The topic today – “What Have You Learned From The Unexpected and How Have You Grown as a Couple.” I think everyone has unexpected marriage lessons from the first years. Here is a list friends and I agreed were some of the most important (but maybe not unexpected) marriage lessons.
Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another’s glory or toward degrading each other. Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III
1. All families are different – we grow up different. When you combine two, there are bound to be changes. How a new couple handles this and how their families welcome the new member and accept/reject the new spouse can have a lasting impact on the relationship. It often sets the tone for how respected the new spouse will feel both to the in-laws and their partner. Everyone should handle with care.
2. If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married. Deuteronomy 24:5 God surely knew what He was doing with this one. So many changes are taking place during this time. Take the time to get to know each other during the first year and don’t try to be a super couple.
3. Having a spouse does not mean that you automatically have a date or someone’s schedule to control. They are their own person and have the right to decide when and if they want to do something with you. I think this is not obvious in so many marriages.
4. The things that you don’t say can sometimes speak the loudest. Your body language, tone, breathing, facial expressions, can give your spouse the reassurance they need or can make them feel disrespected. If you and your spouse learn to actively listen and validate each other early on in marriage, you will feel heard and valued in the relationship.
5. The people we love the most also have the power to hurt us the most. Forgiveness is never a one way street. We have all sinned. How badly might we have behaved while waiting for someone to repent? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:4 It is always easier to see someone else’s sin before our own. You and your spouse will hurt each other. It is how you heal that is important.
6. You need to have boundaries in marriage. You need them with your friends, your family, work, technology, and so on. Everyone has advice and everyone is vying for your time. Everyone thinks they know what is best for your marriage. They don’t. If you don’t decide who you can trust and where your priorities are, someone will decide for you.
7. Find a couple you would like to model your marriage after and ask them to mentor you. Spend time with them; learn from them. It will be the best investment you can ever make in your marriage.
8. You may have some married and single friends that you love, but they are not good for your marriage. They bring out the worst in one or both of you. You will need to decide what is best for your relationship. How you handle this will set a tone for things to come in your relationship. Honor your spouse above all others.
10. At the end of the day, you must have faith and trust in your spouse. There will always be circumstances where we don’t have all the information in a situation. This is the devil’s greatest weapon; he will try to undermine our trust and get us to act on our greatest fears. He will look for a crack and then, if we let him, slowly chisel his way into a happy marriage and destroy it.
11. Practice patience and kindness with the people you don’t like. How much easier will it be when doing it for the one you love? If you are constantly arguing or complaining about people you work with or friends you hang out with, chances are you are bring this attitude home to your spouse as well. They could be wondering if they ever measure up to your impossibly high standards.
12. Everything that comes out of your mouth is a reflection of your heart. In order to change your heart, you not only have to guard your tongue, you have to refocus the things in your life that will impact you from the inside out into the person you want to become. Start with God.
13. Embrace change. Learn to love the things your partner loves. See the world through their eyes every once in a while. Be in their world. They will know you care and you will connect on a deeper level.
14. Learn to give grace and mercy in all circumstances. It is so easy to judge when someone in our circle does something that we may find heinous or unforgivable. We are not called to judge; there is only One for that. If the gates of Hell were locked behind each of us that had ever committed a sin, would there be a person left standing among us? If we do not forgive, we are not forgiven.
15. Make time for intimacy. God designed sex…have it! Often. Hold hands, cuddle, and don’t forget the romance.
16. Don’t ever stop dating your spouse. Make them a priority in marriage. Be the type of person you would want to date. Don’t stop improving yourself after you are married. Make time for exercise – both in the body and mind. Dating allows you to continually explore each other through the years. Remember, your body is a temple.
17. You reap what you sow in marriage. If you tend to it like a garden, turning the soil, adding fertilizer and watering it, you will have success. If you neglect it, letting the weeds come in and take over, it will choke out the fruit. The dry soil and lack of rain will turn everything bitter.
We all want to end up like this couple in the end!
Continuing my moments of joy for Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience.
8. Had a wonderful night at the lake house; the fish were happy to eat.
9. Dropped my doggie at the kennel before our trip, she was so excited she didn’t notice my sad goodbye.
10. We are on a plane right now to the west coast to see our daughter and begin our summer vacation – very excited!
11. Thankful for three weeks of re-connection and new discoveries with my husband.
12. Looking forward to seeing good friends from school. I love my friends. Rick loves my friends.
13. Exploring more of God’s beautiful country with the one I love.
14. Seeing San Francisco – finally.
15. Wine country – need I say more?
I’m linking up here today.
Keep the Faith,