I won’t get too sappy, but I have to share a bit about my husband. Titus is truly my inspiration for being a better person. He makes me a better person daily. He has been my best friend for the past 12 years and there is no one on this earth I love more than him. He takes care of me in every way possible and has been more than I could of ever prayed for in a spouse. He is an caring, involved, and loving father to our boys, which makes me love him more. I am so blessed to share this life with him.
I have in no way mastered marriage and am still learning these lessons daily, but I wanted to share with you 12 things I’ve learned to be true about marriage in the past 12 years. I hope it encourages you all in your marriages.
1. Selfishness destroys.
We are naturally all selfish people. We literally have to fight the urge to think about ourselves first and cater to our own wants and needs. Often without thinking of how the other person feels. This is something that takes a conscious effort and dramatically impacts the path of your marriage.
This has been something I have struggled with and I constantly see in myself. Many times our marriage has become about what “I” feel, what “I” think, what “I” like, what makes “me” feel this way. This mentality hurts a marriage. We truly have to fight to think about our spouses feelings, needs, and wants.
Our culture often tells us everything is about you and you deserve perfection in a mate, but we fail to think about what the other person deserves from you as well. It’s very easy to take a victim stance in marriage without realizing we hurt the other person just as much as we feel hurt. When we can get over ourselves, our marriages can truly grow.
2. Dates matter.
It is important to date throughout your marriage. It keeps things feeling fresh and special. Get dressed up and go out together on a regular basis. Let your spouse know you still care about connecting and impressing them. This is a life-giver for us.
3. Create marriage goals.
We create goals in every other area of life. Marriage should be the same. We should look for things we want to do better for our marriage and spouse. An example of mine for last month, was to re-read “The 5 Love Languages” and find ways to actively meet his top 2 languages throughout the week.
4. Be their #1 cheerleader.
No one should encourage your spouse more than you. This takes intention. Even if you feel like it’s rehearsed, they need to hear those kinds of words from you on a regular basis. Praise them for what they are doing well.
5. Forgiveness is constant.
I think we both forgive each other daily for something. We are two very flawed individuals and if you can’t constantly forgive & forget, your marriage will suffer greatly. No matter who you marry, forgiveness is the key component to happiness, but it is a challenge. Especially, for us women who have great memories.
6. Celebrate special days.
Don’t let birthdays or holidays fall through the cracks. If you were dating, you would try to make the other person feel special. That shouldn’t disappear in marriage. This contributes to people feeling like each other’s roommates…unappreciated and unloved. We do our best to make a big deal about each other on special days and it makes a big impact on our marriage.
7. Compliments go a long way.
Over time, it’s easy to get used to each other. After seeing each others flaws, it can be hard to always think of something nice to say. When your spouse looks great, don’t let everyone else tell them how nice they look without bringing it up. Using words like: incredibly handsome, stunning or beautiful helps your spouse still feel attractive to you and this impacts how they respond to you in return.
8. The power of touch.
We are created to want to give and receive love. Holding hands, rubbing each others back or leg even while watching T.V., impacts the marriage greatly. We still sit close to each other on the couch and try to be intentional about touching when we are together. It sends a consistent message to your spouse, influencing how loved they feel by you.
9. A relationship with Jesus changes everything.
When you have deeper conviction about making the right choices and being the spouse your partner needs, it makes all the difference. Many of our reasons for doing or not doing something, truly boils down to our love for God. That is deeper and more convicting than any other love could be. That’s what keeps us committed and striving for godliness in our marriage.
10. Realizing your unrealistic expectations.
T.V. and media often give us unrealistic expectations for our spouses. It can damage our marriages. We expect a person to make us feel like the most perfect, loved, beautiful, amazing, person on the world …flaws and all. It’s just not realistic. I have seen so many people leave their marriages because they thought they “deserved better.” Not realizing…they aren’t perfect either. Both people have to realize they are not perfect and their spouse isn’t. Anyone in any relationship will have their own set of flaws.
No one is perfect. No one will appreciate you all the time. No one will be on their “A” game daily and neither are you. That’s why there are vows like “For better and For worse.” However, most people recite this, really meaning “for better.” When there is a realization of your own flaws, you can have more grace and see things you love and cherish about your spouse.
12. Texts & phone calls go a long way.
It’s so easy, after being married for a while, to not communicate during the day. We have days like this. Whether you stay at home or work, it’s easy to go 9-5, without really talking. It’s a bad practice to not be involved in the majority of each others days. Its funny because so many couples, (including myself), tend to say “I’m too busy during the day and don’t have 2 seconds to pick of the phone to call or text my spouse.”
However, it’s amazing! If you’re dating someone, you “magically” have to contact them when they are all you can think about. Making the effort to send a message, simply saying I love you, or asking your spouse how their day is going, helps the relationship stay connected and eliminate that distant feeling.
13. Prayer is a must.
Praying together is so powerful. Something we need to get better at for sure, but I always see a change in our marriage when we make that a priority. Also, praying daily for each other should be the utmost priority. There should be no one else praying for your spouse and we all have our daily battles where Satan is trying to throw a million things our way and it’s so important to cover your spouse in prayer.
For more posts on marriage, check out: ” Conversation starters for Date Night.”
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