Three Keys to a Loving Marriage
My husband, Aaron is in China this week for work. I was in Albuquerque last week. Our paths just aren’t crossing right now and I’ve decided that skyping just isn’t enough.
I miss my husband. I miss his quirky sense of humor. I miss face-to-face conversations. I miss kissing him. I miss his cooking. I really miss him taking out the trash.
I was talking to a friend last night and the conversation turned to our husbands.
We both had important family events recently, (A baptism for her daughter and our baby blessing for Mason) in which our husbands were able to perform important church blessings.
It wasn’t so much the blessing itself that was important, but the meaning behind the blessings that really made me appreciate my husband.
He is committed to our family, our church, and his job.
Aaron isn’t perfect. No human being is. However, his constant efforts to improve himself and be a better husband, father, brother, employee, and friend constantly inspire me.
When Aaron and I got married we knew we had a few things in the deck stacked against us. We committed to making the sacrifices necessary to make our marriage work.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that our marriage is based on three key behaviors. When we focus on these areas our marriage is better.
1. Unconditional love
Life is tough and there are days when loving my husband is pretty low on the priority list. I’ve got the pressures of work, kids and church beating down on me and the thought of giving even a little bit more of myself is daunting.
I’ve discovered those are the days when I need to love my husband the most. Those are the days when I need to reach deep down and serve my family and let all of the other stuff go.
Because when it comes right down to it, the pressures will always be there, but my family needs to be my top priority.
So here is the big questions, how do you love someone unconditionally?
Honestly, it is really hard to do. Marriage can bring out the best and worst in people and it is easy to focus on the negative.
For me, I choose to fall in love with my husband again every day.
Some days it is super easy, other days it takes more effort.
Ironically it isn’t that he does anything different on the hard days, it is usually me. Some days I’m just more of a jerk than others.
2. Open communication
This one is purely for me. Aaron is a communicator by nature. He is in sales and he enjoys talking and is willing to express and share his feelings and opinions.
When there is an issue, he confronts it and then moves on. I on the other hand really struggle in this area.
I’m a fairly private person by nature (you’re laughing since this is written on a blog, but writing is different for me). I’m a non-confrontational person and a people pleaser, which makes it hard for me to express my views at times.
I know that everyone is different, but for me learning to express myself has come little by little mainly through positive reinforcement from Aaron.
When I have an issue, he listens to me. He lets me express myself and doesn’t judge me for my “feelings”.
Does this mean he always says what I want to hear or handles things right? – No, he is still a guy and sometimes he just doesn’t get it – and that is when I turn to girlfriends.
As women, we’ve been trained to believe that our husband should fulfill all of our needs. It just isn’t true. Women need the companionship of other women (and men need other men).
Learn to confide in your spouse and let them confide in you. At the same time, be aware of their interests and don’t bog them down with useless information in the name of communication.
My husband doesn’t care about the amazing deals I found at Target last week (shocking huh). My girlfriends want to hear all about it. Which on a side note check out these adorable lace-up wedges I have my eye on.
On the other hand, I know he loves talking about work issues with me. He is a problem solver by nature and loves to help me and also get my business expertise. As a result, I know way more about cabinets (my husband sells custom cabinets) than I want.
Is learning about cabinets kind of boring? Yes, but the business aspect is something we can share with one another.
Communication is critical in a marriage. However, know your audience and respect your spouse’s wants and needs.
Respect still needs to be earned even within a marriage.
I’ve come to realize that different opinions are the sign of a healthy marriage. The trick is respecting each other enough to appreciate the differing viewpoints and ideals of your spouse.
3. Prioritize time with each other
I’ve always heard a married couple should have a date night each week. Yeah, that doesn’t happen around our house. We don’t even bother with the idea anymore – our schedules are just too crazy.
I think it is a great idea and strongly encourage the concept; it just doesn’t work for us.
What we do instead is make the most of the time we do have together. We both love outdoor activities, so our dates have become rock climbing trips, canyoneering trips, wakeboarding, hiking and sharing church responsibilities together.
For us, it isn’t so much what we are doing as it is the opportunity to spend time together. Sometimes that means sitting on opposite ends of the couch working in the evening and asking each other for input.
Surprisingly enough, those evenings end up being some of our best couple moments.
There are never enough hours in the day. Learn to deal with it and make the most of the hours you do have.
For me, it isn’t so much the amount of time as it is the quality. I want to know that when we are together Aaron is focused on me, not the hundreds of other things weighing on his mind.
I think most people can sympathize with this problem. I don’t have a miracle answer, but I’ve chosen to enjoy the little moments that are often taken for granted. The little moments are the building blocks to a truly successful marriage.
Why Prioritizing your Marriage Matters
I’m sure there are hundreds of other behaviors that make or break a marriage, but for us, when we are loving one another unconditionally, taking the time to have effective communication, and prioritizing our time the rest just seems to fall into place.
I don’t want an average marriage, I want a marriage that is fun and beautiful. I want to be excited to see my husband every day. I want to grow old together in style.
A loving marriage makes everything else in life much, much better. Take the time to strengthen your marriage now during the good times, so that when the tough times hit, you have a strong foundation of love, communication, and shared memories.
If you are interested in strengthening your marriage you may also enjoy these posts:
PS. If you are looking for awesome marriage books I recommend the following:
- The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
- Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, PHD
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
Photo Credit: Vintage Wedding shot taken by Cara Brook Killpack