**This post contains affiliate links.**
Today my man and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. This is not a milestone I take lightly. Looking back, I think it should have been pretty obvious to me that being married for any significant amount of time would change me…but I guess on that day 10 years ago I didn’t think about it. In fact I don’t think I really realized all the ways I had changed until a few years ago. Not that we enter into marriage desiring to change one another…but if we are both seeking the Lord, wanting to honor Him and each other, I don’t see how change would be avoidable. My heart has been changed in I’m sure more than 10 ways…but since it’s year number 10 we are celebrating, we will stick with that number 🙂 Some things I’ve learned apply to marriage in general, some apply to my marriage specifically, and some might be a little silly…but I think they are all important things that I needed to learn.
Before I get started I would like to make a couple things clear. I am in no way saying that our marriage is perfect and whatever we have done to get to this point is some kind of secret way to have a great marriage. We are still selfish, prideful, sinful people desiring to serve God and each other each day. By God’s grace, we’ve worked through a lot of things in the past 10 years. There’s been some pretty big bumps along the way. Even though I feel we are at a pretty sweet spot in marriage right now, that doesn’t mean our lives are easy. In some ways I think they’re harder. But so rich. And so good. And fulfilling. Do I wake up everyday thinking those things? Nope. But overall we are content and we are in this for the long haul. Also, I realize everyone’s marriage is different and everyone walks a different road. Things I’ve learned may not be relevant to you. Whether your marriage is similar or super different, or maybe you’re not married at all…I hope this post is an encouragement to you. So without further ado…
10. I’m very pro pre-marital counseling. And the more in depth it is, the better! Not that I was against it before marriage, (we had some pretty intense pre-martial counseling) I just didn’t grasp how incredibly important it was/is to starting out marriage. When seeking the appropriate counsel and going through the right materials an engaged couple will be given tools to communicate, understand one another, and lay a foundation for a successful and fulfilling marriage. It’s also important to understand the purpose of marriage is not to make each other happy but holy. Pre-marital counseling sets the stage for expectations and brings things to light that need to be discussed before jumping into marriage. It’s so vital to be on the same page spiritually.
9. Deeper respect for Biblical marriage. It’s no surprise that biblical marriage is under attack in this country today. It’s a very strategic move by the enemy to break down something that God has created to reflect Christs relationship with the Church. Not only does he break apart the biblical view of marriage, but he breaks down how God created a family to function. I’m not only talking about our cultures acceptance of homosexuality, but also of our cultures acceptance of divorce. God is clear in the Bible, He hates divorce. And after having been in a marriage for awhile now, I can see many reasons why. It grieves my heart when I hear of marriages falling apart or succumbing to divorce. Like I said, our marriage is far from perfect, but I feel I’ve gotten small tastes of God’s grace and blessings that come from a marriage that seeks to glorify Him. And knowing what that’s like…I want everyone to have that. It makes me want to fight for my marriage and others marriages however I can. Many times there is nothing I can do but pray. And prayer is a powerful weapon, so I will use it as much as I can in hopes that marriages will be saved through God’s power.
8. My heart has been softened to my husbands likes and dislikes. When I married Nathan, the last thing I wanted to do was hike up a mountain, go camping, use power tools, or sit in the garage while he worked on something. But now…and this might just be because I’m hugely pregnant and bored and feeling lazy…but there’s nothing I would rather do right now than go on a hike with my man. I’m way more outdoorsy than I used to be. I love being with him while he works on projects. And it’s not like he’s forced me to like what he likes…I still don’t get excited about guns like he does, but if he likes it, I want to hear about it and maybe go with him to watch him to do his thing. My heart has become knit to his heart. I think when you value someone, you start to like what they like.
7. His opinion and ideas matter to me. I can’t say I started out our marriage this way. Over the years getting to know Nathan and his heart, what he likes and how he thinks, I’ve grown to really want to know what his thoughts are about things. When I’m reading an article, listening to a podcast, or simply browsing house ideas on Pinterest, I find myself wondering what Nathan’s thoughts would be. Not that we always agree (I mean, typically we do), I truly value his thoughts. He teaches me so much about so many things. And even when we do agree, he often has a different reason or perspective than I do, which I so appreciate.
6. I’ve become more domestic. I have always loved organizing, cleaning and decorating, but it’s gotten to be so much more than that. When we were first married, I loved going out to dinner, shopping, going to parties, just being out was something I loved to do. But the past few years, I prefer to be home. I enjoy doing things for him that help him. He works hard to provide for our family and if him having clean socks, not having to do dishes, or clean a bathroom grants him more time to spend with us…win win. I desire to make our home a place of refuge for him. When he gets off work, I want him to look forward to coming home to us. Not to say there aren’t crazy days. Sometimes he’s greeted by burnt dinner (or no dinner a few times, oops), sick kids, a worn out wife, or tears…but if a majority of the time he comes home to a peaceful place I’m sure he doesn’t mind those handful of times coming home to chaos. Also there are seasons like right now when he’s had to help me with my usual duties. And because he typically doesn’t have to do those things, when I ask him to put in a load of laundry for me, or make pancakes for dinner he is glad to pitch in and help.
