4 (more) Things I’ve learned in 1 Year of Marriage

 

images

My husband and I will celebrate our One Year Anniversary this weekend.  This year has gone by so quickly, yet he & I joke about how it feels like we’ve always been married.  As mentioned in a previous post,  just because I am a professional counselor does not mean I am a pro at being married.  It has truly been through trial and error, not book knowledge,  that I have learned the most. To follow up on my Post, 4 Things I’ve Learned in 4 Months of Marriage, I’d like to add four more lessons I’ve learned throughout my first year of marriage.

  1. Marriage as An Emotional Bank Account: There will be times in marriage when one person feels like they are putting in all of the work, or making all the deposits, and the other partner is making all the withdrawals. This can feel unfair. While I don’t agree with one partner always carrying all the weight of the responsibilities, there will be times when the workload may be uneven.  For example, if one spouse is injured, sick, or slammed with work.  This is where you need to think of your marriage like an emotional bank account. The more deposits one partner puts into his/her Marital Bank Account (i.e. the more you give & serve your partner), the more there will be to withdrawal when you need your partner to step up and carry more of the load.  While we try to maintain a balanced load of responsibility, there are times when life throws curve balls and we need to adjust. This does not mean having one partner carrying most of the household responsibilities all of the time, because this will cause other problems….but it is helpful to see your marriage like a bank account. When you are continually depositing into it….there will be more for you to withdraw from later.
  2. Use Your Manners: As simple as this sounds, it can be difficult to always follow through with. We can become comfortable with our spouse, knowing that they are committed to us forever, and it can be easy to take advantage of this in how we speak to them. Its amazing how far “please” and “thank you” can go in marriage.  While it is nice to be able to be completely yourself with your partner, this does not mean it is okay to be rude.  It is not okay to take out your stress on your partner.  It is not your spouse’s fault you had a tough day at work or your back hurts.  Use your manners, take a hot shower or fix a cup of tea to relax, but don’t be rude to your spouse. Being rude will only create a problem that was never there.  And if you do mess up, “I’m sorry can also go along way. Use your manners!
  3. Listen to One Another: My husband is a problem solver. He is very good at coming up with solutions to a wide variety of problems. Sometimes I am so focused on my point of view that I’m not hearing what he has to say about a situation. I typically later realize that he had a really good point/idea all along! We need to really listen to one another in the moment. So many of the couples I work with don’t ever “hear” one another – when in discussion they are only thinking of how they will defend their ideas/feelings rather than truly listening to their spouse. Feeling heard can and does equate with feeling loved.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff: There is a lot that happens in life that is difficult, but leaving the dishes out on rare occasion is not one of them. My husband and I have both been reminded of the fragility of life this past year through various circumstances. We have learned that we have a choice on whether or not to make something a big deal….and perspective is important. Living with another person will inevitably cause disagreements at times, but there are too many “big” things in life to let something small becoming big. If your spouse leaves his or her (let’s be honest – his) clothes in the floor, don’t let it ruin your day!

I look forward to continuing on this journey of marriage, learning a lot along the way. There are so many more ways to learn and grow, but for now we plan to sit back in thankfulness & celebration over the past year of joy.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Community is Key (Part 2): Pride

pride

“Pride is the deadliest poison that can kill a relationship”

-unknown

Have you ever spoken with someone who boasted so much about his accomplishments that you wanted to gag? Or they listed so many of their child’s achievements in school that you don’t even know their child and you don’t like her?  Have you been with a person when the conversation revolves around his new car, boat, or vacation? If nothing gets on your nerves more than a person who only talks about themselves or their own in a conversation….you have been on the receiving end of pride.

Pride is a community & relationship killer.   It can lie to us and make us believe that we don’t need others/community.  It lets us think we can achieve things for ourselves.  The world tells us to be independent and achieve on our own.  However, God designed us to be in community with others, helping them and allowing others to help us.  Pride crowds out other people…Pride crowds out God. Pride causes us to take credit for what God has done.

There are 2 types of pride, the first being selfish pride. This can be defined as “excessive confidence or glorification in one’s self, possessions or nation.”  Synonyms for pride include arrogance, haughtiness and conceit, among others. In the Bible, selfish pride caused Satan to believe he didn’t need God and wanted to be his own god.  The Bible says in Isaiah 14:14, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (New International Version).  Satan’s pride caused him to fall away from God and in turn he temped Adam and Eve to do the same.  Genesis 3:5 says, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (New International Version).  Adam and Eve’s pride caused them to disobey God and sin (separation from God) entered the world.  As you can see, this type of pride produced division. 

The Bible also speaks of a healthy form of pride. This type of pride does not create division.  It is pride in others that are living in obedience to God.  It is the reasonable self-respect we have in ourselves and others. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians  7:4, “I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds” (New International Version).  Here, Paul is speaking of his confidence in Christians.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says “…Therefore I will boast all he more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  Paul is boasting in  the strength that comes from the Lord.

Pride has caused me to resist seeking help.   Being a business owner creates a lot of extra expenses, and I wanted to figure out how to manage my money on my own.  Pride caused me to not want to receive help from anyone & to make sure I was saving well for all my business expenses –instead I would stress out every time an expense came up.  Once I finally admitted I couldn’t do this on my own, I reached out to someone for some guidance.  Pride diminishes our capacity to admit: we need help, we did wrong, etc. It prevents us from the community God designed to help us.

