Seventeen years ago today I said “I do.” He was — and is — Mr. Right For Me. We’ve been through thick and thin together. Richer and poorer. In sickness and in health. We’ve welcomed six children to the world and cried together over miscarriage. We’ve moved five times and over 4000 miles.
It’s been a crazy, wonderful, amazing ride for seventeen years.
Did I just say seventeen years?! I was twenty-one on our wedding day, so I guess we’ve been married almost half my lifetime. Holy cow!
Anyway, over the last seventeen years, I’ve learned a few things. And I’ve made a lot of mistakes when it comes to loving my husband. Thankfully, he is much nicer and more forgiving than I am. I scored, major big time, in marrying this guy.
Here are just a few of the things that I’ve learned over the years:
Remember that he’s not “everything.”
Your husband is not supposed to fill your every need. You probably already knew this. But, I think it’s easy to forget. I know, I forget. Relationships with other women are vital — and your relationship with God trumps all.
Don’t expect your husband to be everything for you; he can’t possibly do it.
Let him be different.
He doesn’t have to like everything you like or talk about everything you want to talk about.
While I consider Fish to be my best friend, there are some things that he’s just not into. And sometimes, I forget that a trip through Target is not his idea of fun. I forget that he doesn’t go giddy over blue cheese and mushrooms, two of my very favorite foods in the world. I forget that he doesn’t really want to hear every detail of “that time of the month,” whereas a girlfriend can nod and respond in sympathy.
Realize he will bug you.
Your husband will inevitably leave dirty socks on the floor, forget to take out the trash, or drive too close to the car ahead of him. Since he is different from you, he will do things differently. And this will bug you.
Provided that they aren’t inherently “wrong,” work to ignore those things or minimize their importance.
Learn from him and your differences.
My husband has been an immense help to me over the years in learning how other people think. Sometimes it’s a man brain v. woman brain kind of thing. Sometimes it’s just differences of opinions and personality. Either way, when I take the time to learn and be accepting of the differences, I am helped personally, emotionally, and socially.
Your husband is the prime example of someone who is different — but who also loves you. You can’t say that about everyone you disagree with.
Forgive and seek forgiveness.
Living in close proximity to another person with differing opinions, habits, and preferences is a recipe for disagreement. It’s going to happen. And as sparks fly upwards, so will our tempers. Get in the habit of forgiving — and asking for forgiveness. Yes, it works both ways.
Remember why you said yes in the first place.
Hang on during the rough spots.
I am not a marriage counselor. I’m just figuring these things out as I go along. Seventeen years is a long time, but I have been far from a perfect wife. While I continue to make more mistakes, I am thankful to sometimes learn from them.
I know that some marriages are more difficult than others. And really, some seasons of life are just tough. Our circumstances can put a lot of stress on our family relationships. But, I’ve found that these things help bring perspective to my situation and help me love my husband more.