Valentine's Day was last week. I love Valentine's Day. Most men think of it as some made up holiday to make them spend unnecessary money. Women think of it as a made up holiday that gets us a present for no reason. Score! The older I get, and the longer that the Hubby and I have been together (11 years btw), the less I expect on February 14th. Just get me a card, write how wonderful I am in it and I'm pretty happy. Don't get me wrong...I'd love to wake up one year to diamonds, but I won't hold my breath.
The Hubby and I actually got engaged on Valentine's Day. We've come so far in the past 11 years. Up until about 5 years ago, I would have expected some big production on the love holiday. I constantly needed for him to show me how much he loved me. I would even pick fights over the dumbest things just to test him and see how he would react. I was nagging and tried to make him into the person that I thought he should be instead of just loving him for the amazing man he was.
As the years went on and our lives became more chaotic (add children), the more stress it put on our relationship. Like any new mother, I spent all day caring for needy children and had little left to give to my spouse at the end of the day. When you're nursing a baby round the clock and have a toddler wanting you to hold them 24/7, then the hubby comes home and loves physical touch...it was enough to make me want to run away. Add baby number 3, a case of post pardum depression and the 7 year itch all at the same time. How we made it through that year, is only by the grace of God.
Here's the deal. Marriage is crazy hard. Doing life with another person that is completely different than you is super challenging. Sharing a home, children, finances and making major decisions together takes a buttload of patience. I don't know if there was a defining moment around that 7-8 year mark, but at some point I decided that my marriage was worth fighting for. That divorce wasn't an option for us. We could live unhappily for the rest of our lives, or figure out how to be happy together. Listen, it's not my job to make my husband happy. It's not his job to make me happy. We shouldn't have to change who we have always been in order to create bliss in our marriage. It IS our job to seek the Lord in everything and by his grace, he will work it out for His glory.
I don't want to be a nagging, annoying wife. I want my husband to remember every. single. day. why he fell in love with me. I don't want there to be resentment in our marriage and I definitely don't want to live as roommates for the sake of our children. I want us to grow together. We are not perfect, but, we are better than we were 11 years ago. I know that there will be more hardships in the future, but the stronger our relationship is, the better we will be able to handle those obstacles. I am by no means an expert on marriage, but there are some things that I think we do well...
1. We seek the Lord's will for our marriage and family. We pray, we go to church together, we are involved in a Lifegroup with other couples that are believers. We are constantly growing our faith, because I strongly believe that marriages just don't work unless God is in the center of it.
2. We have fun together! We don't have much, if anything in common. Therefore, we have to find things that interest us both. We like to play games and sit on the patio after the kids are in bed and talk about life. We joke around and have people over often for dinner to hang out and build relationships. We watch Walking Dead every week because it's obviously the best show on TV. Obviously.
3. Date nights. Enough said. I know that it's hard to make time for date nights. It's time consuming getting the kids worked out with sitters and it's expensive, but it's a must. Period. If we haven't had a date night in a month, we are both craving one. It's so nice to get away without kids, try new restaurants or go shopping together, and just enjoy one another. There are some months that the only time we even talk about anything important or catch up is on date nights. I cannot tell you how much this will do for the well-being of your marriage. Make it a priority.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for Keith. He can annoy the crap out of me, but he shows me love like nothing I've ever known. I am a better person because of him and even though he thinks Valentine's is a stupid "holiday", I'm glad that it's a reminder of how much our love has grown since he proposed and I said YES!