The Thing About Having A Lot Of Kids I Didn’t Mention…

A while back I talked about what it is like having six kids. Which I feel a little silly writing about in the first place because I know plenty of other families that have the same amount of children, and several that have more.  But big picture having more than 3 kids is out ofRead more

10 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage

We celebrated our 11 year anniversary last weekend which is a pretty big deal by today’s standards, but on the grand scale of till death do us part, 11 years is a drop in the bucket.

 

I wanted to write something about marriage in honor of the occasion; what to write about is difficult because marriage is such an intense complex relationship.  But if I were going to throw some important things I’ve learned about marriage into a 10 point blog post- this is it.

 

#1. Always make them their own food- or bring them their own drink

” Hey baby I’m making a sandwich do you want one?”

” Oh, no thanks, I’m good.”

This is a lie. They aren’t good- they are never good. They will eat yours. Whatever it is that you made to snack on, whatever beverage you have settled down to enjoy, the spouse who passed up the offer will take the snack or drink and consume most of it- because marriage is actually socialist in nature and there will be redistribution of snacks.

Don’t even ask. Just bring one for them right away.

#2. Be specific

Be specific about where you are going, who you will be with, what time you expect to be home, and update when/if plans change.

Ladies- if you are going grocery shopping but “may” also “swing by” Target, or Kohls, or TJ-Maxx, or all three – LET HIM KNOW. Just tell him, ” I’m going out to shop- I may not return until tomorrow- I’ll keep you posted” Get over your guilty feelings and be honest with yourself and him about what you’re doing and how long it will take.

Guys…. same. Be realistic about when you will be home. If you realize it’s going to be later- call-text-facebook-snapchat-carrier pigeon or falcon your lady a message so that they know you haven’t ran off with another woman, or been abducted by aliens.

It is always ALWAYS better to know what to expect from your spouse. Being mentally prepared for how long they will be absent is far better than leaving them counting down the minutes until you return.

#3. Get over stuff

When we first got married my husband would throw his wet towel on the bed after taking a shower in the morning. This use to irritate me to no end. After asking, nagging, and internally complaining about this- I gave up. I stopped ragging about it and just started hanging up the towel.

In turn I prop my feet up on the dashboard when I sit in the passenger seat and absent mindedly press my toes up onto the windshield. This leaves little toe prints on the glass. My husband doesn’t think this is cute or endearing. He’s asked me on several occasions not to do it, but I inevitably do it anyway- not out of spite- but out of laziness.  And while I doubt he has become endeared to my cute lil toe prints smudged onto the bottom right side of the windshield- he doesn’t say anything about it anymore.

Because it’s dumb. It’s just dumb to let yourself be upset about the little mindless things that your spouse does! They’re not trying to annoy you, they’re not engaging in their little quirky behaviors out of spite- they’re just things they do without thinking.

That is what I mean by stuff. The small things they do that get under your skin sometimes- that stuff

– get over it.

You are just as irritating, I promise. And the more grace you give to your spouse ( assuming they are not a jerk) the more grace they will give to you.

 

#4. Listen to that inner voice that tells you when you’re being a jerk

This may be just me, but I definitely have an inner voice that lets me know when I’m being a jerk.  In the middle of an intense discussion, borderline argument, or a moment when my temper flares I can feel it – the gentle reminder that I’m the one at fault, I am over reacting, I need to shut down the sarcasm, or stop talking and just listen.

Heed that voice! Be honest enough with yourself to admit in those moments that either you are the problem, or you are contributing to it, and be willing to step back.

My husband thankfully has a lot of emotional control and rarely says or does things he regrets in the heat of a moment.  I on the other hand need to listen to the ” don’t be a jerk voice” and when I do, I’m always thankful for it.

#5. Don’t shut down

This is the opposite side of don’t be a jerk. I suppose you could call this the ” Don’t shut down” voice.  Communicating emotion doesn’t come easily for everyone, and if you are one of those people- know that your silence or lack of participation in the conversation is hurting your spouse.  You are sharing  your life with them and need to trust them enough with your heart to share what you think and feel.  Your effort to connect in this way and work through difficult issues will help your emotionally driven spouse to feel close to you, and it may even help them be better listeners- as they won’t feel the compulsion to fill the silence during times you tend to shut down.

#6. Be honest about money

Be real about your spending habits. Be willing to take responsibility for the ways you help or hinder your finances. If you feel like you have to hide anything in this department- something is wrong. Your spouse should know and have access to every penny that comes in and every penny that goes out.  Be unified in this area.

#7. Be honest about sex

Be honest about what you need. Be honest about what you don’t like. Be honest about what you do like. Be honest about how you feel. Be honest about your struggles. Be honest. Be honest. Be honest. If you feel like you can’t communicate openly with your spouse about this part of your marriage- seek counseling.

#8. Be someone you’d want to be around

I had a moment a few weeks ago where I was irritated about my husband being late at the end of the day. I was burned out and ready to have another adult in the house. As the minutes ticked by and I waited for him to get home, I got more and more un-likable.

He got home, I was unpleasant, we bickered a little bit and then had to stop and say to ourselves, ” What are we doing? I’ve been missing you all day and this is how we’re going to spend the time we have together?”

It struck me- why am I acting this way? Would I want to come home to me?

Nope. Not at all.

This is not to say people should perpetually be happy even in the face of real stress or heartache; but ask yourself, ” Am I an enjoyable person to be with?” ” Would I want to spend time with me?”

Or am I just a complaining nagging ornery spouse? On any given day, am I sucking the life out of the people around me?

I’ve known some life suckers; they are miserable themselves and make those around them equally miserable.

#9. Don’t think you are better

You are not a better person than your spouse.

If you think that you are working harder, you probably aren’t.

Think you care more about your children? You probably don’t.

Think your spouse is less humble and giving than you? Wrong.

It’s easy to be self focused.  I can’t always see what my husband does to keep us going. And he can’t always see everything I do.  It’s not as easy to tune into the life of someone else and all the burdens they carry.

  1. Unfortunately it is all too easy to tune into their faults. I can see where my husband fails, and while I could easily make a list of my shortcomings- mine are understandable. I have justifications for them and plenty of reasons why I do what I do.  I am easily convinced of my superiority as a  partner.
  2. <Read more

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