Marriage Goals

Marriage Goals

I am by no means a marriage advice specialist or in anyway have all of the answers to having the best marriage. Hello…I’m divorced and remarried. Not that I’m taking all of the responsibility of what happened previously, but I have learned a lot from that experience. If you’re married, or in any type of long term relationship you know how much hard work has to be put into maintaining that connection. 

I remember before CJ and I got married I said to him “This is hard work. There will come a time where we won’t like each other as much as we do now. There will be times when we don’t even want to deal with each other let alone be around each other.” And he was like “No, I don’t think so.” and I just laughed. Not that we have totally reached a point now where we don’t want to be around each other. He’s in the military and also works a job that is located elsewhere so we often don’t have much time in the first place. But due to the mass amounts of time we spend apart right now there are some communication issues on both of our parts to work through. And you know what? That’s ok.

I used to post a lot of pictures on Facebook. Oh my goodness when we started dating and decided to finally start sharing our relationship with people it was like cuteness overload. I just couldn’t share enough about this wonderful man that God had brought into the life of me and my daughters. But at some point I felt like I was sharing not because I just wanted to share but because I wanted people to see all this happiness I was experiencing. And lots of people were happy and shared in that joy. Particularly people who knew what I had experienced previously. I would even be like “Babe you don’t declare your love for me on FB like ever!” And he would be like “Why does that matter when I show you all the time how much I love you. That really didn’t stick with me much until later on.

Of course we want to, in this social media driven world, show people how great our lives are or share the things that bring us great joy. We want to shout out our friends and family members for their awesomeness. We want our husband’s or significant others to share their love for us and tag us in cute little things. But honestly what’s most important is not what we share online for the world to see but how we actually treat each other, how we communicate with each other, how we care and express love for each other. It’s important to be building a real relationship with a real foundation. And that brought me back to the comment my husband made about how he shows me. That thought made me decide to back away more from those posts, and my expectations of him to post, and prompted me to focus more on us. Especially considering our family dynamic at this time is crazy with his job and us living in two separate locations. 

I have had a few conversations with some married friends. Some haven’t been married that long and others have been married a significant amount of time. When talking to each other the one thing that I found we had in common was the fact that we were all experiencing some version of something in our marriage with our spouses and we thought that we were alone in this struggle.  But we aren’t. No matter what stage of marriage we are in there is someone that is there with us or has been there and they have worked their way through it. Married couples need other married couples. We need each other as examples or goals for us to work towards, keeping in mind that our marriage can’t be exactly like someone else’s marriage because they are different people and we don’t know what they’ve been through to get to where they are today.

But we need each other to talk to, to seek good solid, Christian advice from. We need someone to say to us, “Well, I’m struggling with this. I don’t know how to talk to my wife about this or I don’t know how to communicate my feelings to my husband. Help!” We often get caught up in worrying about being judged or people thinking our marriage is in trouble (and so what if it is….no one’s right to judge that!) that we won’t reach out and say listen I just need someone who gets it or who can help me figure this out. Find you some married friends that are really good roles models and connect with them. Find yourself some people who will say “I don’t know it all but God does and I am going to be in prayer for you guys.” Don’t be afraid to connect with others (not everyone under the sun but people who you can openly trust with your thoughts and fears) and let them help you, with God’s guidance, continuously work on building your marriage.

One thing I am truly grateful for, that I didn’t have before, is my church family. There are so many relationships and marriages at so many different stages that are great examples of how to put in the work. They are testaments to how things have not and will not always be perfect but if you have two willing people open to growing and learning together; open to putting forth the best effort to build a strong marriage that will stand the test of time, then you can really have an awesome marriage made in heaven. But we need others around us to help us get there. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up and embark on that journey with others so that you can really help and bless each other to be able to have the marriage God intended for you to have. 

You Can do it All…..

But why do you want to?! For some reason I have mulled over posting this for almost a week. I’ve gone back and forth. I’ve prayed. I’ve asked God is this what He wants me to say. It’s not that it’s something awful but I do think it’s something we as women need to learn to be better at.

We live in a time of women empowerment. Women can do anything, should do anything they want, can do what they want, should be encouraged to be assertive, career focused, goal oriented, while demanding equal treatment and pay as our male counterparts. Nothing wrong with any of that. A lot of women paved the way and fought hard for us to have the liberties that we as women have today. While we are still fighting a lot of harassment and discrimination in many areas, many will agree we aren’t where we used to be.

But I want to talk about how, at times, we don’t make room for or allow our significant others to play the roles they can and should play in our lives. Such as helping around the house or taking care of the kids. In my first marriage I was a control freak! Oh my goodness. I wanted almost everything my way all of the time. IF I left him with the kids I always left specific instructions as to what they ate, what they wore- exactly. Like I literally would be like “Look in the third drawer to the far left and grab the pink shorts third down in the stack.” Who does that?! I couldn’t make this up people even if I had a deep desire to.

When I complained that I needed help around the house and he finally did something to help I complained about how he would do it and I’d often go behind him and redo it. (Insert bug eye emoji here). It’s awful I know. And although our marriage ended due to some very bad decisions on his part, I can’t sit here and cast all the blame on him and not accept my role in the ending of our marriage. Think about it -what does it communicate to your partner when you tell them what to do and how to do it and when they attempt to help you redo or complain about their help? That you’re ungrateful. That’s what it says. Who would want to help someone who won’t take freely the help and support given no matter how it’s done. It may not be exactly how you’d do it but it’s done. And any mom with tired, cranky toddlers who work a full time job or stays at home can surely use less off of their list of things to do.

We also have to remember that our significant others will do or will not do what we do or don’t put expectations on. If you come into a relationship and you do EVERYTHING then they’ll get used to that and let you do everything. I cooked, cleaned, took care of kids, worked, went to school full time, took care of the home, paid all the bills, got the oil changed in the cars, did all the clothes shopping including his! Need socks,t-shirts, pants, shaving cream, toothpaste, soap, underwear…..I got it. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to take care of those you love, there has to be a balance.

Relationships are partnerships. That means sometimes one of us is cleaning the kitchen while the other is doing laundry. One of us is bathing the kids while the other cooks. I want my husbands help at home now. Not only that, I need his help. I have found it to be a true blessing to have a help mate. To have someone come home and see I’ve had a long, hard day and tells me to rest while he makes the kids get their baths, eat dinner and get ready for bed.

I know not all women have significant others. I’ve been a single mom so I get the struggle which is why I think I’m better able to appreciate the role my husband plays now. He doesn’t always do things my way (notice I didn’t say the right way- just because it’s the way we prefer something doesn’t make it the right way) but he gets the job done. And guess what I’m a lot less tired, and cranky, and I’m a little chunky because he makes sure I eat.

Women, we are capable. We can do anything. We are strong and powerful and resilient and beautiful beings. But it’s also ok to be vulnerable and weak and to say I don’t want to have to do all of this all of the time. Please take some of it. Please help me with it. It provides balance. And it gives something even more valuable; peace.

So ladies let your significant others or husbands help you. Let them wash the laundry and occasionally shrink a shirt. Let them fold the towels weird. Let them vacuum the floor with zig zag lines or wash the dishes and not wipe the sink down. And while they’re doing that, thank God that you’ve got someone who cares enough to want to!