that breaks down because inevitably there will come a time when your spouse gives less than that (or worse, you perceive they’re giving less), so then you give less, and you start growing apart, inch by inch. Mile by mile.
So no, I dare say it, marriage is about you giving 100%, and trusting God that your spouse is going to give 100% too, but choosing to give all of yourself to that man. You vowed it. So you do it.
3. Marriage is the safest environment for kids to grow up in. But it can’t be for their benefit alone.
Now, this is biased. I didn’t grow up in a traditional home where marriage was valued, but my husband did (but no family is perfect and there were childhood wounds in either case—such is life, I suppose). We chose to wait to start our family until we felt like we were stronger in our marriage—so 8 years in. It is my hope that our son (and future sibling, fingers crossed) will grow up feeling confident that their parents love each other, and not just because we want it to be ‘easier’ for them … but because we truly love and value each other. I think too many people stay together “for the kids” and their kids are actually smarter than that. They know what’s really happening. When that’s the case, it teaches them that marriage can become co-existing and it’s ‘the same.’ Well, it’s not. Your child needs to see you fight for love in your marriage. Then they will learn to do the same.
So no, I dare say it, marriage is about you giving 100%…
4. Prayer is most often the answer to your marriage problem.
About two years in I found myself swimming in disappointment, unmet expectation, frustration, and downright fear of the future never being any better. I sought counsel from wise women around me who encouraged me to pray. I agreed this was a good idea, but I didn’t know what else to pray except “God, change him!” … I know. That is so proud.
Thankfully, I found a book and it put words and prayers to the issues I was (and still am) dealing with as a wife, but now I’ve developed the habit of praying more than I grumble. More than I nag. More than I allow bitterness to build up. Now, keeping it real—I still grumble, nag, and get bitter, but less, because I’ve learned from personal experience that prayer is more effective. I highly recommend The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian.
Because of this strong conviction that prayer is crucial, I do a daily live Facebook video for wives wanting to develop this habit—friend me on Facebook (you can even just click to follow!) and you can be a part. It’s just real talk for wives like me—or women who hope to one day be a wife, start praying for your future husband even now! I also wrote more about this important habit here.
5. No marriage is perfect.
How could it be? You put two incredibly selfish people (let’s be honest, mmmmk?) living in a house together (and in our case, who have never lived together or with another relationship partner before) and expect them to each make good on their promise to put the other person first. Most days, that goes against every fiber of your being!
There are arguments. Disagreements.Boring seasons. Busy seasons. Stressful seasons.
We can start comparing our marriage to the exciting relationship that just became official on our Facebook feed, or even to the honeymooners we used to be … and all of the sudden comparison steals our joy and we become dissatisfied in our marriage.
But wisdom says to focus on watering your own grass, so it stays nice and green.
Read the next 5 lessons here!