Since I’m taking time this month to reflect on my favorites, I absolutely MUST include my sweet hubby. Of everything I have been so graciously blessed with, my husband is, by far, my greatest blessing. He is the most kind, caring, generous, compassionate, thoughtful, patient, loving, hardworking, funny, handsome man I’ve ever known (and he will be the most incredible father EVER). I know that I am extremely lucky to be married to someone embodying such wonderful characteristics &, believe me, I try not to take him for granted. We will be married 13 years in June & I can honestly say I love him so much more today than on our wedding day. After all, we do have 13 years worth of ‘bonding moments’ under our belts now. 😉
What exactly is it that makes our marriage work so very well??? My husband & I were talking about that very subject just this weekend. It seems appropriate that, since I’m talking about my husband today, I discuss what we believe makes our marriage work. After all, he is my most favorite & I want nothing more than to love, protect, honor, & cherish him. Please note: I am in no way an expert on relationships! I am merely speaking from personal experience & conversations my husband & I have shared about our personal relationship; specifically what we believe makes our marriage work so well.
We build each other up. We wholeheartedly believe spouses shouldn’t speak badly about one another to friends or family (or Facebook, or Twitter, etc., etc., etc.). I have a few friends & acquaintances who seem to enjoy a good ‘husband-bashing’ session & while that may seem entertaining at the time (and seems to be a bonding experience among some women), it can be so very damaging to the husband/wife relationship. Words are damaging; once a statement is uttered, it can’t be taken back. Sure you can later say you didn’t really mean what you said or that you were just kidding, or that you were angry & speaking out in anger; but the truth of the matter is, those words are still out there. Honestly, when I hear a friend bashing her husband, my mind begins subconsciously creating an image of her husband (accurate or not–it’s how our minds work). Even if my friend later retracts the statements about her husband, that image has already been formed in my mind & it can’t ever be completely undone. I don’t want my friends to ever paint a negative picture of my husband in their minds; therefore, I offer no ‘husband-bashing’ fodder. Instead, I strive to lift up my husband to others. I know how fabulous he is & I want others to know that as well. My husband shares this belief & chooses to never ‘wife-bash’ with his friends or family. In no way do I believe my husband & I are perfect spouses; we have our share of disagreements & unlovable moments, but we choose to work those out together in the privacy of our home & not ‘air out our dirty laundry’ to friends, family, neighbors, and/or social media. If a relationship is meant to last, it should be protected, cherished, & revered. Besides, the world is hard enough on us; our marriage is a shelter from the world’s barrage of cruelty,
We’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. The small stuff can easily become big stuff if you let it. It seems we all have small things (plumbing problems, a looming tuition fee due date, new job hunting, negative pregnancy tests, running out of coffee, a phone refusing to connect to wifi, etc. etc. etc.) all around us constantly just waiting to steal our joy & ruin our day/week/month/year/decade/life. (Do you see how those small things can snowball into big things???) Anyway, when faced with these issues, we’ve found it important to step back & survey the situation & make a plan. My husband is truly a champ when it comes to making a plan; he tackles most everything with a plan. I’m so very thankful for his willing can-do attitude, because I typically gauge my stress level by his outlook. We’ve noticed over the years that most situations we’re faced with are rather insignificant in comparison to the larger picture & should be treated as such.
We value one another’s interests. I admit, my husband and I don’t share all interests. He’s a sports fanatic; I’m not a sports fan (at all). I love to antique; I’m pretty sure he’d rather have some type of surgical procedure than spend the day antiquing. He’s quite frugal; I’m not. I cook; he eats. He’s an organizer; I have a system of organization that only I understand. He doesn’t keep up with technology; I admittedly have a ‘techy’ side. So, what do we have in common with each other? We love each other & we’re committed to our marriage. We truly care about one another (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) & want the best for the other. Because we love & care for one another, we step outside our comfort zones in order to engage in activities that makes the other happy. For example: from time to time, I will watch a sporting event with my husband because it’s something he enjoys & I want to share the experience with him. In turn, sometimes he will stroll through an antique store with me because he knows it’s one of my favorite pastimes (no surgical procedures necessary). We share many common interests & spend lots of quality time together cultivating our shared interests; however, we believe it’s important to show love for one another by valuing & participating in each other’s independent interests as well.
We do things together. This is when those shared interests really come in handy, although I am perfectly happy just spending time at home with my husband. In fact, my favorite thing to do is watch television together in bed while resting my head on his shoulder. Doing things together doesn’t necessarily have to be a bona fide date night; they can be as simple as eating dinner together, cleaning the house together, planning vacations together (including those ultimate dream vacations you’ll take when you will the lottery), grocery shopping together, gardening together, etc. When we’re together, we reconnect, recharge, & communicate; we must do this regularly & often to maintain a strong, healthy, real connection. In fact, the Christmas gift I gave my husband focused on maintaining our connection as a married couple. I (with the help of the fine folks at Vistaprint.com) created a 2014 calendar peppered with a variety of unique dates & activities for us to share throughout the year. All the dates/activities planned are either completely free or cost very little to implement. The goal for these dates/activities is spending quality time together, not spending money on each other. I’ll include a few examples of the calendar at the end of this post for anyone interested in creating something similar.
We don’t always have to do everything together. Even though we spend lots of time together, we don’t spend every waking moment together & that’s a good thing. In order to be our best selves when were together, we need to spend some time alone and with family/friends. My husband & I are both introverts & we feel spending time alone (writing a dissertation, playing a sport, writing a blog post, answering emails, reading, walking, napping, etc.) is vital for our well being. We never spend more than a few hours apart, but that’s enough for us to recharge & be ready to reconnect with one another.
We share our faith. Christ is the head of our marriage, ultimately holding everything together. We pray for one another throughout the day & pray together daily. We’ve learned forgiveness, patience, kindness, & unconditional love for one another from Christ’s example. Over our past 13 years together, we’ve realized that we are not in control (in fact we’re far from it), things don’t happen according to our timeline, and worrying about the future is futile. If it hadn’t been for our faith in God, I don’t know if we would be the strong, connected couple we are today. I began praying for my future husband as a fifteen year old girl at church camp. I had no idea who my future husband was, how/where we would meet, or what kind of person he was, but I knew God had already taken care of these small details. We finally met 8 years after I began praying for him & as we got to know one another, he revealed situations he experienced where my prayers for him was obvious. I am thankful for a strong Christian husband & a marriage based on our faith in Christ.
I could go on about my wonderful husband, but it’s late & this blogger must get to bed to rest her weary head on her husband’s comforting shoulder for a few precious moments. Goodnight & sweet dreams. 🙂
Below are a few images from the calendar I created for my husband: