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Kylee Noelle

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A year ago..

A year ago yesterday, I married my best friend! I can't believe how time flies! I won't lie and say it's been easy, it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. Music, movies, and media do a real good job of showing you what marriage is NOT. Yet we tend to believe it's lies and then have high expectations for our spouse, ourselves, and our marriage. It is not a fairytale and it even says in the Bible that you will face trouble in your marriage. I think that has helped me the most knowing it isn't supposed to be perfect! So don't feel bad when things aren't going great all the time. It's how you handle those things that makes the difference. Here are a few things I've learned this past year that may be helpful.

1.It is very important to have God in your marriage. To pray to Him when you are facing difficulties in your marriage. When you don't know how to handle something or need an attitude adjustment. Ask for help, it's ok to I promise!

2.Surround yourself with good people and those who will support your marriage and encourage you during hard times, not spouse bash or tell you to do the opposite of what God has told you to do. Try to find other Christian married couples to hang out with.

3.Make time for each other. This doesn't mean sit on the couch and watch a show together. I'm talking about face time where u can talk and connect. When you lose that connection, things seem to spiral downhill pretty quickly because defenses tend to get thrown up instead of trying to communicate and understand each other. Plan a monthly or every other week date night that you know is set and you can do something together to connect. It doesn't have to be fancy. It could be as simple as going for a walk and talking. Going to a comedy show and laughing. Trying something new together.

4.Reading marriage books, going to seminars, counseling, and marriage mentors are ok, not frowned upon. It makes no sense to me why people would want you to fail and tell you just do it on your own when sometimes, we just don't have the tools in our toolboxes to make a marriage work. Sometimes we need to go elsewhere to find these tools to add to our collection. So why is that a bad thing? What does that have to say about you? Oh that you are human and don't know everything there is to know in this world! Imagine that! So why is it a bad thing if you want to better yourself, your marriage, and be the best wife you can be? It's NOT! So don't be afraid to explore options in finding those tools you need for your toolbox! Have you seen a marriage work that hasn't found new tools for their toolbox?

5.Speaking of books, some I've recommended before were Love and Respect, the 5 Love Languages, and another great one I've come across is the Truth About Marriage. All amazing helpful reads! There is loads of information, knowledge, wisdom, and tools to help! It's worth the time, $, and effort into reading them! And then applying what you've learned. 

6.Learning to become selfless. Ok guys this one by far is the hardest one. The sad but awful truth is we are wired as human beings to be selfish. Did you hear that? You are selfish. Write it down. And stop trying to be all innocent and say you aren't! Because you are, sorry to burst that bubble for you. Ok let's move on. Now that we have admitted we are selfish, you need to find triggers for your selfishness, and recognize when and why you are being that way. When communicating or arguing seek to hear the other person's point of view first and repeat it back to them so you can see if what you heard is what they are really trying to tell you. Don't try to be right, or get your point across first, this causes you to not listen to your spouse and makes you defensive.

7.When arguing or fighting we tend to say things we don't mean. Learn to edit yourself. If you are too fired up, say you need time to calm down and walk away until you can calmly continue the conversation. Don't swear at each other, don't call each other names, and try to not use the word "you" because it will automatically put them on the defense. Instead say I feel this way when or because ... that way they will listen and seek to know why an action they do causes a certain reaction for you. And never ever use the D word. Divorce. That is a very hurtful word. It is not even allowed on our vocabulary list! This will be something you regret when you say and may lead to trust issues. It is fire ladies, don't play with it, you will be burned.

8.We have these things called memory pathways in our brains and they tend to get triggered very very easily. Learning when something has triggered you is super important. We tend to be triggered then that memory arises and the feeling from that memory is now present and you are reacting to the memory, not the moment. When you can realize that you are reacting to a memory and not the moment, you can stop yourself and say I am having a reaction, let me figure out why before we move forward. Figure out the feeling and why, feel the moment, and let it pass. Then continue on with the conversation. Then you and your spouse will see that whatever was said, triggers a memory. And if you haven't done this yet, own your feelings and your reactions. You can't control the other person's reactions, but you can control what you say to them and how you react.

