And Then There Was 12….

Since I started this blog a few years back, I promised myself that I would take time every year to reflect on my birthday.  Well, that has been so powerful for me mentally and emotionally, that on our 10th anniversary, I decided to do the same thing…and then year 11…and then there’s this year…year 12.  My husband is not naturally the reflection type…he usually says something sarcastic about it, but follows up with sitting and indulging with me about my findings.  Which brings me to my point of this whole post…how do you make it to 12 years of marriage in today’s culture?  Books, conferences, counseling, etc. are available at our fingertips that will assist us in answering that question.  But, is that enough?  Well, from my experience you can receive all the perfect advice, get as much counseling as you need, read as many fix your marriage books, but until you stand and choose to apply it, all it becomes is a bunch of great words.  If you are at a point in your marriage, and you want to throw up your white flag and surrender, take a deep breath…decide right now whether or not you will choose to keep fighting this battle…it can get better, it will get better, it will take work, but it’s worth it.  We all on the same page now??  Ok, good! 

So let’s get practical for a moment…the hubs and I were sitting down drinking our morning coffee, with no kids around…let’s have a moment of silence for uninterrupted conversation…while in my reflection mode, I started to ask him a question…”What practical tools have you learned in 12 years that you could share with somebody who’s still new to the marriage journey?” He quickly responded, “Drink alcohol.”  Now, I mentioned earlier that he’s sarcastic right??  After we stopped laughing, he shared with me from a husband’s perspective what he’s gained…

When giving to your spouse, whether it be emotionally, physically, or practically, you can’t expect the same in return.  That’s good right?!…and so true!  What you put into your marriage, you can hope for the same in return, but don’t expect it.  Those expectations will lead to anger, disappointment, and bitterness.  Simply give to your spouse because you love them, period. 

Understand how your wife deals with certain information.  Now this is coming from an officer. As a LEO wife, I know more than I want to know…it just comes with the gig. However, the hubs knows what I can emotionally handle and what I can’t. There’s certain things he won’t share with me because it’s going to have a negative effect on me.  Now let me be specific here…we are not talking about hiding something from your spouse that could be damaging to the marriage.  This is about a husband protecting his wife’s emotional and mental state. 

Have a community of people around you that support your marriage.  This was a big lesson for me as well.  There’s going to be people in your life that support your marriage, and people who would not be the best option for marital advise.  Seek out those who will hold you accountable, pray for you and your spouse, who will listen to you and not judge you.  Not only do you need this for yourself, but people need you to be that for them as well.

After he shared, he asked me the same question…I agreed with everything he said,  but had a couple of my own that I’ve recently discovered in the last few years. 

My convictions are not my husband’s convictions.  Meaning, just because something may seem wrong to me, or may shake my relationship with the Lord, doesn’t mean that it’s the same for him. We each have our own relationship with the Lord…only God truly knows our hearts.  We all have weaknesses and faults…but some things aren’t always black and white.  Instead of judging our spouses, let’s encourage them and build them up to constantly seek God in all we do.  Don’t carry that burden because it’s not yours to carry.

Forgive and truly forget.  We have failed each other in several ways over the years and will continue to because we are not perfect…we are human.  How we move on is where this comes into play. IF you say you forgive your spouse, then move on from the hurt that you have felt. To constantly bring up the past in a disagreement means you haven’t forgiven them, and you are keeping a record of wrong. Forgive and move on…it’s not only freeing, but you will have more energy to love your spouse instead of harboring the hurt.

12 years…more than a decade of life…and still going strong.