It’s our 24th anniversary today! I’m always excited when our anniversary rolls around. It gives my husband, James, and me a chance to celebrate our relationship. A day (or at least a few hours) to get away for a while and focus on us. A day to have some fun without our lovely offspring trailing along behind.
In the daily grind, it is sometimes difficult to get a word in edgewise between us, let alone have a quiet, meaningful moment together when we’re not distracted, exhausted, or interrupted! Maybe you can relate? We have one small child in particular which we have dubbed, “the hug breaker” because she thinks it is just hilarious to come and wedge herself between James and me every time we hug each other! So it will be nice to get away for awhile.
I have one child who is married now. They have been married for a little over a year. They live across the street, so we are blessed to see them almost every day. It has been interesting and sometimes entertaining to observe them as they have grown, struggled, laughed, cried, made decisions, argued, loved, and figured things out together. They are doing a great job! Many times they have reminded me of my own relationship with my husband in our early years of marriage. Watching them has shown me how much our relationship has changed and how much we have learned since those early days.
We’re definitely far from perfect, but there are a few things we have discovered since then. I share the top three with you in the hopes that you can apply them to your own marriage or your future marriage, as the case may be. 😉
Lesson #1: My hubby cannot meet all my needs.
This was/is a hard one for me. In our early days, sometimes I unfairly expected James to know what was wrong with me and to just fix it! If I was feeling down, I wanted him to listen, take care of the problem, cheer me up….I expected HIM to make me happy again! Couldn’t he see my world was not right and HE needed to fix it?! Husbands are great at fixing a lot of things, but they can’t and shouldn’t be expected to always make and keep us happy. They, of course, do make us happy sometimes, but as Christian wives, we need to know that our joy (lasting happiness) needs to come from our relationship with the Lord, not our husbands. I still struggle with this from time to time. That’s when I need to remember: Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It comes from spending time with Jesus. My husband is not Jesus. (Sounds pretty simple, right?) 🙂
Lesson #2: Love Languages are a thing and they are important!
Sometime in the early years, we read a great book called, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s been around for quite a while and it was an eye opener for us! This book really helped us see how we each had a preferred way to give and receive love. The 5 love languages according to the book are: giving gifts, speaking words of affirmation, giving physical touch, spending quality time, and doing acts of service. You can learn more about them by clicking here.
It’s very important to figure out which one of these modes for showing and receiving love you and your spouse each prefer. In other words, what is your love language? What is your spouse’s love language? If you can’t answer those questions definitively, start paying attention to how you show love to your spouse and that is usually your main love language. It’s also a great idea to study your spouse and see how they show love. That should tell you their primary love language. If you’re still not sure, you can take an online assessment here.
James is definitely a ”words” guy. My sister-in-law once said he is the most encouraging person she knows. It’s true! He is always affirming me and our children because this is his love language. He’s very good at it! I, on the other hand, like physical touch–so I frequently give a pat on the arm, a hug, a hair tousle, or maybe a squeeze of the shoulder. Physical touch is my main love language. Before we figured out our love languages and realized they are different, we’d sometimes be showing love to each other, but missing it because we weren’t speaking the other person’s love language. So I’d be tickling his arm while he was saying, “You’re beautiful!” We still catch ourselves doing this to this day, but now we realize it and laugh. We are both saying, “I love you” in our own language! If we hadn’t learned about the love languages, we might not be laughing, but feeling frustrated and unloved.
Lesson #3: Taking time for each other is key.
I know I said I’m a physical touch person, but quality time is a close second! With a noisy, chaotic household, not to mention crazy schedules, quality time can be hard to come by! But as husbands and wives we have got to take time to nurture our relationship. After all, what is the point of all the running around and noise, if you and your spouse aren’t feeling connected?
We try to have a weekly date night especially during the school year when it can be really hectic. The dates are usually very simple at a local (ahem, cheap) restaurant. Sometimes, we bring the baby, sometimes not. The point is we get away with each other for a peaceful meal with no distractions to connect with one another.
Besides, going on dates, we also sometimes put an older kid in charge for a few minutes and sneak away on a walk in the evenings. Even just a few minutes can be refreshing and help us feel like we are on the same page again. If we’re too tired for a walk, we sit on the porch together and talk until they find us. 🙂 The goal is just to find a time to ask about each other’s day and see how each of us is doing. These talks can help us know how to pray for each other, as well.
Marriage can be a wonderful gift. It’s definitely not always easy. It takes lots of work and dedication. Hopefully, these lessons can help you in your marriage whether it’s going great, struggling, or in the future. Marriage can be something to celebrate! That’s what I’ll be doing as you read this post! 🙂