Thursday, June 9, 2011

Things Marriage has Taught Me

**Just a little aside before I get into the meat of this post...Luke and I got married almost three years ago, and had never received any of our wedding photos. Two years ago, we filed a police report along with 10 other brides. Our photographer was brought in front of a grand jury, and somehow they found her not guilty. It has been such a frustrating situation and we felt like the justice system had failed us (even as minor as this situation probably seemed to them). By this time, almost three years later, I had almost completely forgotten about it, thinking it was just something I would have to make peace with and move on from. I was never going to see those pictures. So when I got the call last night that the pictures were in our possession, I almost had a heart attack. I guess my mother-in-law has been in contact with the photographer and trying to meet with her for a long time. And somehow, she did it!! Thank you so much, Patty!!! You have no idea how much this means to me, and what a surprise blessing it was!!!

Looking through the pictures has made me think about all that marriage is, and all that I've learned in the short three years of ours. So today, this post is dedicated to marriage. I am no expert since I only have a few years under my belt, but even those three short years have taught me so much.

There may be a few wedding photos weaved into this post, just because I'm so excited to have them! **

The first thing that marriage has taught me is to pick my battles.

"Better to live on a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife" ~Proverbs 21:9
"Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife" ~Proverbs 21:19
"A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm" ~Proverbs 27:15

Are there things that Luke does that sometimes annoy me? Of course. And there are things about me that annoy him right back. The key is to let the small things go. If Luke forgets to put the trash out on Wednesday night, that is probably not something I need to nag him about. It may annoy me, but it's not the end of the world. If he would rather stay in after a long week than go out on a date with me, I need to just let it go instead of making him feel guilty about it. And I'm sure there are hundreds of things that I do that Luke lets slide by, too.

Of course, if something major is going on, it needs to be addressed. But don't sweat the small stuff.

Just this morning, I was working outside, weeding and cleaning some things up. All of a sudden, a little nagging thought crept into my head. I tried to dismiss it, but it kept growing like a tumor. Before I knew it, I was fuming, and I immediately messaged Luke about the situation because I just didn't think I could wait until he got home.

About ten minutes after sending that message, I started to feel totally guilty. I knew I had just spoken out of anger, and had made something a bigger issue than it should have been. It's so easy to do that! Especially when you're living with someone and spending so much time with them. But next time I hope to cool down and really think about the issue. I need to determine whether it's something that really needs to be addressed, or if it's something that I'm just being naggy and nitpicky about. Because the last thing I want to be is a nagging wife.

Another thing I've learned is to keep my temper in check

"My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" ~James 1:19

I have to admit that I can have a raging temper at times. I mean, I'm a woman and I have mood swings! And as women, I feel like a lot of times it's easy to blame PMS. Especially for me, because I've been plagued with hormone imbalances and lots of "Female issues" which throw my emotions way off. (Another story for another day :-P). But even though PMS is a real problem, I think we use it as a cop-out every now and then.

I am certainly not perfect when it comes to controlling my anger, but I've learned a few tricks to keep it in check. First of all, when I can feel myself getting angry for a stupid reason, I try to take a little time-out for myself. I will go downstairs (since Luke is usually upstairs in the living room) and read a book or put on a TV show just to distance myself for a little while. Usually after a few moments, I can see the situation more clearly, and THEN go address Luke about it. Instead of in the heat of the moment and my emotions. It helps me not to say things I'm going to regret.

At the same time, I try not to completely bury my emotions and just shut everything away. Because I've done that before, and all that does is cause things to build up until they all erupt like a volcano one day when Luke least expects it. I've had to work on finding a balance, and am still not quite there yet.
Date nights are important!

When Luke and I were dating, we spent almost all of our free time together. We went out to movies, sporting events, shopping, out to dinner...anything you could think of. But it's different when you're married. You live together, so not every moment together is necessarily quality time anymore. It's easy to take the time together for granted, because there's so much of it! But we've found that it is so important to continue to date after you get married, too! I look forward to date nights even more now that we're married, especially since my love language is quality time.

Luke and I were trying to have a date night every week, but that has sort of started to slip now that life has become busy again. However, I'm happy to report that we have a date planned tomorrow night complete with dinner at Olive Garden and a movie. I'm excited!

Don't be Judgmental. Convictions will differ.

"How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers' eye." ~ Matthew 7:4-5

I believe that God made every person unique, so we all have different convictions about different things. For example, I feel convicted not to swear, but I know other Christian people who see nothing wrong with it as long as you don't put the Lord's name into it. Another example would be that I feel okay going to see certain R-rated movies, but I know some Christians who would never do that. And that's okay. As long as we are all earnestly seeking God and trying to live for Him, we don't need to worry about the small stuff.

All that to say that in marriage, there will be differences in opinion and convictions, even if you are both Christians and "equally yoked." If there is something my husband does that I don't necessarily agree with (and I'm not talking about major, black and white things here), if I nag him about it, is that really going to make him want to stop? No way! It will make him mad, and make him want to do it all the more out of spite. It's human nature! So if there is ever a difference in opinion about whether something is "right" or "wrong," I try to give my opinion once, pray about it, and then let it go. God is the only one who should be making my husband feel convicted about something. Not me. That is not our place as wives. If we do start trying to make our husbands feel guilty, we become nagging wives, and our husbands will start to resent us.

I'm sure there will be more posts like these as the years go on. Marriage is constantly changing, and I learn new things each day. The bad thing is that lessons in marriage are usually learned the hard way. But if you seek God first, you can make it through just about ANYTHING. I've had friends who have survived major and constant fights, threats of divorce, and even infidelity because they followed and trusted in God, and He has completely restored their marriages. You have to take divorce out as an option! (of course, there are exceptions like in the cases of abuse and sometimes infidelity....but that's another topic completely).

Married ladies, what are the most important things you've learned about marriage?


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! Right now I don't feel so much like I'm in a marriage, but I am bookmarking this blog for when Aaron's done working and referencing this to build our relationship and hopefully do things differently next year.

    I'm realllly happy to hear you got your pictures back. I was fuming about that story when you first posted about it!

  2. What a beautiful post! I love that you back your lessons with scripture. I'm not married (I'm waiting on God to send my husband to me), but there are definitely a lot gems I can take away from reading this post. I'm so glad you got your pictures back. That had to be so frustrating.

  3. I'm so glad your pictures were returned to you! Thanks for sharing your lessons on marriage. :) We can all learn from each other....

  4. WOnderful post, Jessica! I agree with all your points. Especially tht first one - that is still something I'm attempting to work on!
    So happy to hear that you got the pictures back! How great of your mother-in-law to work that out! You should post more. :-)

  5. I am a new follower, and I wanted to tell you I LOVED this post! I wish I had read this 2yrs ago, it may have made a world of difference.
    I love your blog and recipes, and look forward to hearing more!


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