|Summer 2005...where it all began!|
I remember before we got married, a lot of people were warning us of how hard it was going to be. Many people said that the first year would be the worst. We were both so freaked out. However, as the first year passed, we kept talking about how we didn't feel like it was hard. I mean, sure, it was hard in some ways...we were still full time students (I took 21 hours each semester) and we worked all the hours that we weren't in class or sleeping. But, I think that we were so happy to be together that we didn't even care that it was hard. So, we got to the end of our first year and I remember us being so happy that we made it through and had loved it! Then, people said, "well, it's really year 3 that's the hard one". We also heard year 5. Finally, year 7 was "if you make it past year 7, you are set". I'm happy to say we "made it" through all those years: 1, 3, 5 and 7. Why do people even say those things? It scared us and had us prepared for the worst when being married has actually been the happiest time in my life! So, it got me thinking that maybe it wasn't that it wasn't hard, but maybe it was that Ironman and I set up some good habits that carried us through. With that in mind, here at the top 9 things that I believe helped us and could help you too!
1. Go to bed together at the same time every single night. Before we got married, someone told us this advice and I thought it was sort of weird, but we did it anyway. I can only remember maybe 3-5 nights that we were home and went to bed at different times over the past 9 years. No, it's not fun when you aren't tired and your husband is, but that gives you a great chance to whip out a good novel and get in some reading. Now, after 9 years of doing it, I believe that everyone should. There's something special about deciding together that it's time for bed, shutting all the lights off in the house, brushing your teeth together, talking about your day, discussing what's happening tomorrow and falling asleep together. It makes me feel like we conquered a day together and we are a team.
|February 14th, 2006...1st Valentines together!|
2. Be a good fighter. If you are mad, say it. If something hurt you, say it. If you are irritated, say it. Don't hold things in and bottle them up. Eventually you will burst and it will most likely cause a huge fight. If you handle each small thing as it comes up, it gives you the chance to talk through it before it's been going on for too long. Also consider how the other person is feeling. Just because Ironman hurt my feelings, didn't mean that he wanted to. I know his character and I know that he would never do something hurtful on purpose. I think that Ironman and I get along so well because we fight so well. When we have a disagreement, we talk it out right then and there. I say everything I'm thinking. Ironman says everything he is thinking. We get it all out. We talk through every detail. We do not leave until we have resolved it. Then, it's done...for good. I've heard that it's common for couples to get in fights and throw past offenses at each other, but I can't really remember what we have fought about over the past years of marriage. I truly believe this is because we fight it out until it is truly over and resolved, so there is never any need to revisit the fight and never any grudges held.
3. Put each other first. You may want to go out with friends, but your wife wants to stay home and relax. You may want a new pair of shoes, but your husband really needs a new pair of work pants. You may want to vacation in the mountains, but your wife wants a cruise. I'm not saying always do what they want and never what you want, but talk through things together and come to an agreement so that no one feels taken advantage of forgotten. Plus, when Ironman gets to have something he's really been wanting, it feels good to watch his excitement and enjoy the time with him.
|June 2007...we're engaged!|
4. Don't put each other down. I always heard my Grandma Jackson say how she hated how TV shows will make it look like the wife is smart and runs the family and the husband is just some dumb loser that causes problems. She wouldn't watch shows like that and told me I should never say anything bad about my husband in public or private. No one is perfect, so why concentrate on someone else's less desirable qualities? Do you want them to, in turn, focus on yours? So, I have done my best to only say things that encourage and support Ironman. Sure, I'm a joker and love to tease, but I have never said something negative about his character and never plan to. The world is harsh and I've heard other people put Ironman down and seen how it hurts him, so I want to be the one that he can count on to always have his back.
5. Make your house a place of Peace. A few years ago, Ironman told me that his favorite part of the day was coming home. I was so happy to hear that! He told me that he really appreciates how I keep everything straight and tidy, it always smells good and it's quiet and comfortable. Because I know that he appreciates those things, I have always tried to keep it that way for him. He works hard and deserves to come home and feel rested.
|December 8th, 2007...we're married!|
6. Be friends with each other. I think that this is so important. Ironman and I love to watch Netflix together once we find a good series. We also love to travel. We love pizza. We recently have become wine snobs. We enjoy going on bike rides together. We talk about everything. We miss each other during the day when Ironman leaves for work. We laugh. We make plans. We dream. We are truly friends. I still need my girlfriends, but I'm so thankful that I'm friends with my husband. He knows me better than any one else and I can totally be myself with him, the good and the bad, and he still loves me.
7. Pray for one another. I have to admit, I'd not great about taking the time to sit down and pray for things. I'm better at praying here and there throughout the day as things and people pop up in my mind. But, one thing that I started to do is pray for Ironman each morning when he leaves for work. He always wakes up at 6am, has his shower, breakfast, etc and comes back to the bedroom to hug me and kiss me goodbye (I'm still snuggled up in my warm bed at this point). As I hear him walk through the house and shut the back door, I begin to pray for him.
|Caribbean Cruise for our Honeymoon!|
8. Be the type of spouse you want your spouse to be. I heard this a few years ago and loved it. I know that it's easy to see the faults in your spouse and wish that they would change, but they may never change and that may only cause you to be depressed and bitter. It is better to make sure that you are the type of spouse that you want to be married to. For example, if I wish for Ironman to give me thoughtful gifts, then that's what I should do for him. Or if I wish that Ironman would work out and stay in great shape, then I should do so. If I wish that Ironman would spend time reading his Bible more, then that's what I should do. It's not fair to expect Ironman to do things that I'm not even willing to do. And even if I am, it doesn't mean that he will ever be. The point is to put Ironman first. Be the things that you want to see in your spouse. You never know if your actions will influence them to change!
9. Take care of yourself. When you meet your spouse and fall in love, you are most likely very attracted to them...their physical appearance, shape, way they dress, their hair, style, etc. I know I really liked how tall, muscular and fit Ironman was! But just because we have been married, doesn't change that. I really appreciate how he still takes care of himself, eats well and exercises. And I know that Ironman appreciates when I take care of myself too...me caring for myself shows him that I care about him. So, I think it's important for us to do our best to keep the qualities that our spouse fell in love with from the beginning. It's true people change over the years and as we age, but it doesn't have to mean that we neglect ourselves and "let go".
Thank you Tom, Sally, Jim and Ruth for raising such a wonderful person! And thank you Nick, for choosing me and giving me these 9 exciting years...I will always love you and look forward to many more adventures with you!