Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Life-Changing Marriage Advice That Really Works

You know what gets my goat more than anything else in marriage?

When I expect something and receive zero follow-through from someone else.

I know that is the 100% most hypocritical thing I do, and 100% what I do wrong on a regular basis. I expect certain things from others, yet let them down in the exact same ways.

Honey, why don't you... take me on a date here? Buy me roses every week? Give me beautiful presents?

Well, when was the last time I left a note on his car windshield, paid for his vacation, bought him a nice mug or other gift?

I expect so much, yet I'm apathetic in the same ways. But I can only see what *he* is doing wrong 95% of the time.

Someone (Namely, my counselor) recently told me that instead of fighting (when things don't go my way), instead I should affirm and encourage my husband. I know that for some of you, that's easy. It's obvious. You're lucky. #verylucky #moneyinthebank

For me, I have had to fight against negativity and my own big mouth for 4 years-- in counseling. Things haven't been particularly easy for us recently, but counseling is the best decision I have almost ever made. #almost

I decided to try this theory out.

Do you want to know what happened?


We didn't fight for three weeks straight.

It was life-changing. HUGE. MAJOR.

Sure, I know that being positive is important. In fact, you could probably say that's in my top 5 life mantras. Up there with "Do not worry about tomorrow" And "Lean not on your own understanding." But I didn't know that being positive toward my husband had the power to change our lives and give us the opportunity and even the option of living without fighting.  I didn't know that holding back a sermon and being a sermon in shoes instead would have the power to change my attitude completely.

I see it with my kids, and you'd think it would be so natural... if you encourage someone, they're more hopeful. I encourage my kids on a regular basis. Great job! Wow-- you did it! How did you do that so well?! How are you so cute?

But I can turn around and offer advice to my husband, try to fix him, and correct his weaknesses and mistakes.

Like he's a child.

Sometimes, you can- and have to!- establish boundaries in love. If someone is late for dinner, let's say they went shopping or grocery shopping or something-just put their plate in the fridge and eat. If that someone is late because they went grocery shopping, you can leave and go to the drugstore to get the tylenol they forgot.  They will hopefully get the hint that you're not going to sit around feeling bitter. You'll just establish boundaries so that you don't have to absorb the poison of bitterness.*

But sometimes, words and actions sting, and I have had to learn to hold my tongue, keep myself in check, stop wishing, and start doing.

Every time I'm tempted to correct mistakes, I mutter, "You're such a great Dad!" and run into the other room before I say something that has the power to let him down. I cheer him up, then run. Haha! It really works!

Marriage is a lot of hard work and boy howdy, it isn't a fairytale.  More to it, it takes dedication!

Yeah, faithfulness sucks sometimes, but affirmation and the commitment to let go of negativity will change your life.  No. joke. :)

I still have to go to counseling to work out what's going on and hash things out verbally. I still have to figure through a lot of things and let go of my preachy expectations somewhere. The poison has to melt off somewhere and my counselor is the fire to my wax.

So when I'm at home, I can to stop expecting so much from my husband, and instead focus on what I can do to make his life easier and better. I'm not perfect, but I'm going to worry about the ways that I do or do not express love for him. And most importantly, I'm going to affirm and encourage him before I'm tempted to criticize him. So simple, yet so life-changing.

One last thought: we desire connection more than anything else in marriage... the love languages are such a cliche (Seriously- stop) but it is true- we do desire connection.  Try this: Connect to God (both of you) and you will naturally be in step in order to connect to each other. His Spirit will be with you, he will help you to know how to love.  Without that magical link, you're basically nothing.

*These thoughts come straight out of the book by Cloud/Townsend, Boundaries in Marriage.

cross-posting with the ACWB


Foxy's Domestic Side said...

So true, I think we really need to lead by example. But if you never get any reciprocation from the other party, it starts to wear on you, so it is a fine line to teeter. I hope you work things out and that by having this mind set change, things change for the better. One thing I learned in our 12 years of marriage, wake up and choose to love your partner, cause sometimes,let's face it, it's hard.

Tacy said...

Thanks, Sarah. That is true. I have had to fight my own personal tendencies, probably partly personality, nature/nurture-- learned from how I grew up!! :)

Tif Nichols Fannin said...

I needed to read this today!!! Thanks for sharing.

Danielle Siero said...

So much truth in this post!! You really do have to work hard, and sometimes change to make marriage work.

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