When we got married on a warm Saturday morning in Atlanta, Georgia, we were thrilled to begin our lives with one another. We had gone through premarital counseling and had spent more time preparing for the marriage than we did the wedding. We went in expecting to rise to whatever challenges life threw our way. Sometimes we met each challenge together gracefully, other times we waivered because we didn’t hold on to one another. In spite of everything—and believe me, there has been tons of everything—we’ve made it this far.
I’ve learned things about life, love, family, him and me. But there are 8 valuable lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years.
- Help meet does not mean take over. This was a hard lesson. I grew up around hardworking, matriarchal women. I saw them do their thing around the home but never paid attention to the relationship dynamic—they worked to help their husbands and not to match their efforts. Because I didn’t see the behind-the-scenes in their relationships, I spent the early part of my marriage trying to take care of things that he should have been handling. It caused problems with us. Neither of us knew the cause. One day my mom called and said “stop trying to be everything” and, although it took a while, I learned how to back off. Being a help meet is about knowing the vision for the home and doing your part to see whatever dreams set realized. On a team, each player has a position. If one person tries to take the team to victory he becomes tired and ineffective. Be effective; play your own role.
- Words drenched in honey get positive responses. As a public relations professional, I know this. As a wife, I had to learn this. No one who knows me would describe me as sweet. My husband would attest to this but a woman does not have to be sweet to be nice. But, she has to be nice and use sweet words to be effective.
- There really is a time to be quiet. I do not fall into thinking that women should be seen and not heard. Women have a power that men realize but will never understand. I personally believe it goes back to the strength of the saying “speak softly but carry a big stick.” Women should know their power and often the power lies in silence. I had to learn that my big stick was prayer. Every offense that I have with my husband does not need to be brought to his attention. No one wants every failure or little thing brought to them. If I take my problem to God, the Lord is equipped to meet my need while keeping my husband’s heart safe and our relationship thriving. So, it is good to SHUT UP & PRAY.
- Talking about problems do not solve them. I’m a talker and so is my husband. Sometimes we fall into discussing the problem but not seeking a solution. It is easy to harp on not having money to pay bills or someone leaving the top off the toothpaste. So instead of harping about money problems find ways to cut spending and earn more income. And, you can eliminate the top off the toothpaste problem if you both get your own tube. Problem solved; nothing to discuss.
- Love really can put food on the table. I’ve often heard people say to young people in love that love don’t pay bills or fill your stomach. That is not true. Love makes a man get up at 5 am to go to work so that he can provide for his family. Love makes a woman choose to buy groceries instead of shoes with what was suppose to be her pocket money when the general fund is thin over the course of a month. Love is more than a word; it is action.
- Lemons can make more than lemonade. There are so many things that can happen over the course of a marriage. Children come along, parents age, and jobs change. With any change there is always some sort of discomfort or bitterness in life. The key to dealing with bitter places is to make sweeter places. When life gives you lemons, please make some lemonade but you can also make lemon pepper fish for substance, a lemon vinaigrette to make eating those salad greens easier to get down, and a lemon meringue pie to curb that sweet tooth. Let God use you to help make the difficult times a bit sweeter for your mate. Be innovative.
- Joy trumps happiness. I often hear people complain about not being happy. Unfortunately, happiness is not a constant long-term emotion. The difference between happiness and joy is that one is inspired by external events and the other is cultivated by internal wholeness. Wholeness is granted by a deep relationship with God, the only way to lose your joy is to let the devil steal it. Concentrate on cultivating the joy of the Lord instead of relying of the high from the happiness of the moment.
- Husbands are human, too. No stuff Sherlock? I’m stating the obvious, I know. However, as wives we tend to forget that our husbands are real people. They hurt. They fail. They mess up. Sometimes, the mess up royally and deserve our forgiveness because God forgives us in our humanness. It is easy to forget that the one person who takes care of, supports, and comforts you needs the same thing in return.
BONUS – I was gonna stop at 8 but I have two blog posts that should be on this list.
Your marriage is between you and your husband, under God. When you enter into other relationships, make sure that those relationships are friends of your marriage.
Learning is a process. It is necessary to seek knowledge and work to understand it so that you can walk in wisdom.
What have you learned from being married? What misconceptions did you have about marriage?