Pride also prevents us from acknowledging and apologizing.  Lets face it: we are human and will mess up.  Saying you are sorry means swallowing your pride and acknowledging your mistakes.  Only through admitting, apologizing, and forgiveness do relationships and communities stay in tact.  Pride tempts us to believe we are right even when we were very wrong.

Pride tempts us to take credit for what God has really done. Even if we feel we worked really hard to achieve a goal, like raising a well-behaved child or advancing at work, it is God who gives us life, breath, and abilities — and ultimately does what He wants.  Though God does ask us to work our hardest for Him (Colossians 3:23), He is the one who gives us our skills, abilities, and opportunities. Sometimes even the best parent can have the strongest willed child who goes astray, and sometimes the best worker in a career is let go because the economy is down. We can’t take credit or blame ourselves — some things are out of our control.

It is important to kill pride before pride kills your relationships, and ultimately your community.  We need God and we need others.

Looking for Love (in all the Wrong Places)

  1. wedding2  “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, Lookin’ for love in too many faces, Searchin’ their eyes, looking’ for traces Of what I’m dreaming of … Hopin’ to find a friend and a lover I’ll bless the day I discover, another heart, looking for love.”                                                                                                            

-Johnny Lee, “Looking for Love” Lyrics

“Where are all the nice guys?”  “Where are the stable girls?”  I have been asked these questions a lot recently.  This is not a new question for people, and it even dates back to biblical times.  Solomon asks in Proverbs 31: 10: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”  Today we wonder the same thing: Where can I find love?

I have talked to many friends who have expressed the difficulty in finding a person worth dating.  Most everyone would agree that a loving relationship with a special person is something that they desire.  In contrast, finding love is not as fun, and can often feel like a wasted endeavor.  Add to this the distorted view of “love” portrayed in mainstream television, cinema and music… No wonder the younger generations are left standing alone trying to decipher text messages in order to find a future with someone.

With all the benefits of a loving, stable relationship (including the lesser known ones such as lower stress), I think we can all agree that it is still worthwhile to make an effort towards finding love — even through the potential misery of casual dating and “putting yourself out there” to meet new people.

Because the purpose of dating is to find love and marriage, the best advice on the matter comes from consulting God, the inventor of it.

Here are some of the qualities God sees as important in defining a Godly Man and Woman.  These traits are very important if you are looking for long-term love.  Most Christians have heard of “the Proverbs 31” woman, an excellent passage on the description of “The Wife of Noble Character”.  I encourage all women to read this passage and strive to be this type of woman.  Because this passage is so popular, I would like to expose some other verses from God’s word that one might miss about the qualities of godly men/women. These are what single women and men should be looking for in a mate.

Godly Man

  • blameless walk (Psalm 15)
  • does what is righteous (Psalm 15)
  • speaks truth from his heart (Psalm 15)
  • no slander on his tongue (Psalm 15)
  • does neighbor no harm (Psalm 15)
  • honors those who fear the Lord (Psalm 15)
  • despises a vile man (Psalm 15)
  • keeps his oath even when it hurts (Psalm 15)
  • lends his money without usury (Psalm 15)
  • does not accept bribe against innocent (Psalm 15)
  • temperate (1 Timothy 3:2)
  • self-controlled (1 Timothy 3:2)
  • respectable & hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2)
  • not given to drunkenness (1 Timothy 3:2)
  • gentle (1 Timothy 3:2)

Godly Woman

  • women of respect (1 Timothy 3:11)
  • not malicious talkers (1 Timothy 3:11)
  • temperate (1 Timothy 3:11)
  • trustworthy (1 Timothy 3:11)
  • reverent in how they live (Titus 2: 1)
  • not slanderers (Titus 2:1)
  • not addicted to wine (Titus 2:1)
  • self controlled & pure (Titus 2: 5)
  • busy at home (Titus 2: 5)
  • kind (Titus 2:5)
  • Wise (Proverbs 14:1)
  • all of Proverbs 31’s descriptions

Romantic comedies emphasize the feeling you need to be searching for rather than the character you need to be looking for.  Society tells us to look for outward qualities in men such as strong, handsome, rich, powerful, etc., I would say it is more important to search for the inward qualities of a godly man.  What kind of integrity does the man have when no one is looking?  How does he treat people, including family & friends? Also, even though society tells us to look for a woman who is skinny/fit, made-up, popular, “easy”, etc., it is more important to look for a woman with character. Can the woman you are dating be trusted?  Does she respect herself and you? Outer beauty fades with time….When looks go away, can you relate on a deeper level?

If you have not come across someone with godly characteristics, spend your time working on growing godly characteristics in yourself — this is what will attract the type of mate best for you.  Practice getting to know people you admire and take note of what you admire about them.  As Andy Stanley often says “Be the kind of person the person you are looking for is looking for”. My mom has great advice on this matter as well.  She says “you attract the type of person you are”.  When we look for qualities in a potential mate that are enduring and biblical, we are looking for love in all the right places.