Marriage: When the rubber meets the road.

September 6, 2017

 

 

It’s almost impossible to fully understand when you are standing on the altar on your wedding day what the future will throw your way. You willingly promise to have and to hold from this day forth, till death do us part, without knowing what set of circumstances will unfold in the years to come. I have realized that when the hard parts of life come knocking at your door, the real opportunities arise to live your vows. When life is painful, stressful, or even grueling, a more selfless love has the chance to be exercised. When the rubber meets the road, are our convictions about love and marriage demonstrated? I wanted to write about this because I think it is something that all couples face at some point, and having some concrete steps to practice in those moments have helped me tremendously.

 

 

Marriage is really good at delivering you a nice large self portrait. Suddenly you are very aware of how your choices and actions can affect your partner. When the really rough moments arrive, who shows up? I can speak of loving him with my whole heart until there is a condition that rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes the issues may be significant, and other times they may be a build up of smaller things. But when the going gets tough, do we really show up like we promised in our vows? When we say we love someone with our whole heart, how is it so easy to put up conditions when human weakness gets in the way?

Here are a few things Gabe and I wanted to share that have helped combat negativity in our marriage:

Anna:

1. If Gabe disappoints me for some reason or other, I can choose to give him the cold shoulder or make him feel guilty for not being what I needed him to be. (I have done both of these darn it!) The other choice is to turn the mirror onto my own actions first. Am I demonstrating the kind of love to him that I am expecting for him to show me? Am I being critical in my thoughts before seeking to understand his perspective? Most of the time, it’s a wake up call to see that often times what we expect in the other is not being demonstrated in ourselves.

2. Love ignites more love in a relationship, while negativity can only break down and tear it apart. Our words can never be taken back once spoken, so before heading into an argument wait to cool down. It helps to give your thoughts a chance to sort out. I have learned that after nine years of practice, I still need at least 19 more! Instead of brewing over something small for a week, calmly discuss it when emotions can be under control. If it something big and anger is justified, trying to discuss it when you have thought out how to communicate your anger has always brought about better resolve than when words are spewing out without much thought behind them. These simple but difficult actions to put in practice always work to build a stronger more unified love.

Gabe:

3. When Anna and I do not see eye to eye, or when expectations are not met, it can be easier to play the waiting game in an effort to make the other person take the first step to reconciliation. Most of the time this is a result of pride in some form. If I feel like she is in the wrong, waiting for her to make the first move gives me a sense of vindication for how I am feeling, even if waiting is putting me into a darker place. If I am in the wrong, taking that first step feels like an admission of guilt, so I naturally want to avoid facing the reality of my shortcoming.  The issue in both cases is that neither is an act of love, but rather, both are an act of pride that can make moving on more difficult. It takes more love and strength to lay down my pride than it does to selfishly hold onto it. Despite knowing this, it is always harder to make that first step to move forward. Imagine how amazing it would be, how much negativity could be avoided, and how much love would grow, if we could race to be the first to make amends in the situation rather than be the last.

 

 

Gabe has taught me through the above point, that when we choose a love beyond ourselves, a greater unity steps in to take the place of pride. It’s impossible to talk about marriage for me without mentioning our faith. We have always held our faith at the center of our marriage, which continues to be the main source of strength for us. I wear a cross ring above my wedding ring to remind me that someone else loves us unconditionally, and is always rooting for our family as well. It is a visual reminder that marriage is designed to be that outpouring of God’s love to each other.

 

What are some things that have helped you in your relationship to work towards a more unified love? We like to say when all else fails, give each other a chance to say curse words at the top of your lungs……;) Kidding of course. Maybe…

 

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” – Victor Hugo

 

P.S. On the road….one of the places that always tends to be a great place to practice all of the above, yes? 😉

 

Leave a Comment

  • The biggest thing that I have learned (going on 23 years of marriage) is to really pause and PRAY about whether something should be a topic of conversation or whether I just need to LET IT GO! I find when I pray about it and ask God to create the opening for conversation about something that’s bugging me and then just be at peace either way, it makes things so much better. Either I never get the opening and I just have to move on and let go of my own issue, or He truly creates an opening for natural discussion and we can have a calm conversation that is not carried out in anger. My natural inclination is to talk and have my say and my husband’s is not. Putting my own way of handling things aside and letting God direct me has made a huge difference.

  • Love #3. Another helpful thing for me to remember is that my husband is not the enemy–Satan is. He (Satan) wants me to be angry, unforgiving, harsh. He doesn’t want us to have a healthy marriage and HE is the enemy, not my husband! Am I angry because of selfish reasons? Usually, yes. I have to see and acknowledge my own sin before I can handle the situation in a godly manner. Love reading biblical marriage advice. Keep it up guys.

  • Loving this post so so so much!!!! It’s speaking to me…I’m definitely guilty of treating my husband other than how I want to be treated. I loved the part about talking up that I love him with my whole heart…until something upsets me. So guilty, and I loved reading this and being reminded of the bigger picture and his feelings over my own.

  • What a great post – thank you so much for sharing! The best marriage advice we received, eleven years ago, is to remember that we are on the same team. It helps in moments of frustration that we are a team, though we approach things (drastically) differently. The differences are one of the beauties of marriage though, how we compliment and balance one another.

  • I can relate to all of the above! My husband is the wait and let it cool, and I’m let’s talk about it now. I was famous for having to have the last word… literally storming off than storming right back because I thought of one more great point to make to prove why I’m right 🙈☺️ I’ve come a long way realizing that, that point was more pride. Realizing that not every disagreement needs a resolution, sometimes a bad day or bad mood can be just that. And the things that matter will be discussed when tempers cool or else pointless, we both won’t/don’t hear each other at that point. Also to realize that there will be things we can’t understand because it’s not for us as a husband or wife to fix, that’s where my trust and faith in God come in and I calm knowing I can release it to him.

  • Oh marriage, it’s harder than you think it’ll be -at least it was for me. I love my husband so much but over the last couple years we’ve had some hardship that interfered with our connection. We started counseling and the results were immediate. Our counselor is not a magician but for me (and I think Dan too) just knowing that we’re all in and working on things made a world of difference. It also forced us to have a weekly ‘date night’. After our session we continue our conversation in the car with some fast food like our dating days and it’s fun.

    P.S. these car pics! You look SO cute!

  • I love these ideas! I cannot agree more about calmly discussing “small things” instead of brewing over them for a week. I did this ALL the time when we were engaged and first married, and I am so grateful that my husband helped me break this habit. He told me: if it’s truly a small thing, we can talk about it and it won’t be an issue, and if it may seem small but is actually a big thing, then it’s good to bring it up! So we just always talk about everything. In our engagement and in that first year of marriage, there were a lot more emotions and tears from me (I’m a bit of a drama queen), but I am so grateful we pushed through the hard spots and did that because our communication is so much better now! While I’ll still slip into this bad habit now and then, it happens a lot less and I think we’re much more unified as a couple.

  • You guys are absolutely made for each other. You compromise and fit together so well, it’s so evident in your dialogue.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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