Like all couples, my husband and I have our fair share of problems. Recently we went to a couple’s retreat with some of the members of our church. We went with the clear purpose of strengthening our marriage. The women’s workshop theme was something along the lines of “The ABC’s of a Successful Marriage” . I am ALL about practical knowledge. I mean, delving into the deeper parts of the Bible and learning how the strengthen your marriage is GREAT, but when all you have is 24 hours to learn as much as you can to make your marriage a success, you really just want something simple. This was exactly what I was looking for.
After talking to my husband, I decided that I would write a blog to journal my 26 day journey of becoming a better wife. We’ve only been married 3 years, and been together about 6, however we’ve learned some things along the way (plus some of this stuff I’m taking from what others have told me). By no means do we have a perfect marriage FAR from it, but this is actually precisely the reason that I wanted to share this journey. The goal is to strengthen our marriage and hopefully share something with you that may help you as well. As you read my blog, all I ask is that you pray for us. The devil is all about attacking families, and even much more so when they are trying to grow in Christ. Please pray for our family.
In my blog I will be offering the information that she gave and some of my own information. I will always put the letter that she gave us first and then my own second. Therefore I will be doing 2 tasks per day. I plan to put each one of these things into practice, and I plan to be completely honest with you about the results. So share in this journey with me! I for one am excited.
The first day:
A: Accept Him As He Is.
This was something that I had heard several times, but of course it rings true. When we marry our husbands, we know some of his faults outright. It’s not like we get married and he suddenly becomes a procrastinator, or he’s forgetful, or overnight starts picking his teeth. We KNOW these things before we get married, but at the time we either think “I can live with this” or we think “I can change that”.
This was true in our marriage as well. My husband was a HUGE procrastinator before we got married. The thing was, it was kind of unpredictable. There were some things that he would take care of immediately, while there were others that he took FOREVER on. It wasn’t even that he would procrastinate on the little things and get on the big things right away or vise versa, it was just completely random. What drove me crazy about this, was that I’m a procrastinator too! However he’s always been way more laid back than me. As we were dating I thought “I can live with this”. My logic being that even if we both procrastinated, eventually whatever it was would get done, and my stressed out personality would be balanced out by his laid-back personality and everything would be JUST FINE.
When we got married, this procrastination became a big issue for us. It’s one thing to be dating, and remind the other person “hey you should pay your water bill” or “you might want to change the tires on your car”, but when you are married, and those things effect you…it’s a whole other ball game. I remember, when my husband and I were dating, he drove for what seemed like months on a bald spare tire. I worried about him of course, and reminded him that he needed to get it taken care of, but the fact of the matter was: my tire wasn’t flat and it wasn’t having a direct impact on me on a daily basis, so I wasn’t worked up about it. After we got married, he ended up having to put this SAME bald spare tire on the car. I had to drive that car on a daily basis, and I’m not what one would call a “slow patient driver”. Because changing a tire wouldn’t be something that I would procrastinate on, but he was procrastinating on, it became the source of quite a few arguments.
Here’s the thing, he procrastinated when we met, so obviously I knew what I was in for. No, I can’t change him, and the fact of the matter is, it’s harder to just “deal with it” than I thought. Accepting him as he is, doesn’t really mean that I have to be happy about everything that drives me crazy, what it means is that I have to give over to God the things that drive me nuts, and accept him as he is right now at this very moment. Does that mean that he will change? Only if God makes it so. What it means though, is that I will change the way that I look at him, which will make these frustrations less frustrating.
A: Acknowledge your faults.
This one is my “a”. The reason I chose this one as my first letter is because I believe that without this, there’s no way to improve. I am famous for going to church, listening to the sermon and thinking “I’m hoping my husband is hearing this LOUD AND CLEAR” or at times, thinking “this applies to __________”. I can always find a little bit and piece that might apply to me, but I’m so focused on other people and their issues, that I miss the 1000 things that I could be working on and improving on. (If you are reading this thinking about all of the things that I could be working on, you have already missed the point!).
When our couple’s retreat started, I determined that I would start focusing on where I needed to improve, keeping my heart and mind open to whatever was said. This is part of the reason why I am doing this 26 day quest, because I knew that I had at the VERY LEAST 26 things that I could improve on right away that could help my marriage. Rather than getting defensive every time I heard something and thinking about how someone else could benefit from these lectures, I focused on where I could benefit.
Another thing about this is that I’ve been able to work on this goal right away. I’ve been scrutinizing my behavior in general and there have been several times where I’ve thought “YIKES! Why am I behaving this way?” The greatest added bonus is that because I am open to acknowledging my faults, it’s easier for me to apologize to my husband. I’m one of those stubborn people that will dig her heels in when I think I’m right. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but what is a bad thing is the way I talk to people when I think I’m right. I had a friend at work recently who had to stand up for me to a group of managers and supervisors. What she said was: “She means well, it’s just her delivery. What she says is actually usually right, but the way she says it is what makes people angry.” I’ve been told this in one way or another before, but I always thought “that’s who I am so people just have to deal with it”. This has been my motto for YEARS, but the truth is, I need to do better. This is why I didn’t choose “accept your faults” because then there’s no room to improve. So as I go through this list of tasks to have a successful marriage, my goal is to look at each one and examine myself for faults. In addition, I’m trying to be more cognizant of my faults on a daily basis with regards to my marriage and the way I treat my husband.
That’s it for today (It took me 3 days to write this as my kids made finding time next to impossible! So, there may not be one every single day but there will eventually be 26 🙂 )
Have a wonderful one!