I love my marriage, almost as much as I love my husband. Yes, you read that right. I love my husband with all of my heart, but my marriage is something I have to work on. I don’t have to work on my husband, he’s amazing. I married him flaws and all. But our marriage is something we created together. This February we will be celebrating 8 years of marriage. We have three children and are very busy. But my marriage is not who I am nor is it my husband; like our children, it is a product of both of us. 🙂
So many times through movies or other’s experiences, maybe our own, we hear the words “we’ve changed”, “we aren’t the same people we were when we met”. Well I surely hope not! I don’t want to be a crazy 19 year-old again. I wouldn’t mind having my waistline back, but I’m grateful I’m not that girl anymore. Been there, done that. I have new adventures and experiences to try, new mountains to climb, new goals to reach. But the reality is that in marriage, we don’t change into the same person over years, you grow together, you don’t grow the same.
Over the 8+ years we’ve been together I’ve learned a lot about him, myself, relationships, and love. One of the things I’ve learned is that I can change myself, I can change my marriage, but I can’t (nor do I want to) change my husband. We’ve changed in many ways. I don’t buy frivolous items as much, he doesn’t play xbox as much. I have new hobbies that don’t include drawing or dancing; he has hobbies that don’t include muddin’ or bridge jumping. But after 8 years, we still don’t share everything, including hobbies. Our marriage is like every other marriage, you have ups and downs, good days and bad, but it goes on. Jobs change, hobbies change, you have kids, friends change, you both change, and your marriage changes. It’s a normal cycle. With all of these changes, we often find ourselves losing our marriage within the daily grind and routines. So to help keep us growing together and keeping our marriage (and not just our family) a priority we’ve done some fun things to keep it fun and real. I loved what Elder James Faust said in a talk he gave in the 70’s about marriage.
Our marriage is built upon a relationship which was built from a series of dates and time together. That same marriage that started almost 8 years ago for us has matured and changed, but it is still built on the same friendship, confidence, integrity, and support. We are a team. So…what have we actually done lately? I’m getting there! These activities may seem silly, but I dare you to try one. 🙂
When my husband is away on work trips I text/email him daily with a new reason I love him. With each trip I focus on something different. One trip it might be his quirks that I love, the next trip I might focus on what he does for our kiddos and what an amazing father he is. He sends me reasons back. ‘Distance makes the heart grow fonder’ is true, and it makes us feel closer together when we do this.
One weekend I asked him to make a list of 20 things that he imagined his life, family, marriage etc. to be like. I made one too. Then we talked about them together. The things on our lists ranged from more spontaneity to family activities, to future goals when we are older. The best part was that our lists were almost exactly the same, and we were able to share some of our dreams that we are already living. From this list we also set new goals. For example, we decided that once week (not an FHE night or weekend) we need to do something out of the daily routine with the kids. So whether its game night, kite flying, dinner take out, we need to make one of those evenings different from all the rest. 70% of our lives are lived during weekdays, we shouldn’t have to wait until the weekend to live and make memories.
Though these may seem like small things, they help us to keep our marriage real and keep our friendship growing. We’ve also come up with some fun date nights. I’ll save those ideas for another day, but though we may not have a lot of hobbies in common, we have our marriage in common and that is what needs to be our focus when we start getting lost in our 8-5 M-F work week. 🙂
In the talk that I found the quote above there was an interview towards the end with President and Sister Hinckley on what is included in a successful marriage which I think pertains to all relationships not just in marriage. Here is what they said when asked about their successful marriage.
- Live the gospel.
- Love, appreciate each other.
- Develop self-discipline.
- Curb temper and tongue.
- Look on the bright side of things.
- Develop, maintain respect for one another.
- Give soft answer.
- Speak quietly.
- Don’t be selfish.
- Look after one another.
- Develop talents, opportunities of companion.
- Recognize differences.
- Pay tithing, stay out of debt.
- Develop ability to communicate with each other.