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.