This is a follow-up post to 5 Myths About Marriage That I Had to Get Over (Part 1)
Awkward intro time!
Here is the gist of it:
My hope is to speak the truth, in love, to my readers.
Some of these are myths that I have had to work through (and maybe still am) in my marriage. They are not my attempts to bestow my perfect wisdom on the unsuspecting masses. The truth is that marriage is an institution rooted in divinity but currently occupied by sinful and imperfect people who sometimes don’t know what to do with themselves. Unfortunately, compounding our struggles are the overly romanticized notions of love, marriage and relationships that are rampant today.
I struggle, my husband struggles – we will all struggle in our marriages. But our hope is ultimately in a perfect savior and sovereign God.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy!
3. It’s good to never fight.
No! No, no, NO! If done properly fighting really can be an OK thing. Fighting will happen and it probably should from time to time. The trick is learning how to “fight well.” That sounds silly, I know. And believe me, every argument that I have ever had with my significant other has not been the noblest endeavor. My husband and I have fought over un-shut cabinet doors, what day the calendar week starts on and everything else that is small and petty in between. No, I’m not proud of those things (unless I won…KIDDING!…maybe) but they were fights and they happened and we got over them (after we decided that I was right…kidding!)
Fighting does not equal relational failure. Sometimes, you will have to have it out. This doesn’t have to mean yelling, cursing or name calling or anything else that’s horribly traumatic. On the contrary, it affords us the chance to air our grievances with one another in what is hopefully a thoughtful and civil manner. Holding in what ails you does not benefit your relationship, it only creates bitterness. And the enemy will use that weakness to his advantage. Bitterness is a great way to let your marriage rot from the inside.
Reconciliation is the bedrock of the Christian faith. We were sinners, and yet God afforded us His son as the chance to be reconciled with him. And when I mean “sinners” I mean that we were unfaithful, dishonest, abusive, unkind and selfish people. Sound a lot like some of the more common marital issues?? It may sound like I’m generalizing, and there are some of you out there who are mentally telling me that I don’t understand how hard it can be, but please know that I am speaking this to you in love. I am speaking to you with a spirit of hope that believes that with God, all things are possible. And that true and deep reconciliation is always on the table when it comes to God. Because I have seen it and at times, I have experienced it.
Reconciliation is a beautiful, beautiful thing. When you bring issues to light, and you work through them, you sometimes find that what was so discouraging before isn’t actually as bad as you thought. Or, when you are bracing for impact at just the mere thought of having to have that conversation with your significant other, they utterly blow you away with their loving and receptive response. You have to give yourselves the chance to fix what’s broken.
Presupposing how your spouse will react to your concerns or issues is not an excuse to avoid bringing up issues. You are there to encourage and build up your spouse. But sometimes, you’re there to speak the truth in love. I know that this isn’t always easy to do, but regardless of that fact, we are called to encourage each other in Christ. Sometimes, that means having to be intentionally (even when it’s hard) loving in your own home first. Sometimes that means that you have to take the first step and quit thinking that it’s up to the other person.
If you find that you both have an issue that you just can’t resolve regardless of whatever angle you approach it from, it is most certainly worth it to seek outside counsel. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean a professional counselor, but there are benefits to having folks that you can consult and garner wisdom from. Keeping company with wise confidants is a good thing.
And if all else fails, perhaps consulting a professional counselor or talking with a brother or sister in Christ from church leadership would be wise. Your marriage is worth it and periodically it needs maintenance. Sometimes, that maintenance is a simple tire rotation or oil change – sometimes, you need a new filter or four new tires all together. It’s worth the investment. Make the time.
4. The so and so’s have the most perfectest marriage.
No. False. Nuh-uh.
Want to know what I did during an argument once? I threw raw chicken. Granted, the argument was actually a rather silly one and I of course wasn’t trying to hit anybody or anything with it. I was just trying to emphasize my point. Know what? The dogs were pretty happy. Know what else? I can’t remember what we were even arguing about.
