Monday, January 14, 2013

better your marriage

Now is the time of the year when people all over are making their new year's resolutions. Some have already made theirs. And yes, some, have already broken theirs. I used to make resolutions, then I'd break them within a matter of weeks... days. Then I made silly resolutions I knew I could keep. Then I made a resolution to not make any more resolutions. Then, a little over a year ago, I made a decision. To not just make new year's resolutions, but to set goals for myself every year. And while working to meet those goals throughout the year, I would end up learning more about myself, and also bettering myself. And when you are working to better yourself, it often spills over into your relationships... including your marriage. 

Last month, Joey and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary. 6 years. When we got married, lots of people didn't even give us 6 months. But here we are, 6 years later, still going strong. During the past 6 years we have had many ups and downs as any couple does, and there have been times when the only reason we stayed together is because we loved God more than each other. We were more committed to God, the covenant we entered in with God, and the vows we made before Him, than we were to each other. Thankfully, that commitment and love for God, has gotten us through a lot of rocky times. And thankfully, those times do not come around like they used to. And now, our love continues to grow for each other, and each year and each month, things get better and better. 

Now we don't worry so much about getting through those rocky times like we used to, but we worry about falling into the rut of marriage. We've realized at times that we've slipped more into a Roommate Marriage than anything else. We're in the same house, but we're both busy with kids, projects, work stuff, kids, running the house, and in doing so, we can lose the romance we had for each other. One of us recognizes it, usually because of an argument discussion and then we work on it. We start doing the little things that each of us needs to feel that romance and to keep that spark alive. 

In the second half of 2012, we watched two movies that made us reevaluate our marriage and taking some steps to better our marriage. 



The first movie we watched was Hope Springs. Hope Springs is about a middle-aged, empty-nest couple who attend an intense, week-long marital counseling session to work on their relationship. It had funny moments, sad moments, and just like any marriage, also awkward moments. I always enjoy a more real interpretation of marriage from Hollywood, and this had it. And it made me really think about what our marriage would be like if we just kept living in our Roommate Marriage. And I don't want a marriage like that. 




Within a couple weeks of watching Hope Springs, we also watched The Vow. Based on a true story, The Vow is about a happily married couple who are in a car wreck and when the wife wakes up from her coma she thinks she is living her life several years earlier, before she met her husband, and when she was still in love with her ex. The movie is heart-wrenchingly romantic and follows her husband trying to make her fall back in love with him. I loved the vows they made to each other at the very beginning, and I loved so many of the lines throughout the movie when the husband is talking about his love for his wife. And when the movie was over, it made me want to renew mine and Joey's vows and really say something from the heart, something we would remember, instead of the traditional vows we used. (Not that those aren't important mind you, but, hopefully you understand what I'm saying...)

After watching those two movies, Joey and I started actively pursuing each other romantically. We left notes for each other, we spoke words of encouragement and affirmation. I started really working on how I spoke to Joey and not talking condescendingly or overly criticizing him. Joey worked on listening to me more, and actively involving me in the conversation. And then, on a whim, but in a moment of absolute genius, we bought a small dry erase board for the refrigerator. 

Inspired by the movies we had just seen, we started off making vows to each other : 






It's such an easy task. It takes just a few seconds to write something. Being on the refrigerator means we see it over and over again every day. And it's a perfect reminder that if we don't want a Roommate Marriage, we need to be actively working to fulfill the needs (emotional, physical, spiritual) of each other. And these little notes, that take so little time to write, really started to mean a lot to me. 

Then, in November, inspired by my daily thanksgiving posts on FB, we wrote things we were thankful for in each other : 




And when November was over, we decided to to write things we would work on : 



Right now, Joey's got a scripture up there, but with Valentine's Day approaching, we will soon be writing love notes or things we love about each other on the board. 

Like I said, it's an easy task, and it seems so simple, but it really has come to mean a lot to me. And don't think that men don't want to receive any love notes. Words of affirmation and encouragement are very important to men. Let them know that you appreciate them making coffee for you, or filling up your gas tank, or watching the kids while you go on a solo grocery shopping experience (that's heavenly right?)... or that they are really great at making spaghetti, or playing with the kids, or moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Whatever it is... your husband will love to hear it. 

We've got 1 month until Valentine's Day.... don't sit back and wait for your husband to make all the plans and provide all the sparks and romance. Try leaving him at least 2 notes of affirmation and encouragement every week. Just two. OR... buy a dry erase board to leave the notes on throughout the day/week. You might be surprised how quickly he responds with notes of his own. And even if he doesn't, that's okay. It's not about doing this to get something back, it's about doing this expecting nothing back. Just doing it for him, to show him you care. To shake things up. To ward off the Roommate Marriage. 


What things do you do to ward off a Roommate Marriage? 




4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post! Going to go out and buy a dry erase board :-) I have the perfect place for one.

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  2. I'm a new follower from Sunday Social!! I love this post just because (like me) you don't have to be married (yet) to tell your boyfriend or fiancee how much you appreciate them! Thanks for a wonderful tip! :)

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  3. Thanks for stopping by y'all! :) Let me know how it goes with your words of encouragement and affirmation to your significant others!

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  4. Sometimes I am so humbled and awed by the way God works. He doesn't just whisper in one ear, he whispers to many!

    Your dry erase idea is something similar to what I did for our family too. It was inspired by feeling overwhelmed, but when I received positive encouragement from my husband and felt so incredibly lifted - I felt that our kids needed to know that they matter too.

    So I (but again, God whispered to me what He whispered to you so it was not *really* me) made what I will share below. It has really brought the family together, as I am sure yours has too.

    If you want, you can read how it began here: http://www.theappreciationboard.com/how-it-all-began.html

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