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“Marriage is work” – says my husband

“Marriage is hard” – I sayIs either statement right or wrong?  No, just different.  Marriage is also fun and rewarding but only if you put the hard work in.

I remember that my husband and I use to argue about the silliest things.  How to fold the towels, how to load the dishwasher, how to drive (this one still gets me on most days).  Bottom line is, do those things really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Is there really a right/wrong way (besides driving laws) or are you just being stubborn and demanding that it be done YOUR way?

Marriage takes a lot of effort from both parties to communicate and to compromise giving both people room to live life the way they feel best for them.  If one person dominates the “rules” in the relationship and at home then the other person feels like they are married to their parent instead of a spouse.  This is never a good feeling for either person.

Let me give you a very specific example and show that how you communicate to each other will make the biggest difference in your relationship.

One day I was cooking dinner.  I was cutting up the onion to put into the skillet.  My husband walked through the kitchen and said “Why are you doing it like that?”  This kind of comment made me want to throw my hands up in the air and say “Make dinner yourself!”  When I responded like that, my husband would blame hormones or say things like “I don’t understand why you are overreacting, I was just asking a question.”  I didn’t know how to explain my feelings to him so would hold my hurt and disappointment in thinking something was wrong with me.  These kind of comments have started many arguments and since I held most in, I became very bitter in our marriage.  Again, small insignificant comments/words can start to snowball in a very bad way.

I started having thoughts like “he doesn’t understand me”, “he is so controlling”, “I want a husband not a father figure”.  But he had no idea because I didn’t want to argue so I didn’t say a word.  He wondered why I couldn’t talk to him.  We felt disconnected and distant.

Now when he walks through the kitchen and if I am not doing things “his way” this is how he says it (after much counseling lol).  He would say “Would you like me to show you an easier way to cut the onion?” and I say “Yes I would love for you to show me!”  Because those of you who know us personally know that he is the better cook!  Just changing that little thing made me feel like he was trying to help, that we are a team and that he was not belittling me.

These very small intentional changes can honestly save your marriage, it did mine!!

Another example, finances, which cause the most arguments in marriage.

Early on in our marriage, my husband worked and I stayed home with the kids.  He worked 6 days a week and most of the time they were 10-12 hr days.  He worked long and hard to provide for our family but he didn’t have a lot of time so I handled the bills.  He wanted to buy something one day and I told him that he couldn’t because we didn’t have the money right now.  He blew up at me asking “where did the money go?”, “what are you doing with it?” and then I responded by throwing the checkbook at him and said “You can handle all of our finances from now on!”  We were young and trying to make ends meet, he didn’t understand why he was working so hard but yet we still didn’t have money at the end of the month.  We did not discuss our bills and our finances.  The bills came in and I paid them and there was not enough to go around.  Sound familiar?

If this is not discussed and if you don’t have a game plan TOGETHER then this is always a struggle area.  My husband still handles the finances to this day but we do discuss it.  We know what our goal is and how we are going to get there.  So now, if it is not in the budget and we want to go outside of our planned goal, we talk about it.  We never argue about money anymore!

Let me give you another example from a different point of view…parenting!

When our son was little we always struggled with homework.  Starting it, focusing during it, finishing it…the whole process was just horrible.  I would try to motivate and bribe and when that would fail, my husband would start yelling and threatening.  Then I would get mad and yell at my husband, it was a vicious cycle, almost every night.  I would never let my husband discipline our son.  I did not realize that this made my husband feel disrespected.  Sure I needed him to provide for the family but as far as raising our kids, I did not let him participate.  I will not even tell you in this post what that did to our kids and their relationship with their dad, I will save that for another day.

So was either way wrong with dealing with our son and his homework? Some kids need motivation and positive reinforcements, some kids need spankings and tough love.  All kids are different and should be parented in their own special way.  Again, that subject is a whole other blog post.  But as a husband and wife, what we should have done was to discuss on how to deal with this situation in private, come up with a game plan and then execute together.  As a mom and dad we are both needed in the family and each bring special gifts to the table but we should ALWAYS be seen as a united front, especially in front of the kids.

Kids are smart and will play both sides to get their way.  We did it as kids and each generation it will continue.  Remember your kids will grow up and move out of the house to start their own life and family.  You will be left with the relationship you have in your marriage.  That relationship is priority and you should treasure it.

So is all your really need is love?  Love is intentional, Love is an action, Love is a choice, Love is a commitment, Love is not easy, Love is a commandment, Love is marriage.

So I will leave you with this.  If you win the argument, your marriage loses.  If your spouse wins the argument, your marriage loses.  But if you find a common ground, make each other feel loved and respected, YOUR MARRIAGE WINS!  And when that happens, you will wake up each day next to your best friend for the rest of your life.  Isn’t that what we promise when we stand on the alter, in front of God, family and friends?!

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13