I have left an open tube of toothpaste IN our bed before. My husband has flooded our laundry room and then the downstairs living room because he didn’t want to take the time to find the switch to turn off the water. Occasionally, we are both IDIOTS.
If you hung up a camera in our living room or just around the house in general, you’d see the real deal. Much like if you were a fly on the wall, scoping out pretty much anyone’s marriage – especially the ones where you thought the husband and wife have it the most together- you would see just how true the statement “nobody’s perfect” is. You would also probably see nose picking and occasional musical solos to Katy Perry in front of the bathroom mirror.
Just me? Oh.
Much like the notion of the perfect spouse, the perfect marriage doesn’t exist. And it’s nothing to get all bogged down about.
You’ll have fights that only the two of you are going to understand or care about. Like spatula fights…
Just us? Oh.
The point is that the Lord means it for our good when He implores us to not compare our lot with another. There are relational pains between the walls of every home. Sometimes, they are some seriously deep-rooted issues. And a lot of the time, they’re unspoken publicly. They are private and unique to each couple. But they are very real and very present. Instead of comparing your marriage to someone else’s or when you’re caught up thinking that the Jones’s have it all together, instead pray for them and reach out to them. Supporting each other is good, and is much more useful than making frivolous comparisons.
And like I said, my husband and I are idiots but at least we’re idiots that understand each other and that somehow work well together. We haven’t managed to burn the house down yet. Go home and hug your spouse and find contentment with where YOU are and with who you are with.
5. It’s supposed to die down as the years pass by.
This statement is actually kind of right on some levels. Rob and I have less energy, less money and less time together now that babies are in the picture. Our notion of romance used to be a spontaneous dinner date at a more upscale Italian restaurant on but a mere whim and because it was a day ending in “Y”. Now, it’s hoping to watch an hour of television (probably the news), uninterrupted, while snuggling on the sofa and eating Reese’s Cups. Much like the Marines, when the going gets rough, you must adapt and overcome. We used to be more open to laying awake until midnight talking about the future where as now, we’re hoping to (please please please) be asleep by 11 because 6 a.m. and four-year old’s come way to early.
Adapt and overcome.
There is no question that if Rob and I had the time and the energy and the means and the money and the sanity that we would get out of this house and do some awesome stuff. But we’re comfortable right where we are…and hopefully that place is on the couch. If you are languishing in the romance department of your marriage then you should take note of the season of life that you are in. Between homeschooling or getting the kids to school, work, obligations and errands having endless time to yourselves on a regular basis might not be possible.
And sometimes, you have to carve out (literally) niches of time where you and your husband can just be. I love flowers, I love random sushi dinners (hint, hint, honey!) but my favorite thing is when I get actual quality time with the guy I’m smitten over when he is simply being himself, charming, hilarious and sweet. I’d take that over dinner by candlelight anytime. Except for Christmas (KIDDING!).
Creativity is good – sometimes, I light candles and put a blanket down on the living room floor, tune up Otis Redding on Pandora and for 45 minutes, clad in flannel pj’s, we just ARE. We hang out. Making an effort is beyond worth it. It’s essential. Or else, you’ll feel like roommates. Not sure your guy is getting the hint, ladies? Sometimes, you just have to tell him what you need. And ladies, the ball is in our court just as much as their’s. Our guys just need to know that they are worth the romance and effort. So pick him up a pack of Nutter Butters and some of his favorite beer and surprise him when he walks in the door from work.
And don’t forget that if you had to, you could give these younger kids a run for their money any day of the week. For now, drink your Ovaltine and prop your feet up.
Well, there you have it. There are a few of you who probably stuck around to read all of this. You get a cookie. But not from me. In all seriousness, I hope that this was helpful. And in all seriousness, I’m probably tapped out of wisdom for the next month or so because children literally suck away all of your brain cells. Be lucky that you got this much.
Have a great week together, folks!