I don’t feel qualified to give marriage advice. However, when the going gets tough, I’m too far away to run to grandma’s house, so I run to Jesus instead and He reminds me of some really great advice I’ve collected over the years.
Forgive your husband for not being perfect. Thank God my husband loves me in spite of my glaring imperfections. Why in the world do I sometimes expect him to be so perfect? Just do it (and don’t forget to do it again tomorrow).
Date night. Do it. Figure out a way to make it a priority. It is worth it. I promise. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to celebrate the big days. At some point it’s tempting to stop making a big deal over this relationship because we lack time, resources and energy. We can easily stop reminiscing about the good times and stop making more good times. Before we know it, we’re no longer excited about “us”. Yikes! So, make space for the anniversary date and keep baking his favorite birthday cake even though you’re sick of that recipe by now (and have fun sorting out what it looks like in your new country).
What you’re doing is hard. And keeping up with your marriage in the midst of it all is harder. Marriage is hard anywhere. However, marriage outside of your home culture is even harder (especially in the first year or so). On top of managing a new job, new culture, new surroundings, new friends, new way of life, new vegetables, new everything, you also get to deal with the way your husband is dealing with it all. And, he’s trying even harder to be graceful as he puts up with the way YOU are coping. Give each other a break. So many times we’ve found ourselves in an argument and finally got to the point of looking at each other and saying “What are we even saying?? Let’s forget this conversation ever happened and get on with our adventure.”
Best news ever…you get to bring your best friend along! As hard as we have it at times, I’ve always wondered if I’d be able to hack it as a single. They’ve got it harder. They say goodbye to EVERYONE at the airport. Me? I get to bring my best friend along!!! Don’t forget that. Keep up the friendship because it’s invaluable. Your hubby is the only one who really knows what you’re dealing with. He’s the only one who really knows how big that cock roach really was and how you screamed like a little girl when you found it. Inside jokes are lasting treasure. Hold on to them and be thankful of the way they link you to your husband.
You can only grow closer to your husband as you both grow closer to Jesus. You can think you’re growing closer to your husband, but actually be on completely different planes and miss each other. If you’re both growing toward the central point of Jesus (if he’s the tippy top of a pyramid and you’re anywhere else in the pyramid, if you’re growing closer to him and your husband is, too, you’ll also be growing closer together). If you’re both on a line, but on different planes, you will pass each other and grow apart at some point. I know that may be too much Geometry for some people, but I find it fascinating!
Conflict is the price of deepening intimacy. If I can keep this in mind in the midst of a disagreement (or heated battle) it will result in a better relationship. Hashing out our differences and fixing this glitch and troubleshooting the problem and sorting out the issues is like fertilizer, if you will. Throw some manure in the garden and you actually get better flowers!
Pray for your husband! Neglecting this is hurting your whole family. We’ve heard “happy wife, happy life.” Well, happy wife starts with prayerful wife on her knees for her husband. I’m not saying I always do great at this one, but every time I prioritize praying for my husband, I’m blessed in the process and by the results! Not in that “he’s doing everything wrong, God, so please set him right” kind of way…but in that “please help him live wisely and yearn for your presence as he goes about his day and thank you for establishing the work of his hands and multiply his efforts through your spirit, Lord” kind of way.
Say “No” to fruitless busy-ness so you can say “Yes” to your marriage. What is it that’s keeping you from connecting with your husband? Are you overcommitted? I tend to sign myself up for more than I can handle if left to my own devices. I ask my husband to help me say “No” to certain things. I need his help because it’s hard for me to say “No” to something that sounds good and interesting and I trust his judgment.
Keep it hot in the bedroom. No apologies. I couldn’t write a post on marriage and leave this out! How’s your intimacy? If you’re not into it, have you thought about why? I really and truly believe a good marriage is full of good sex. If you’re not getting any, you owe it to yourself and your husband and to figure out why.
Marriage is seasonal. There are times when things are going great and I feel like we must be the best couple on the planet. Then, there are times when I’d just rather not exert the effort and marriage is just plain hard.
Our three seasons of difficulty that have corresponded with my first trimesters of pregnancy have helped plant the truth of the seasonality of marriage. “For better or worse.” The hard times trained us to know that just because things aren’t shiny and bright right now doesn’t mean that we’ve lost it and we should give up. However, I urge you to look out for a dark season that doesn’t seem to end. There may be something else in the mix causing the season and a counselor could help you single out the problem and bring back the sun!
Now that I’ve shared my treasure trove of marriage advice with you, I’d love for you to return the favor! What advice have you held onto over the years that you’d like to share with us today?