1. Spiritual beliefs can make or break your marriage.
Lesson: Talk and pray about everything and anything. This for me is a huge part of the intimacy between a couple. To have a marriage where no topic is off the table, where you can unlock each other’s minds and souls through talking is amazing! You know, how in your courting days you used to chat about sweet little nothings for hours on end, then call each other for an extra hour just to say goodnight? Don’t lose that! That is important in marriage. It keeps things interesting and unpredictable.
2. In your pursuit of growth and change, do not leave your spouse behind.
Lesson: Things will change. There will be transitions throughout the marriage. The important thing is to transition together and embrace it! One of the greatest, beautiful changes we’ve encountered in the four years of our marriage is the transition from being just a married couple to being parents. Nineteen months later, we are still trying to figure it out.
People evolve and guess what? Your partner will change in the course of your marriage. It is inevitable. Don’t expect things to stay the same. Accept, adapt, embrace and move on. This is where you realize that marriage is more about character than personality. Though you might’ve been attracted to his/her personality in the beginning, the character is what will sustain the marriage. Allow each other to be fluid in personality. Today my favorite color can be pink and tomorrow black and it’s okay.
3.Forgiveness is a love language.
Lesson: Learn to deal with things as they arise and then let them go so that the next time you have a disagreement it’s on new ground and it’s a ‘fair fight’ for both of you. Storing up each other’s wrongdoings and pulling them out whenever you have an argument will put a stop to your marriage sooner than you think. Deal with things, forgive and most importantly let them go!
I have learned to constantly prepare my heart to forgive my husband in advance. How do I do that? Prayer. I pray God prepares my heart for whatever personal journey he will take my husband on. Whatever internal struggles he may face that cause him to hurt me or make risky decisions concerning us; I pray to God that he prepares my heart to forgive him first before anything. It just makes it easier to further resolve issues.
4. Roles are important but can also be negotiated.
Lesson: Allow your partner to play his role in the marriage the way he sees fit. Having preconceived ideas of who does what in marriage will stop things from taking form the way they naturally should. Modeling and being inspired by other marriages is good but if you are constantly looking to the next couple on how to build your own marriage, you are starving your marriage and feeding your insecurities. Soon enough your marriage will have nothing to stand on.
I used to get so unsettled seeing my husband in the kitchen cooking supper for us. He would, without checking with me; defrost the meat, chop vegetables and begin cooking. This would happen often during the week until I asked him to excuse himself from the kitchen and leave the cooking to me. Little did I know it would frustrate him. He enjoys cooking. On a simple Sunday, he would rather be in the kitchen trying out new recipes, than out in the garden pulling out weeds. My deeply embedded ideas of what a woman and man should do in a household were what unsettled me because that’s how I was raised. I quickly needed to let it go.
If the trash is full and you see it, take it out! If the kitchen floor is dirty and your husband is down on his knees cleaning it, leave him to it. Your house belongs to both of you and it’s both your responsibility to make it a home.
Above all else remember, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7