What We’ve Learned in a Decade of Marriage
In this current social construct that has over 50% of marriages failing, my husband and I often get this question: what’s your secret for being married over 13 years?
Politically correct response: Communication, trust, and friendship.
Madi’s response: Wine, Jesus, and friendship.
You could not tell us at the age of 25 when we married that we would suffer foreclosure on our home, paralyzing credit card debt,or the death of a child. All we hoped for was a long, happy marriage. The truth is, there is happiness (a lot of it) but man have we fought to find it.
So how did we do it? How did we survive so much pain, so many fights, and so many instances of lonely silence to become the couple that gets asked for advice?
For access to the podcast interview, click below.
So I believe one of the first things we tell new couples is to learn and actually show your spouse’s love language. We encourage new couples to read The Five Love Languages prior to marriage in fact. The Five Love Languages are as follows:
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
Learning what your spouse’s language is means you have a responsibility to communicate in that language. For instance, Derick’s love language is overwhelmingly physical tough. I know that every day, I need to physically touch my husband (and this doesn’t just mean sex). I need to rub his back, hug him, rub his shoulders, etc. He needs the touch to fill that love tank.
My love language however is acts of service (and actually words of affirmation is tied also). Do the dishes and call me pretty and I’m yours forever!
Within the last two years, we have learned more about love using this method and we certainly avoid more fights too. We did not use this method when the accounts were empty. As empty as our checking was, that’s how empty our love tank was too.
But today I realize, there is something beautiful about him taking my car to fill the gas tank or him picking up a brush because I mentioned needing one. Likewise for how he feels when I take just ten seconds to rub his shoulders while he sits at his desk working.
It is our way of giving the other what they need, not just what we think is right.
We can’t stress enough that fun is an essential ingredient in your recipe of marriage. We truly are best friends. If I were to win concert tickets, he’d be the one I’d want to go with. Next week is my birthday and rather than a girls weekend in Vegas, I chose one with him. Beyond our romance, we have fun. I mean it. We can sit on a couch for hours watching t.v and laughing at funny memes or vines that come across our facebook walls. When something happens in life, he’s the first person I think to call and vice versa.
Friendship will keep your marriage fresh longer than any other date, sex episode, or promise you’ve made to one another. When times get hard, it’s your friendship that will carry you through. It’s also what stops me from sometimes saying those things that I know will hurt his feelings. He’s my best friend; why would I want to hurt my BEST friend?
Space. I know, I know. I literally just said that you have to be best friends, but even best friends honor each other’s space. Before my husband was here, I was my own woman with my own aspirations, friends, goals, and dreams. I love him more than anyone, but he will never be able to compete with how much I love myself. No one has the power to take her away from me. I fought too damn hard to find her. What I love about him though is he would never try. The independent, feisty, creative woman he loved when he met me is still here and he still loves her. He still wants her to find herself. He still wants her to go after her dreams. He still wants her to live her best life on her own terms.
And him? I still want him to love riding his motorcycle without me. I still want him to envision his dream of expanding his business, because every step he takes in finding his way is one more way we grow closer together. Distance is not a bad thing. Being alone is not a bad thing. It is essential to learning how to love someone else even more.
I think we haven’t mastered marriage. I know to many it seems like it, but I don’t think you can ever truly master anything because with every stage of growth comes more to learn. I do however think we’ve found our groove. I could say something lame here like “don’t quit on each other. Just stick it out and you’ll work through.” To some extent, I guess that’s true. But the truth is some things we do have to quit. We have to quit expecting our husbands to know what we are thinking at all times. We have to quit expecting our wives to give it up after she’s worked an 8 hour work day, cooked, cleaned, and did her motherly duties. We have to quit demanding so damn much and just give grace to our best friend.
Honestly in 13 years of marriage, where I’ve made countless mistakes and apologized more than complained, grace is the one thing I believe holds our marriage together. Grace and a sprinkles of Jesus and fun.
The Still PREP’n Experience
Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).