9.When merging into your new family, realize that you grew up in different ways. For us we grew up in exact opposite households. Sit down together and write out your family's ten commandments growing up. Example: Chores were expected daily and you did the same chores. Your spouse may say chores were used as punishment, which could be why they hate cleaning. Go through general areas, like punishment, communication (were you allowed to state your point or did it not matter, and what mom or dad said was the end all,) celebrations, grades, chores, family time, rules, how you were to get along with siblings, etc. Compare and talk about these things with each other. Then sit down and write out YOUR NEW family's ten commandments! Yes people we don't have to live by our family growing up's rules! We can make our own. This was a big revelation for me! Do you want to split chores, have a chore chart, the woman does everything? Will you be going to church every Sunday, will you expect your kids and spouse to do so. Prayer at dinner? Eating dinner at the table? Is respect a big issue? Etc. This will be very helpful and beneficial for you! It doesn't have to be ten it can be more obviously! But it's the general idea to help you get started! Some people like to be very detail oriented! Start new traditions for your family!

10.State your expectations of each other. Sometimes we assume the other person is as clean as we are, or likes to go to bed at the same time, or likes to cook. Then when they don't do what we assumed they would, we get mad at them, when really it isn't their fault. It is your own expectations you have placed on them. Discuss these so the other person can say, well I understand you expect me to make the bed every day, but I can only promise 3x a week. It's better than nothing right? It will get you two on the same page and make things a lot easier. They may have expectations set on you that you didn't even know about!

11.Try to do small things for them, be creative. Use pinterest or look up marriage blogs! There's tons of cheap ideas to do out there or cheap date nights that will spice things up a bit! Bring some spice into the bedroom, surprise him with something at work, surprise him when he gets home from work! Don't be afraid to try things! If you do read the 5 love languages and find out his love language, then you can do more things for him in his love language. Small gestures here and there mean a lot more than grand things.

12.Thank your husband for working, or if he is a stay at home dad, for doing that. Try to thank him for as many things as possible, even if it's putting food away. The more they feel appreciated, the more likely they are willing to help out. The more you show your disappointment and nag him for not doing something, the more he hears negative from you and doesn't want to please you. Men's number one thing is to be respected. So if you find ways throughout the day or week to respect him, simple things like saying thank you, or I am glad you are my husband, you are a good man, it will feed their soul and build their confidence. If you don't believe great things about your husband, why should he?

13.As women we tend to get into that motherly mode, and come home from work or you have been with the kids all day. Your husband walks in and you are just still in that mode and you treat him like everyone else. Well news breaker ladies, YOU ARE NOT HIS MOTHER. I repeat, you are not his mother. Men like to have a motherly figure around, but when it comes to in your marriage, he does not. They enjoy being taken care of and loved, but not bossed around. Some things I did, I didn't realize he saw them as motherly. So have him tell you when you are acting motherly, so you can understand what it is you are doing. All he has to say is I feel like you are mothering me. Then you can stop and process why he thinks that and either change your tone, approach, or just never do it again. It will help you learn to be more respectful, less motherly to him, and how to communicate in a different way. You have to make the conscience effort when you are around him to put away motherly mode and put on wife mode. We are great multitaskers ladies, so I know we can do this! 

14.Just count on the fact that you will fall in the toilet seat at least once in your marriage, and it probably won't be just once. No matter how hard you voice your opinion on this, sometimes they are just lazy and forget. I don't think that's ever going to change!

15.Men and women were wired differently, and this is NOT wrong, it's just different. Just because he doesn't like to come home and talk about Susan at work and her never ending stories about how perfect she is, doesn't mean something is wrong with him. You are just wired differently. Just because you don't enjoy watching guys beat the crap out of each other on MMA fights and get adrenaline from it, doesn't make it wrong, just different. Try looking at things from his point of view, why does he get a kick out of some of the things he likes? What does it do for him. This is covered a lot in the love and respect book. If you look at most things men like, they generate back to some sort of respect, honor, or teamwork. If you ask most any man, he would die for his wife or family in a blink of an eye. Us women, maybe try to talk our way out of it? But we don't see that as a respect and honor thing for us, it doesn't hit our respect and honor buttons. For guys, it does. Finding out what makes the depths of men's soul tick is important ladies. It will help you understand why they do some of the things they do, why they like some of the things they like, and who they are inside. It is helpful for them to learn this about you too. And to understand that when you want to talk about Susan, it's not because you want a solution, it's just because you have to get it all out and talk about it! Then you feel better!

16.Following that up, sex is important. Very. Oh no I said the S word!! Christian women don't talk about this! GASP! Ok well I will. I think a lot of us are not wired with sex drives like men. And we think seriously again? He just got it yesterday can't he take a break! Because we can, but he can't. It was a huge shock to find this out and realize just how important sex is to a man. What if you had to go ALL day without talking, crazy right? Then you come home and you still can't talk. Nada, zip. Then you go to bed and still no talking. I don't know about you but I think I would blow right up! Are you kidding me? No talking for a day! Now think about when you haven't talked to your spouse all day and as soon as they come in the door you literally word vomit all over him for a good 15-20 minutes. And how good do you feel after? Such a release! Ok ladies, this is where it gets real. This is what it's like for men. It literally is this pressure built up inside alllll day. They come home and just want to get it out like you would want to talk, and then we deny them. So imagine denying them for 3 days, maybe more. Imagine not talking for 3 days or more! How miserable would you be? They just need that release like we do. I know we aren't always in the mood for full on sex, but there are other things you can do ladies, and you know what I am talking about. Just ask him, if you aren't going to have sex is it ok if we... and I doubt he will say no. If he gets release any which way or how versus nothing, I think he will take it. But this can't be your way out all the time. He craves intimacy and connection with you and sex is how most men get that.

17.Be forgiving and merciful. He will mess up. And guess what so will you. You would only want the same things back from him right?

18.Be wise about your finances. Set up goals, calendars, and allowances you both agree on and can see. Be aware when things are taken out of your bank account and how much is there for groceries, spending habits, etc. Sometimes things pop up and you want to make sure you are prepared.

19.Go on vacations. It's important to take time for your marriage and to re connect. You need to get away from everyone and every day life and focus on each other! Plus who doesn't like vacations?!

20.Lastly, it is important that in order for your marriage to grow, you need to be growing spiritually and emotionally. Take time to spend with God and growing your own faith. Don't try to compete with your spouse in what you are doing, how many things you are involved with at church, or force him to do things with you at church. Do what you need to do. I realized I needed to grow apart from him, so I joined a woman's group I go to separately. It's ok to do things apart from each other, you don't have to be together all the time! Encourage him to seek avenues where he can grow on his own too. A men's bible study, a one on one bible study, a video, a book, etc. It's important for your spiritual life to be healthy or your marriage won't. You can NOT rely on your spouse to fill ALL your needs and happiness. Only God can make your cup overflow. When you look to God to fill your needs and make you happy, then your cup will overflow and that overflow will wash onto your marriage. It will seep into every crack and hole and make things easier, not better. Marriage will never always be a happy joyous time. And remember, God took Eve from Adam's rib, his side, and placed her next to him. Not in front of, or behind him. We are on this journey with our spouse as a team, you are not leading him, or following him, you are next to him. You have to work together to make things work, takes two to tango.

I know this is uber long, but this is what I have learned from 1 year of marriage! I can only imagine what is to come! I just wanted to help share as much knowledge as possible, especially to those who may be struggling! Who doesn't like learning something helpful in your marriage? I will have to have another post about what we actually did since I have yet to give him his gift! Marriage can be wonderful, but it is hard, don't let anyone kid you. No one can prepare you for it, but it's how you handle the hard times and the good that counts. I am so thankful to have God in our marriage, it makes such a difference and without His help, we would not be able to do this on our own.

Be patient and know things take time to get better. We all go through seasons of our marriage, but know in the grand scheme of things, it's a short amount of time, it will pass. You may be in winter, but know spring is around the corner and it will come! Trust God to help you and give you the tools to deal with whatever is going on and to be a respectful loving wife even when you don't want to or think he doesn't deserve it. God sees and knows your heart and everything is happening according to his plan, trust he has a reason for whatever is going on in your marriage. Be thankful for the good and bad, because they both teach us things!
My partner in crime, my soul mate, my lover, my husband, and the man I am proud to walk life through next to. 

Any helpful tips or advice you would like to share?