I am two months into marriage and I have barely even scratched the surface of what it truly means to be a lifelong partner to someone. Wife is such a funny word… meaning “a female partner in a marriage”. Earlier this year, just months before Cale and I tied the knot, I sent out an email to some women in my life that I trust, love, and respect. Some older, some younger, some newly wedded ladies. All of these women have different perspectives and life walks and outlooks. I have dreamed of being a wife for a very long time and, might I add, a damn good one. I hear these women who complain about their husbands ALL OF THE TIME. (I think to myself… I’m sure you are not always a walk in the park yourself, lady…). They do not honour him, respect him, or ever think that they may be the one who needs to compromise. They get together with other women and they have a full out tear down session, their husbands hearts and reputations being sacrificed so they can one up another gal with how bad they have it and how stupid their man is. Now, again, I am new at this, so please don’t throw any stones. This is just observation. I have also seen women who, on the flip side, make their man look like a million bucks, all of the time. They encourage him, love him, support him when it’s hard to…they are selfless. They don’t continue pointing out his wrongs…they are real. Raw. They have the same tough times, but they do not air their dirty laundry to the neighborhood. They are who I look to as my guidance for this crazy adventure called marriage. They are women who run their households with strength and beauty. They have offered me some beautiful insights. Some practical, some things to be aware of…I long to be an amazing helpmate and counterpart to Caleb. To pour out love on him and to see him shine and grow and learn and thrive…
Here are a few pieces of advice I was given. I am keeping these things anonymous, as to protect the advice giver. There were just some gems in here that I had to pass on, so you too could apply these to your current relationship. They’re beautiful gems I carry in the pockets of my brain and pull out when needed.
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I often want to ‘teach’ my husband a better way – or make him somehow different. Truth be told, I learn so much from his different approach. But it’s so easy for me to feel like I’ve got the ‘right’ way. It can get sticky when push comes to shove and you realize how different you each are…make room for the other person to be them.
Date nights must be FIERCELY protected
Be a student of your husband. Figure out what makes him tick, what causes his face to light up, what brings him joy. In turn, these are things that will make YOU the most happy
Talk about EVERYTHING! Never assume anything
Be quick to forgive-do not fall asleep angry…or at least work towards this ;) You are teammates working together to problem-solve an endless amount of daily events. It is really true that you should never go to bed with unresolved issues. We have found that making a ritual each evening recounting events of the day keeps us on track. We talk about how we handled ourselves, but more importantly what we would do differently if something similar were to come up again.
When he says you’re beautiful, believe him. He’s going to see you in all your glory. It’s easy to assume he’s not going to like the parts of your body that you don’t. He’s not even going to notice them. He loves you wholly. This man is your partner, your love, hopefully your best friend and your heart. It is very easy in the dailiness of life to forget the “person” you fell in love with. The newness WILL wear off and if you have both been paying attention you will find you love one another far deeper then you do now. This is based solely on your respect for one another and what each of you individually bring to the table as well as meeting each others emotional needs.
Reach out to your community of family and friends around you that will hold you and your husband up through both the good and bad. Do not smear your husband in the process, but seek out truth from those around you. Talk about household chores and don’t get frustrated if he does not automatically do something. Voice what you need and what you BOTH expect.
Apologize when you are wrong, even if it is unintentional. Your partner’s feelings, ideas, opinions, and preferences are just as valid as your own. Make room for your mate to be who they are and you won’t have to apologize so much
There is only one side and you are both on it.
I have learned from both my marriage and from the destruction of my parent’s marriage that speaking kindly to one another is absolutely essential. Even when you are mad or frustrated or in pain, you always have a choice about how you speak to another person
Be generous in the bedroom. Take your time. Tell your partner what you want and what you like. Don’t be shy or hide yourself. Lose yourself in each other. It’s honestly one of the best places in the world. Don’t take it for granted when your partner moves toward you in a physical way and don’t use sex as a solution to anything.
Be co-creators together. Both of you are already complete – you do not complete each other-Instead you are fully formed individuals who work together as a team to create the life you want to live. Instead of having eyes only for each other, picture yourself standing side by side, hand in hand, facing toward your future. Equal. You move forward together but separately. Since you’re not conjoined, if one of you struggles along the way, the other is more equipped to help you up.
Make time for yourself. Have interests apart from your mate, and allow your mate the same freedom. This will make you better partners to each other
Above all, be grateful. Give thanks for your mate every single day. If you are frustrated with your mate, give thanks and you will be filled with love. I’m not kidding. This is serious stuff. Gratitude is the birthplace for all love, joy, connection, and belonging.
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The women in my life are pure gold. I plan to write out more of the words given to me, as well as sharing some of what I am learning on my own and through others and, for myself, through my relationship with God. Breathe. Embrace life and ENJOY the RIDE!! Cherish your every relationship. Cultivate it, water it, feed it…watch yourself and the other person thrive…