Michael and I have been married for 10 years now and I am so thankful for our life together. There has been so much joy, but we've had some hard times too. One thing we've learned is that we have to be intentional about working on our marriage and keeping our relationship strong. Of course our three incredible children are the biggest blessings that have come out of our marriage, but it's super easy to focus all of our attention on them and leave little time and energy for us.
We took The Five Love Languages quiz during our premarital counseling and have found it very helpful in loving each other well. According to this we speak somewhat different languages so it's been invaluable to remember how the other person feels loved the most. Michael's top two love languages are "touch" and "words of affirmation," and my top two are "acts of service" and "quality time." What we have in common though is that "gifts" is at the bottom of both of our lists.
One thing we try to do each Sunday evening is go through this list of questions we got from this site...
What brought you joy this week?
What was something that was hard this week?
What's one specific thing I can do for you this week?
How can I pray for you this week?
Is there anything that's gone unsaid, convictions, confessions, unresolved hurt?
What's a dream, desire or thought that's been on the forefront of your mind this week?
And then we also ask these questions once a month...
How are we stewarding our finances?
How is our sex life?
We also try to have a weekly date night. That usually just looks like us putting the littles to bed and spending intentional time together. We love playing games, watching movies, and just enjoying each other's company. We've been watching This is Us together and it's been so fun having a show we both enjoy since we usually have vastly different taste in tv shows. Once in a while we swap date nights with friends, so that is always awesome to actually get out and do something together.
It's not easy for us to get away overnight just the two of us. Thinking back, we've had 3 nights away together since Clara was born over 6 years ago. The most recent was almost exactly a year ago. I was seven months pregnant with Emma and we rented an Airbnb (with a fireplace!!) for the night over Valentine's Day weekend. We have some awesome friends who took care of Clara and Davey and we are still so grateful!
But most of all, the thing that's had the biggest impact on our marriage is having a personal relationship with Jesus. The times in our marriage that we've felt the closest to each other are also the times when we're both spending consistent time with Jesus reading the Bible and praying.
Some of the best marital advice I've heard...
*The couple that prays together, stays together. God is for healthy marriages. If we are seeking Him both together and individually, our marriage will naturally be strengthened. Thinking about this is challenging me to pray more for my husband and for our marriage.
*Get over it! Divorce isn't an option for us, so if we're going to stay together we might as well get over things quickly. We have disagreements for sure, but we talk through the issue, resolve it, and let it go. We forgive when needed and move on.
*The grass is not greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it. Invest in your marriage. Think of your spouse before yourself. Be intentional. (I'm talking to myself here. 😉)
*Fight naked! Hahaha This is mostly a joke. My cousin's wife wrote this on her marital advice card for me at my wedding shower and it still makes me laugh when I think about it.
I think having a strong marriage all comes down to being intentional and keeping God at the center. I hope this was an encouragement to those of you who are married. Looking forward to reading how everyone else works on keeping their marriage strong.
I love you Michael!