8 Things I've Learned in 8 Years of Marriage
Today marks 8 years that I have been married. I’ll be honest and say there were many days, I wasn’t so sure about this marriage thing. But God. The number eight in spiritual terms represents new beginnings. So here I am celebrating our new beginning by sharing eight things I’ve learned, that I’ll take with me in the regeneration of our union.
1. Marriage is not about love so much as it is about commitment. Yes, love plays a part, but love is a feeling, and our feelings change. (Sure, we could probably get all extra deep and argue that love is also an action – but it’s unnecessary right now. I’m in my happy place.) I wholeheartedly believe that marriage is a commitment. It is a commitment to our word and our intentions. The commitment is to say “yes, I do” daily to that one person. The commitment is choosing that person over and over again. The commitment is to the belief that you are better together than apart with that individual.
2. Making marriage work is a choice. What does “marriage takes work” really mean? Work is defined as mental and physical activity done to achieve a purpose or result. This means that we can’t just go through the motions of being married, but we must lend mental space (i.e. thought, intention, focus) to it too. Many different things are vying for our attention and presence. However, we have the power to choose our thoughts and the choice to prioritize what gets our action.
3. Marriage is an exercise in faith. Sure, I’ll commit the rest of my unknown life here on earth to you – one individual, as flawed as me. [Did you read that in your cynical, sarcastic voice? 😊] Faith teaches us to believe in/for things that we can’t see. We cannot see or know the number of our days. We don’t know what challenges we’ll face or the hurdles that we’ll overcome. Marriage is an exercise that declares, “This difficulty isn’t an ending to our relationship” and “I believe that we will continue to overcome together”.
4. I can be a “good wife” but if I’m not good to my husband, it doesn’t matter. I have received praise for the efforts in my role of being a wife. However, if I’m not good to my husband, then, who is the effort benefitting? I have to be the wife MY husband needs.
5. Things change. This has been a hard one for me. What worked for us in the beginning is not what works now. We have evolved individually and collectively, therefore our relationship must shift to accommodate the evolution. Acknowledging the changes and candidly speaking about them rather than avoiding them helps build better relationships.
6. Prayer works. We are told to pray without ceasing. I’m guilty of just praying in the hard times. But I have found that praying throughout all seasons leaves us in a better space. It puts me in a place of deciding which things should be a shared burden and which things should just be laid at the altar. Doing this allows me to not overburden him or expect outcomes that aren’t his responsibility.
7. Being fruitful is not just about kids. As couples, we must plant – plant in our relationship, our families, our work, etc. We must also understand that the harvest happens in seasons.
8. Clearly defined goals are necessary. We just wanted to live happily ever after. Taking the time to define what that looks like and setting goals for getting there is essential.