5. Better understanding of 2 are better than 1. There have been times when I’ve been a little surprised by what Nathan and I can accomplish together. Projects, household tasks, leading small group, raising kids, when we are seeking the Lord and wanting His glory not our own, working together is a huge blessing. We both have different strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes…and when we are working together it’s just…meant to be. Sometimes I feel like if God gives us a task, or allows us to work on a project…we can accomplish anything. And isn’t that the way He created married couples to be? Working together, for His glory to be an unstoppable force for His Kingdom.
4. We are a team. It might not always feel like it. I might have to remind myself of this fact frequently. For some reason becoming parents can really make you feel like you’re not seeing eye to eye, even though you really are. But at the end of the day, we want the same things, we have the same goals, and we serve the same God…we are for each other, not against.
3. I truly desire him. Ok, I’m really going to put myself out here now. And for a moment I’m just going to pretend that only complete strangers are reading this and you don’t know me from the person passing you on the freeway. It’s pretty common to hear wives complain about how much their husbands “want it” and how they should be fine with whatever the wife is willing to give…no matter how infrequently that is. It’s something joked about on sitcoms, commercials, even in ladies small groups I’ve been in how we fake headaches to get out of that “chore”. And I admit, I used to feel the same. Years ago a mentor of mine told me that if I kept at it, one day, I would find myself desiring my husband. I had a hard time believing her. And it’s taken a lot of prayer, reading books, and talking things over with wise women…but I can now say I agree with her and try to encourage other wives of the same truth. Is it always magical? No. Do I still feel infatuated with him like I did when we were first dating or married? No…but once in awhile by the grace of God I do look at him and my heart races a little and I think “I can’t believe he married me. I’m the luckiest girl.” Do I always feel the desire? No. Sometimes my heart goes back to being foolish or selfish, but that’s never a life-giving situation for either of us. Having desire for your husband is an awesome blessing from the Lord, trust me.
2. My relationship with my husband is high priority. No other human relationship is as important to me as the one I have with Nathan. You might think that sounds rude. That doesn’t mean I don’t love or value family, our kids, friends…it’s just that my priority is Nathan. And I think this is the way the Lord intended it to be. How else will we honor one another if our priorities belong to others above each other? If my priorities lie elsewhere, those things or people will become more important to me. I think of the passage in Matthew when Jesus was talking about money and He said, “Where your treasure, there your heart will be also.” I think this can apply to marriage…or anything you want your heart to treasure really. If I want to get fit and healthy I’ll put my time, energy, thoughts, and money into ways to accomplish getting fit and soon my heart will treasure working out, eating right, and being a fit person. If I decide I should start being a fan of a sports team I’ll buy their gear, tickets to games, keep up with their players and stats and soon my heart will be attached to that team. If I want to treasure my spouse I’ll spend time with him, be where he is, think good things of him, and soon my heart will treasure and value him. This ties into a few other ways I’ve changed…desiring him, liking what he likes, knowing we’re a team…if he wasn’t my priority I don’t think those things could be possible. This doesn’t mean we don’t hang out separately or have to put each other aside for the kids needs…that totally happens. But I want him to know without a doubt that no one else/nothing else takes his place in line.
I feel like number 1 should be like a major breakthrough or something…and it really isn’t, so hopefully you aren’t disappointed 😉
1. My husband is great, but he isn’t Christ. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful man. I know he’s got my back, he loves me, and wants whats best for our family. But too often I put him in a spot that belongs only to Christ. Nathan is a caring man, but I should not depend on him for my happiness. Nathan is an excellent provider, but he is not God Who supplies me with everything I need for life and godliness. Nathan is very forgiving, but he is not the Forgiver of my sins. Many times I have had to repent of placing Nathan in Christs throne. Christ wants me to depend on Him alone. Yes Nathan is my most important human relationship, but my relationship with Christ is of utmost importance. Without Christ as the center of our marriage, it would be for nothing. Our marriage is to glorify Christ and serve Him. Two are better than one, but a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Our 10 years of marriage has included a lot of tears, fun, fights, joy, and learning. And I know we aren’t done learning and growing. There have been many books that we have read over the years that we have found to be full of biblical wisdom and truly helpful to our journey together. I’m closing this post with a few of those books that we most recommend.
I hope this was something encouraging for you to read. I don’t know who you are, where you’re at with God or what’s going on with you marriage wise, but I’d love to know how I can pray for you!