In less than a month Justin and I will be celebrating our five year wedding anniversary. Yep, you read that right. FIVE. YEARS. I can’t believe it has been that long. I don’t even feel like I am old enough to say I have been married five years. Given that this anniversary is coming up, and I have several friends getting married, I have been thinking lately about marriage in general.
I keep getting asked – what would you do about this or that? Or what is the best advice you have for marriage? Or even – you and Justin get along so well, you don’t argue, how do you do that?
I keep saying the same thing, over and over:
“marriage is what you make it – if God is at the center and you both want it to work – it will”
I then follow that by explaining that marriage isn’t a 50/50 thing. It’s a 100/100 deal. And sometimes its 200/0 if I am being honest. But so much in life is what you make of it – if you want something to fail then it is probably going to fail. If you want your marriage to succeed – if you both want it – it will with God’s help.
But the more I have thought about it the more my thoughts have gone in another direction. I don’t disagree with what I said above, but I think we have a problem.
Seriously, just stop.
What works for me and Justin may not work for you and your husband. Sure, there are some biblical absolutes like fidelity and loving your wife as Christ loves the Church. But in the day to day comings and goings – we are all different.
My love language is different from yours and Justin’s may be different from your husband. So, what we need to make our relationship last isn’t necessarily what yours needs.
So, to prove my point I started asking a few friends about what works for them and about bad advice they have received. Let’s just call these two friends Sally and Barb.
Here are a few quotes from Barb:
“I like to be told I look pretty, if I actually do. I don’t like to be called sexy though.”
“I like when he (her husband) helps out around the house. It’s not a do or die though. I really appreciate it more when he notices how clean the house is although it has been a busy week OR if he says something about how much worse it could be because of how busy our lives have been.”
“He (her husband) could care less about words or actions and those are how best I show love.” (I like this – she recognizes what his love language isn’t even though actions and words are the easiest way for her to express love)
“The best advice I got was to keep God at the center of our marriage. For a while, He wasn’t. And our marriage hurt, it really suffered from this.”
Here are a few thoughts from Sally:
“What my parents don’t know is they laid out the ground work for everything I didn’t want in a marriage purely by their actions.” (Sad, yes. However, this is important. Being able to recognize others mistakes and NOT REPEAT THEM is key.)
“My love languages have completely shifted in the last 8.5 years! Especially since having children. I’ve always been a quality time person but when the boys came along I did a 180 to acts of service!”
“Bottom line: God created the couples He ordained before the beginning of our existence. He created (husband) to be MY spouse – HOW COOL! He paired couples together for the purpose of furthering His Kingdom. Period.
Apart we are just fine but together – together we could reach the nations plus one! And I love that Jesus is inside of (husband). And we get to pursue that every day for the rest of our lives. I. Love. Being. Married. I really do!”
I am using these particular quotes for two reasons. 1. to show that God is key and 2. to show that everyone’s love languages are different.
To Barb it is important to be told she is beautiful – to me it is not. I have been told so many times in my life, “find someone who tells you, you are beautiful every day”. No. Words are not important to me. That may change but it hasn’t yet. 😉
Barb also feels loved when her husband recognizes and appreciates her hard work, I (to an extent) am that way too, whereas Sally doesn’t want to be appreciated so much as helped.
During the conversation with Sally the following conversation happened:
Me: I’m like a guy. I’m 100% a physical touch person in my marital relationship.
Sally: That is so (husband)!
Me: Most girls like to be given gifts or need to be told they are beautiful, wonderful, etc. I’m just not like that.
Sally: So not me! I’m all about acts of service, quality time, and lastly physical touch.
Case and point. Stop. Comparing. I honestly think it is what is destroying so many relationships. We think the grass is always greener on the other side when really all we need is to water our own.
So, after 5 years the only “advice” I have are these 3 things:
1. God is first & center.
2. Learn your spouses love language and show love in that way.
3. Stop comparing your marriage to everyone else.
Now, given that it is almost our 5 year anniversary, here are a few things I love about my marriage with Justin and just Justin in general:
1. We talk. Not about our days or our feelings – No, we philosophize and talk Bible, History, morality, and life. This. Is. So. Important. To. BOTH. Of. US.
2. We both have a mutual love for farming & animals – for doing things the “old way” just because.
3. In 5 years we have never had a real argument. Sure, we have disagreed. Some days he frustrates me and MOST DAYS I frustrate him. 😀 But we aren’t the kind of people who argue.
4. He loves my mind. And I love his.
5. He takes the Bible seriously. He believes with all of his heart that we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus every day. He is constantly spreading God to the lost.
6. He is color, clothing, and sin blind. Really. In the kind of world where we judge people because of the color of their skin, their raggedy clothes, the tattoos covering their bodies, or their life choices – Justin does not. He is such an example to me. He doesn’t hesitate to spread Jesus to anyone – he spreads it despite color, previous sins, or clothing. I. Love. This.
7. The outcasts seek him out. This is last because it brings tears to my eyes. I’ve never seen people so drawn to anyone.
Put God first and let the pieces fall where they may.