I saw a lot of what I didn't want in a marriage before I even got married, so I was determined to apply simple things to my own marriage one day. What I have come to value and learn the most so far is that you have to create the atmosphere of unconditional thankfulness and love, and not for one day take for granted that this person decided to spend their life with you. And I don’t even mean that in the fairy tale cliché way. In real life it's not always in the mushy gushy love notes, gifts, goo goo eyes, and dates nights. That is romance, and while very important, the core heartbeat of the partnership is in the everyday routines and communication.
The unconditional love can come from just how you react to someone when they come in the door. Understanding is an action expression of love. I try to remember to take into account the day that he had, what’s on his mind, what he might want to do to unwind and refresh for a second. Its human nature to be like: well, what about MY day and what about what I need and what I want to do? Marriage isn’t about you. When you create an atmosphere of putting them first, its only a matter of time before they do the same because they appreciate what they have experienced from you. Might take some time of pouring into that atmosphere being built, and everything might not always be "perfectly even steven" but when two people really make an effort to put each other first (well God first of course, but you know what I mean) then both are taken care of instead of competing and keeping score about who does more or needs more. Cause that's no fun, we definitely didn't want that.
Unconditional thankfulness can come from the tone and attitude of how you talk to each other too. Creating an atmosphere where your spouse feels comfortable telling you things about their day, their thoughts, or being honest without an argument starting, getting jumped at, or feeling judged and demeaned is key. Saying “thank you” and showing our appreciation once they do something we asked them to take care of, instead of reminding them how long it took them to do it with a sarcastic thank you, is something so simple but can change shift the atmosphere to remaining positive and empowering. An attitude of entitlement is the quickest way to kill an atmosphere of thankfulness.
We are their wife, not their mother or boss. I never wanted my husband to feel like he needed a break from me. Anything they do for us should be appreciated and thanked, even if it’s something you think they should do… a real thank you doesn’t hurt anybody and it will allow the spouse to feel empowered to enjoy taking care of things. I know I enjoy cooking or making sure to get his favorites things at the grocery store when I know he notices and says thank you, and means it. Instead of just acting like
because I’m the wife, I should cook and do all the food shopping...
We decided even before we got married, we would always talk to each other like Jesus himself was standing right behind the other person. Just imagine Jesus looking over your spouses shoulder at you when you're talking. Sounds almost a little funny BUT let me tell you, it creates an applicable standard of communicating in love.
Marriage is about building the other person up and being in position to carry out what God wanted to accomplish through you both coming together. Is it always perfect? No, but when you have 1000% open communication and thankfulness for each other, what could've turned into a “rough patch” can instead just be a “good relationship building discussion.” And then you move on to enjoying each other... and making goo goo eyes ;)
Ashley is the nicest and sweetest girl I've met. She loves supporting and being involved in the blogging community, growing in the Lord and speaking her heart out. When she's not doing something thoughtful and meaningful for someone, she's probably making some adorable headbands at the Luce Shop. If you're not familiar with her blog I strongly advice you to head over there and follow her. Her encouragement is priceless. Your life will be changed.
[see more of this series here]