This last week we celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary. Time goes so fast! Our lives are full, often tired, but so very thankful! I feel like many movies focus on the sappy drama of meeting someone new or the sad drama of losing someone. But there so much day to day life that happens in between. Laughter, sadness, frustration, joy and….yes….even arguments. So here’s my contribution to the beauty of everyday life. Here’s 7 lessons learned in 7 years of marriage. Though I’m sure there are many others, this is just what came to mind.
1. The power of doing the little things: My husband lives for his cup of coffee in the morning. Believe me…..you don’t disturb that first cup while he sits on the couch waking up. Tomorrow I’m heading out for a retreat, and he has bravely determined he will watch our littles on his own for the day. I know in order for it to be a successful morning….there must be coffee. So I’ve already prepped the coffee maker for him tomorrow. I don’t need to have a banner fly behind a plane, or buy an expensive gift, or grill him specialty steaks (he’s better at grilling anyway) in order for him to feel loved and cared for. He hears it when I prep the coffee, plan the dinner, sweep the floor or do the dishes.
Often he’ll come home from work with some treat he knows I like or he’ll make sure to do the dishes (because he knows I hate dishes). Little things speak volumes. I read a story once where a man pinpointed the downfall of his marriage to him deciding he was tired of making the morning coffee for his wife. When he decided to neglect that chore, she decided she didn’t feel like packing his lunch anymore. Each action led to another until all the subtle messages of love and support were gone, and their marriage fell apart.
My husband is a capable man and can make coffee, clean the house and cook amazing food. But when I’m faithful in the little things, he hears the message that his success and comfort are top priorities to me.
2. Own your wrong first: This last weekend, we kept joking that we have had “7 years of marital bliss, with nary an angry word between us!”. As anyone who knows us can attest, we are not quiet people. And we are human with our own personalities. Miscommunication and arguments are bound to happen.
But the key is owning your own wrongdoing first.
When we each clean up our own part of the mess first, there’s not much left to argue over. When the health of the relationship is your top goal, it makes it much easier to quickly admit where you are wrong. (Note: I didn’t say it was ‘easy’, I said it was easier.)
3. Share household responsibilities in accordance with each person’s gifts and personal preferences: My husband loves cooking and he’s very good at it, so often he’s in charge of that while I watch the kids, clean the kitchen etc. He hates painting and I don’t mind it. So it was a relief to both of us when he gave that task to me! 🙂 He no longer needed to worry about it, and I didn’t have to nag or wait until he got around to repainting the bathroom or kitchen trim. If possible share tasks based on preferences.
4. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk talk….(do you get the idea?): I know when my phone rings that it’s my husband…. usually because hardly anyone else calls me. But mostly because he makes it a point to call me each day mid-morning when he’s on his 15 min walk, and sometimes in the afternoon on the way back from lunch. We text throughout the day, and he’s the first person I want to share anything with .
When you stop talking, you stop getting to know someone.
I’ve heard many stories of empty nesters who find themselves with nothing in common, because they didn’t keep talking. Clearly talking after having kids isn’t as easy as before. Little interruptions to the conversation are running around the living room. Conversations require creativity. Sometimes they happen during supper prep, or after the kids are dismissed from the meal. They may happen during the 10 minute phone call in the morning, or after the kids are in bed. Or simply through a series of text messages during the day. We also like doing Marco Polo videos….mostly to share the chaos of the day with my husband who sits in his quiet cubicle all day. 🙂
Ooops! This post is going way longer than I was planning….so I’ll close with only 4 lessons and continue with the rest next time.
Remember to keep talking with those you care about. 🙂