Today was our 9th wedding anniversary. 9 years and 3.5 kids apparently makes things like anniversary's sneak up on you. Neither of us forgot it, per say, we just didn't realize that it had crept up on us until yesterday. We were driving to Hawaiian Falls with the kiddos and our conversation went a little something like this...
Me- So, I just noticed that tomorrow is our anniversary.
Keith- (deer in headlights face) Really?
Me- Don't worry, I forgot too. I didn't get you anything.
Keith- Okay, good. We will do it up next year for our 10th.
Me- Sounds good.
Then we high fived. It was really romantic.
I am by no means an expert on marriage. The Hubby and I have had our ups and downs just like the next couple. Just like there are non negotiables in our parenting, there are also non negotiables in our marriage. The divorce rate in America is scary and I'm not naive enough to think that it could never happen to us. Statistics show that the chances of us getting a divorce down the road are higher than not. Neither of us believe in divorce. Neither of us want to live in an "okay" marriage. So how do you prevent those things from happening?
First and foremost I believe that any marriage that's not grounded on faith is dangerous. It is extremely important to pray for your spouse and with your spouse on a regular basis. If you think about it, when you pray together, you know your spouses innermost thoughts and struggles. When you lay those before the Lord and before each other, there is no better form of communication.
Second, make time for alone time with each other. This is such a hard one for us because the Hubby pretty much works 24/7 and we have 3 hooligans that we have to find childcare for. However, we love date nights! It is so great to get away from all the distractions and reconnect. Sometimes this happens over a nice dinner somewhere, sometimes this happens on a little vacation by ourselves and sometimes I will just sit in his office at 11 o'clock at night while he works and I talk his ear off. I cannot stress how important it is to have time alone with your spouse, without a kid on your hip, where you can just focus on each other.
Third, don't sweat the small stuff. There are so many times early in our marriage that I can remember getting so mad about something that didn't even matter. Somewhere along the road I realized the importance of choosing my battles. When I get irritated with the Hubby, I really try and put my emotions to the side and think about whether or not it is worth getting my panties in a wad over. Neither of us are perfect and we do things that annoy the crap out of the other person on a regular basis. 9 times out of 10 the things we get upset about were never intentional on the other persons part. I could totally be a nagging wife and him an absent husband, however, we choose our battles and strive for peace instead of turmoil.
Last, but not least, I think it is so important to focus on the things you love about your spouse instead of the things that drive you crazy about them. Listen, it's hard to live with someone day in and day out. I could nit pick all the things that the Hubby doesn't do or that he could do better. Where would that get us? Instead, when he is getting on my nerves I try and think about all the things that he does for our family and all the things I love about him. Like how he is such a great provider for us, and how he is super funny and fun to be around, and how patient he is, and how great of a leader he is, and how he still gives me butterflies when he kisses me. All those things outweigh the little things that irritate me.
Bottom line is that (hopefully) in about 20 years, we will be empty nesters. We will have (hopefully) raised well respected, Christ following children and sent them off into the world. I want to look at the Hubby and have so much anticipation for what the golden years hold for us as a couple. I want to still know him and love being around him. I want us to travel and have all the grand-kids over for the weekend so that their parents can have alone time. I want to be an example of what a Godly marriage looks like and for our kids to expect nothing less than that for themselves. I want our girls to want to marry someone just like their Daddy and our boys to find a virtuous woman. I pray everyday that our focus stays the same and that 50 years from now he still slaps me on the rear when I walk by him.