I was already a mom of 2 children when my husband and I met 12 years ago. So when we got married we were thrown straight into the deep end with parenting, responsibilities, financial burdens and more. Our honeymoon was the longest we had ever spent alone. So it didn’t take long after the honeymoon for the moon to turn into a blaring alarm clock screaming “It’s time to get up!’.
We have been busy with life ever since.
3 months into marriage, I burst through the doors of church crying to my friend – “I knew the honeymoon phase wouldn’t last forever, but I didn’t know it would be this short!” She held me. “there, there.”
I am one of the lucky girls, who even though marriage is never easy for anyone, I married a really, really good man. I have a hard time trying to complain to some of my girlfriends that it bothers me when Kevin walks in the door and starts cleaning right away. Yeah, yeah you can give me an unsympathetic glare too. However, as good as I have it, it’s work and sometimes we pick up bad advice along the way, and we get confused on what advice is right for us.
Worst Marriage Exercise Ever
I will never forget the first time Kevin and I took a marriage workshop together at our old church. During one of the video sessions, they were teaching couples how to fight fair. So they paused the video series and gave everyone a brief exercise to do. Every couple was to find a quiet place to sit together, hold hands, stare into each others eyes and bring up an argument, or an issue. Once you thought of an “issue” you had to follow the videos advice on fighting fair.
“What I hear you say is that….blablabla”….. “I feel…. blabla” The problem was they gave 10 minutes for this exercise, so as soon as everyone aired their bitter laundry to their spouse they had 5 minutes to resolve it using a very unnatural script to talk it through.
Man, was that awful! When the buzzer rang for us all to go back to our seats, couples sat a seat apart, some didn’t even come back into the room at all, and Kevin and I took our conversation and tension home with us. Worst – Marriage – Exercise -EVER…
Like my friend put it… “If I was ticked at my husband and he started trying to hold my hand and say “what I hear you saying is.. I would drop kick him so hard!”
There Isn’t a Perfect Marriage Formula
Not every marriage fits a mold, not everyone has the same sex drive, or natural submissive personality. Some people have a wounded background and even eye contact with their spouse is hard, while others have a lot of external pressures on them that create stress and pressure. The truth is, is that no person is perfect and no marriage is either and there is no “script” or formula that works for everyone.
That is why I love Sheila Wray Gregoire’s New Book Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesn’t Happen by Accident
Finally, a Christian author who truly understands the complexity of marriages, and the uniqueness of individuals. An author who won’t settle for “pat answers” to help couples connect, but offers real, down to earth, non-scripted marriage advice. Check out her blog , To Love Honour and Vacuum and make sure you sign up for her email list too!
Sometimes They’re not the problem, our thoughts are!
The truth is, is that just like anxiety, depression, guilt, etc.. stem from our thought life, so do the strains in our marriage. We come into marriage with a set way of thinking, or a formula we are trying to implement, and it still doesn’t work, so we blame our spouses. Well guess what, sometimes our view on what marriage should be is just wrong, and HE or SHE is not the problem, our thoughts are.
One Last Story
Kevin and I had been going through what I call a season of “tag team parenting”. No time together because we were too busy running kids and taking care of life. So we high fived in the entrance way as we got everyone where they needed to go. Our tensions started to pick up against each other, looking for someone to blame for our lack of connection. This particular night, we had a million places to be, but the final destination was our daughter’s dance recital. He was late, I was irritated. We greeted each other with tension and annoyance as gleeful parents paraded the theater with roses. We, hadn’t even showered, or bought roses.
The curtain began to rise and we rushed to our seats, parents sat up straight, flipping through the program with anticipation. We both, simultaneously slumped into our chairs with a thud and let out the loudest simultaneous sigh of dread. We looked at one another and burst out laughing. There was no need for “I feel…” or “I hear you saying that….” we just laughed it all away.
Like Sheila says in thought #7 – Being One Is More Important Than Being Right