What I’ve Learned in Eight Years of Marriage
The session that I’m hosting today (that Ashley Wells is speaking in) is entitled Getting the Most Out of the First Years of Marriage. (Yeah, it’s gonna be good!)
It got me thinking about the things that I wish I had been told before I got married that I had to learn the hard way; and a few things that I was told and am grateful for everyday . Thus, my post today was born!
Here’s 15 of the oh-so-easy-but-oh-so-important things that I’ve learned over the last 8 years of marriage:
*Some things are not worth arguing over. There’s no need to argue over petty day to day things. If he’s not folding the laundry right or his idea of spending time with the baby is sitting down playing a video game while he holds him… just let it go! It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
*Some things are worth arguing over. But they are actually few and far between. Stick your ground where moral and health issues are concerned.
*It’s sometimes easier to just do it yourself. Don’t nag him constantly to empty the dishwasher when it takes you less than a minute to do it yourself. Don’t make him cut up the kids meat when you do it four times faster. Just do it, and let it go.
*Speaking of, nagging never gets you anywhere. Seriously, gals… just don’t do it! If you need help with something or need him to do something, ask him and respect the fact that he may be busy (even if you don’t think he is busy). Ask him if he needs you to remind him later- then remind him at the time he told you to, and don’t if he says he doesn’t need the reminder. Then let it drop. If he doesn’t do it, either deal with it not being done until he remembers or do it yourself. Yeah, it sucks majorly, but it’s really not worth the anger!
*Say yes more than no in bed. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s been a long day, the kids have driven you crazy, you swept the kitchen floor five times, and you’re exhausted. Trust me, I know all the excuses and could use them often, but unless you literally fall asleep as soon as you hit the pillow, he still deserves that attention. And yes, he deserves it just because he’s your husband. (Not that you can’t say no, but if it’s been weeks or months instead of days… yeah girl, just give it up… and do it willingly!)
*Make friends with your in-laws. No matter how over-bearing, how controlling, annoying, or deadbeat they are. Even if you think they were put on this earth just to make your life miserable. Be friends, and don’t fake it. You’d be surprised how much easier your life will be when you’re mother in law understands that you didn’t take her son, but he gave her an amazing daughter. Your husband should always choose you over them, but you should never make him make that decision.
*Think of yourself last. I know the modern world says that you have to take care of yourself first (and I completely agree that every single person needs time doing whatever it is that recharges and relaxes them) but if you are married, you don’t come first in your marriage. Sorry. Make sure your husband (and children) are tended to before you spend all day in your pajamas watching a Pirates marathon and eating chocolate. Seriously.
*Let him lead. If you want your husband to be a godly leader, the head of the household, you have to let him do it! Let him make a decision without you questioning it and over analyzing it. Let him screw up royally; he’s a grown-up, he’ll learn from his mistakes. And he’ll be a better leader, and a better man, for it.
*Don’t keep score. Really. Not even in your head to mull over as you change to 571st diaper to his 1. There is no score and it doesn’t matter. His job isn’t to change diapers (or wash dishes or do laundry, etc. etc)- his job is to be a provider, the head of the household, and the father. It’s our jobs, as homemakers and mothers, to tend to the home and children.
*Let him say no. Then don’t do it behind his back. So, you think you need a new dishwasher and he says no. Don’t complain, just wash dishes by hand. Washing dishes by hand is faster, more economical, and better for the planet. So you want to go to that woman’s retreat and he says no. Deal with it and move on. Also, never -ever- let the children do something their father has said no to and never complain about him saying no to your girlfriends… those are two of the fastest way to completely emasculate your husband!
*Never, ever do anything out of spite. Ever. For any reason. Even if every one else thinks you’d be justified. I’ve got news for you, you are never justified in doing something just to spite your husband. Ever.
*Talk about everything. Talk when you’re happy. Talk when you’re sad. Talk when you’re bored. Tell him about the book you just finished. Discuss the merits of blue highlighters versus pink highlighters. I’m being facetious there, however it really doesn’t matter what about- your husband should be involved in every part of your life no matter how mundane, and you in every part of his. (A word of caution here, girls- If he says he doesn’t care, he doesn’t have an opinion, or “whatever you think”… he means it. Don’t pressure him to have an opinion about something he doesn’t. Also, when he first gets home from work, don’t bombard him with minute details about every hour of your day. He may care, but he needs a chance to get into ‘husband and father mode’ after being in ‘provider’ mode all day. Give it to him!)
*Be interested in what he loves. Yeah, I know. You couldn’t care less about what his fantasy football team did last weekend. You have no interest whatsoever in golf or football or the virtues of a Harley over a Honda or what brand of oil he prefers. But if he’s passionate about it, you need to work up some genuine enthusiasm for it as well. Trust me, he’ll be much more willing to help you put together that scrapbook or give up a corner of his space for your sewing stash if you care about what he loves too.
*Let him know what you need. Not passive aggressively. Not telepathically. VERBALLY. If you need him to shut up, hug you, and tell you you’re worried about nothing- Tell him! Say, “Honey. hush up, give me a hug, and tell me I’m worrying about nothing.” not “What do you think?” (and hope he’ll figure out the rest!) If you ask him for an opinion, wonder what you’re going to do, etc, he thinks you are searching for a solution, not a shoulder. It’s his job to fix things and protect you, so he’ll try to fix it and protect you. Don’t expect him to just know what you really want… trust me, he’ll be happy to shut up and give you a snuggle if he knows that’s what you need.
*Don’t expect him to feed your neurosis. Whatever that neurosis is. For example, I’m OCD, and I make lists for everything. I do not make lists for my husband because they drive him crazy. If you’re neurotic about how the guest towels are folded, do them your darn self, and quit expecting him to do it exactly how you want it done when you’re overly particular about it.
I know that I could probably go in depth about each of them by themselves, but I hope that you’ve enjoyed my hard-learned marriage lessons and maybe they’ll help you out a bit too.