Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years of Marriage!


First, let me say I am one lucky girl.  It sounds clique, but I feel like I found a precious gem when I married my husband.  Not only is he extremely good looking (yes, I said it again) but, he also loves me unselfishly and loves our Bella (and soon our Adeline) more than any dad has ever loved a daughter.  He's so very passionate.  Yes, if you know him you know if he cares about something, he can't help but explode with passion about it, and I love that so much.  This passion allows him to "feel" like no man I've ever met.  It also makes him extremely sassy, as you know:)   I love that on the outside he looks and acts so tough, but on the inside, he is so sensitive to my needs and the needs of his family. He's precious.

Happy 10 Years Joshua Earls!

I was reading this morning and found this quote by one of Josh's favorites, John Piper (which was so appropriate):

Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh. If you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and His church. here's 10 things I've learned in our 10 years of marriage (and how I seek to "devote myself to the holy joy of my spouse" so to speak):

10.  You have to make time for each other, no matter what!  Some of our best times involve our daughter and family outings generally.  But, some of our most precious times have been when we set aside time for ourselves, to revisit the reason we fell in love (case and point, when we traveled to Disneyworld by ourselves....without our child...who does that?  But, it was the best week ever....we acted like kids and felt like newlyweds:) Oh and we visited Hogwarts (Harry Potter land, duh).

9.  You have to be able to say "I'm sorry" even when you feel wronged! Love is sacrifice.  Sometimes we have to sacrifice our pride and be the "bigger person".  When we fight, and yes....we do fight sometimes....we are both very quick to apologize, I love that about us.  

8.  You have to "know your spouse"!  What do they enjoy, what makes the happy, what "turns them on" so to speak?  Find out what makes them tick and try to do those things.  I know it's feels silly some times but do things that they enjoy even if you literally hate the very thing they love.  Josh literally HATES reality TV (because he's smarter and more godly than me...he, he) but sometimes he'll come and watch a silly dance show with me (he will offer a sassy running commentary but, he still watches).

7.  You have to put in the effort.  Guys, marriage is not momentary.  It's not easy.  Sometimes is actually sucks.   Yep, I said it.  If you have been married you know that it's not like you see in the movies (you wake up and your spouse walks in the room showered and gliding towards you with your favorite coffee drink).....usually there's a child running in who pees on your bed and kicks you in your crotch....and maybe a fart.

6.  It's ok to say the "hard things".  Honestly, some of the hardest times in our marriage have come when one of us says the "hard thing".  Essentially, we call the other spouse out on something serious that affects the marriage in some way.  Something uncomfortable that needs to be said but is hard to say.  I love that God set up marriage in such a way that we can "sharpen one another".  That doesn't mean that a spouse "goes to town" on their loved one and points out every thing that bothers them.... it means that, after much prayer and contemplation, a subject is broached that will be hard for the other to hear.... but necessary.  

5.  Pray together.  Pray for each other. We are sometimes good and sometimes terrible at this. We pray with Bella every night but we also "try" to spend time praying together.  My favorite thing about Josh, is that when he prays...his passion and emotion are so evident....

4.  Take time for yourself.  Wait, that is not what marriage is about?  Oh, why yes it is.  If you as an individual do not have time to recoup, refresh, and fellowship with will lose a sense of "yourself".   You need a break from eachother sometimes...whether its a golf outing, a pedicure....whatever!  The hardest thing about being a military wife is when Josh deploys BUT it's in those times when we are apart, that we are reminded how much we LOVE being together.

3.  Touch each other.  Kiss, snuggle, hold hands, slap a butt cheek.... um... and "other things".  Guys, I know it's silly but no lie, it's God's design for marriage (well, I haven't read anything specifically about slapping a butt cheek but I digress...).  Men and women have unique needs that must be met....when they are not, the relationship suffers.  

2.  Stop being so selfish.  Stop thinking that you "deserve" this or that.  Life is hard sometimes.  Put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own and it will never fail you.  Do I do this all the time, heck no... but I know it works because God commands it!

1.  Communicate.  In the beginning of our marriage we did not communicate.  I would be secretly angry at him ALL THE TIME.  Sometimes I wondered how the marriage would ever work.  Then we learned how to communicate with eachother.  He learned that I need gentle communication, and I learned that he needed direct and loving communication!  

There you have it.  Oh, and just to help myself feel like a complete failure, I read Proverbs 31 to myself today (the same thing Josh read to me when he proposed to me over 10 years ago - telling me he saw these qualities in me---geez, no pressure right):

Proverbs 31:10-31

New International Version (NIV)

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.