Whew! I gotta tell ya, I feel a sense of accomplishment, relief, and hope after being married 5 years. First of all let me just say that I adore my husband and love him very much. However, this doesn’t mean I LIKE him all the time and by NO means do we have a fairy tale perfect marriage, mainly because those don’t exist, but I refuse to pretend that we do have a “perfect marriage”. What we do have is Christ, He is the foundation of our marriage, without Him we most definitely would not have come this far or go any further if we don’t have Him at the center. Having Christ as our foundation as enabled both Jason and I to have a transparent marriage. Being transparent is a good thing, an essential part to marriage, but we all know being totally open and honest with another person who is different from you will inevitably cause conflict. But once again, believe it or not conflict is also essential in marriage. In the book, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, Mark Gungor talks in chapter 17 about fighting fair and conflict. Essentially he says, if you never have conflict with a person you can never truly experience a deep intimate relationship with them. God did not make any two people exactly alike, we are ALL different. You WILL disagree with your spouse on something, probably multiple somethings, and if you avoid confrontation to unveil these differences your relationship is going to suffer eventually. But honestly, dealing with conflict was something I never had a problem with. I grew up in a family that was full of opinions and LOVED sharing them. I remember multiple occassions where any one of us children would have discussions with each other or my dad (it was most always my dad 🙂 ) where we learned to deal with conflict when it occurred and to do our best to resolve it.
But even with, what I thought to be, great conflict resolution skills, Jason and I are STILL working on how the two of us can “Fight Fair”. But I must admit year 2 and 3 of our marriage was the HARDEST.
Our first year was blissful of course. 🙂 Blissfully IGNORANT. And to add to our ignorance I became pregnant by month 2. What I think getting pregnant and having M in our first year did was distract us. We moved from the beach house, to my parents house, lived there my entire pregnancy and 3 months after little M was born. And than we became home owners, with an infant. Picture me, 20 years old, a 3 month old, and my FIRST very own “nest” that I have NO idea how to take care of, and I’m a wife and essentially have no clue how to do that either. Oh and might I point out I’m also a selfish, self serving, self seeking, human being that only cares about herself!! (And that sweet little baby) Jason who?! So basically in year 2 I started weeding through all that and trying to figure out how to be a good wife FIRST and a good mom. I have always known how important it was to put my man first and I wanted to do my BEST to do that. But of course when you have an infant that depends on you, that presents a challenge. Year 2 was full of LOTS of fighting. I distinctly remember talking to my mom and Kaitlyn like every other day.
Moving into year 3, guess who’s preggers again?!?! Yep, yours truly. Thinking we were making progress and here come the hormones. We made it through the pregnancy but the hormones got worse. This time we decided to seek some Christian counsel, never too early or late for that. 🙂 Praise the Lord we might make it to year 4! (No I knew we would because I would never get divorced, we might die strongly disliking each other but we’d be together. “They hold hands, but its not loving at all. Its like this rigamortis,
romatioid athritis, red rover grip that they got going on.” Dane Cook)
Anywho, year 3 marked more fights but BIG mile stones as well. Seeing a Christian counselor helped tremendously. In fact, we not only saw one together but I saw one on my own. I took a lot from these professionals and fellow Christians. They helped us understand things about each other and gave us healthy advice on how to approach one another in certain situations.
Year 4 was a whirlwind. It was the year we sold our home, moved back in with the parents, and then ended up here and in Georgia. Here, where we are now. 🙂 It’s not just the location, I honestly believe we have come to a sweet spot in our marriage. A number of things have brought us here, we’ve both grown, and can now (most of the time): admit when we’re wrong apologize, hold our tongues, be respectful, be selfless here and there, recognize what the other person NEEDS and sacrificially give it to them. Can you believe that when you do these things EVERY NOW and THEN what a difference it makes in your marriage. Oh my goodness, we are learning to LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 And are nowhere near having completely learned. We will be in a forever state of learning this but I’m just happy to be making strides. Because believe me when I say I have been at a place of not giving a rip about what Jason needed and only concerned about what he needed to give ME. But Christ did not intend for marriage to be about ME. As Mark Gungor put it so clearly “A great marriage is mostly about two people committing to each other and then employing principles such as love, acceptance, patience, forgiveness, sacrifice, and unselfishness, to enrich that committed relationship. Marriage is more about work than about divine luck, more about finding someone to love than about finding someone to meet your own laundry list of personal needs.” Amen to that! I better make sticky notes with exactly THAT written on it and post them all over my house so I don’t forget that truth.
So to conclude, Jason and I still have a LONG way to go with LOTS of work. We still argue, though me being the LOUD fighter I have to say I have dialed it WAY back. Yay me. And daily sometimes hourly, I have to remind myself to put Christ at the center of my marriage. I must have Him first, then Jason. (So picture Me–> Christ–>Jason. See He’s in the center 🙂 ) But I must say it is so cool to reflect and see the progress we have made. And to those newlyweds or maybe the ones in year 2 and 3, keep working. Because there is hope. Make Christ the center, LOVE your husband unconditionally as Christ loves you. And I just want to reiterate, you wont get to year 5 and it be perfect. Year 5 isn’t perfect. Marriage isn’t perfect! But it’s sweet 🙂 And you will move beyond the pettiness and reach more and more sweet spots in your marriage. I believe that marriage will just continually get better, through every hard time, you reach a new part of marriage that is so good.
And outside of reading the Word daily I recommend the following books, they helped me TREMENDOUSLY. And Jason didn’t even have to read them 😉
Obviously Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor
The Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend