If you joined me last week, I shared three out of six truths that have transformed our marriage and I hope the lessons we learned will benefit you as well. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do that HERE.
4. Keep a Manageable Schedule
There’s a hierarchy in marriage and if children ever become the object of worship in the family, then you can very quickly expect of symptoms of disintegration to happen in the marriage. A man and woman married first and have a priority over the kids. The kids will leave one day and it will be one on one with our spouse again.
When you’re flying, the flight attendants always tell the parents that if an emergency occurs, the oxygen masks go on you first. Why? Because only then can we administer the oxygen to our children. If I die putting my child’s oxygen mask on, we both die.
So, when the masks drop suddenly from the ceiling and you find yourself low on air, make your marriage the priority and put the mask on you and your spouse FIRST!
For our family that looks like free evenings. We have a tipping point of too many activities in the evenings and the whole dynamic of our family, especially our marriage is thrown off balance. Our kids aren’t involved in every sport activity available. We simply can’t. More than two nights of activities a week and Adam and I are on different pages. He’s grabbing oranges at the store when I asked specifically for bananas so I could make banana pudding and now the whole dessert is ruined and it’s his fault. He comes home at 4 so I can leave, but I needed him here at 3:30. It. Happens. Every. Time.
Our decision on sports and nights out is what works for us. Your family is different. However, we all have a tipping point where it’s too much. Athletics and activities provide exciting opportunities, but are we willing to take a stand for our marriage and put it first even if it means saying no to one of these activities?
Ultimately, showing our kids marriage comes first will give them a safe and stable home.
5. Build Trust
Marriage has to walk on a foundation of trust. We are prone to do dumb things, but trust gives you the ability to have honest communication. Trust is the choice of an individual to extend to someone else. What breaks trust? Manipulation. Me not believing that you’re saying what you mean.
There has to be a presumption that we’re speaking honest words to one another without hidden motives. Julie wants to know she can trust that I’m not being nice to her simply to extract something else later.
Men, why are you sending flowers? Is it to manipulate or honor? Is there an unspoken point system going on? Do you have to continually “one up” the other one and then cash in points at the end of the week for a trip to the treasure box? This will not breed trust.
If you want to be trustworthy, first, we have to stop being selfish. If you want to start and continue to build trust instead of mistrust then honor your word. Be there when you say you’re going to be there. Say you’ll be home in 35 minutes and be there. Small things build trust. You have to genuinely care to build trust with another person, especially your spouse because they can see right through you when you’re not.
Be authentic and whole. If you’re upset, say you’re upset. Don’t say you’re fine and punish the other person for not knowing why you’re not fine. I heard it said once “I may have a right to be mad at you, but I don’t have the right to withhold why I’m mad at you and use that as a weapon.”
For women, this can be especially tricky. How authentic are you with your husband about inward struggles?
When we come to them authentically, not accusatory or defensive, but openly asking for their help, that spurs them to dig into the Word and find the answers.
That, in turn, encourages them to be the spiritual leader of the home. If we’re always head strong and can solve all our own problems while making them feel like they’re not needed, they’ll let us have the reigns. That won’t fight us for it. Give them the position of Lead Shepherd in the home. Even if it scares you. He’ll grow into the shoes.
6. Give Time Freely
A marriage relationship takes time. There’s no way around it. Think of time like currency. We have been given a certain about of money. Are we spending that money on what builds up our marriage or are we spending it on all the things outside our marriage?
We all have jobs, responsibilities and hobbies, but those things must go around the primary priority of our marriage. We must value that marriage and invest the time it deserves. Even then we’re not guaranteed a large return on investment, but if you don’t, you’re guaranteed a negative return.
I am a quality time gal. Just come sit and talk with me. Yes, washing the dishes and cleaning up helps too, but only after a good heart to heart chat. It took a while for Adam to realize this. Thanks to the Love Languages book we figured this trick out early on in our marriage.
Even if your love language isn’t quality time, there isn’t a relationship that blooms without watering it with time. It’s essential. Women, specifically stay-home mommas with young children, our home is our office. We can easily get frustrated when our husbands are constantly working, yes?
We get tired of them answering their phone and texts and emails. Well, we can do the same thing, it just looks different. It may not be electronic things we’re answering, but we answering something.
Sometimes Adam just has to say, Julie, it’ll be there tomorrow. I usually reply, “Yes, along with 100 more things, so this will make 105!” But he’s right. He’s asking me to stop my job as mom and house manager and spend time with him.
As I said at the beginning, anniversaries differ from birthdays in that they don’t come around every year without some effort on our part. We must choose to love, communicate effectively, understand one another, manage our schedules, trust and invest time into this relationship. I am praying for you!