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8 "I-Wish-I-Would've-Known-This-Sooner-Marriage Lessons"; Part 1.

8 "I-Wish-I-Would've-Known-This-Sooner-Marriage Lessons"; Part 1.

Derek and I recently attended a “Groom Shower”. Okay no, it was the co-ed after party that followed the bridal shower. But hey, when you have a reason to celebrate – keep celebrating!

While marriage can be a lifelong celebration, it also comes with much work and humility, all the while tightly bound with constant learning. What I admired most about this groom in particular was that he was going from married person to married person asking if they had any learned lessons or tips that might propel him into the kind of marriage that could celebrate for a lifetime.

I decided to turn what Derek and I shared with him (and some) into a two-part, mini-blog series. I simply couldn’t squeeze my three years of “I-wish-I-would’ve-known-this-sooner-marriage lessons” into just one blog post.

A good marriage isn’t something you find. It’s something you make and you have to keep on making it.
— Gary Thomas
Photograph by Melinda Pack

Photograph by Melinda Pack

It’s never too early and never too late to live happily ever after, so let’s stop hoping for a great marriage and let’s start creating one instead.


8 "I-Wish-I-Would've-Known-This-Sooner-Marriage Lessons"; Part 1.


1. Give 100%, expecting 0% in return. I know this math doesn’t quite add up. But God’s math tends to do whatever it wants and still turn out better than whatever formulas we can muster up.

You’ve heard it said, “a relationship is 50/50,” or “do what makes you happy, and if he/she is no longer making you happy, then find someone who will.” But all that is so contrary to what Jesus taught and exemplified. We are to love and serve not only when it’s easy but even when it’s difficult, knowing that God is faithful to give us the capacity to do so, and reward us tremendously for our obedience. Not to mention, you married your spouse for a reason, and chances are you chose a good one who may try to one-up-you when they get a taste of your “loving without expectations”.

 

2. Another thought on expectations: Placing unrealistic expectations on your marriage or spouse will leave you feeling alone and disappointed. Your spouse is a perfectly imperfect human who wasn’t created to bring you everlasting joy or to meet all your needs, that’s God’s job - the only One who’s resume qualifies Him. So, it’s completely unfair to measure your spouse by a list of expectations. And the same goes for you! You too were not designed for this role.

Rely on God to give you the energy and desire to give 100%. And then count on Him to show you grace when you’ve given anything less. I dare you to allow God to meet all your needs in His presence. And then just watch in amazement how your ability to love unconditionally frees your spouse to do the same. 

 

3. “Be careful of the bar you set for people because they just might reach it.” My Pastor taught me this one. I quote him all the time! If there’s power in our words (Prov. 18:21), then I want to speak proudly and boldly of my husband, always using my words to encourage and to never tear him down; in private and in public.

If I speak highly of Derek, he’ll have no choice but to desire to be the man I know he is and has the potential to become! The opposite is also true. If I am constantly complaining and pointing out his flaws (jokingly or not), he can begin to identify with those labels or complaints as true to his character. I want the best for my husband, so I will speak the best of him and watch as he brings those attributes to life!

 

4. Be aware of your spouse’s unique needs as well as their love language. Each individual was designed and nurtured to love and receive love differently. In order to love your spouse best, you’ll need to learn the ways they feel most loved and appreciated. If you’ve only grown to express love to your spouse in the ways you most feel loved, then there’s a chance your efforts might go overlooked or misunderstood – you’re speaking a different language!

Marriage requires being stretched in new ways, but it’s so worth it! If you’re lucky enough to have the same needs or the same love language as one another, then you’ve got a little less work cut out for you. Otherwise, you’re like the other 95% of us who need to creatively find ways to love outside of our comfort zones. But trust me, it works.


I understand that there’s MUCH to be said on the topic of love and marriage. And in my minimal experience, I have only begun to scratch the surface. But I hope to have jumpstarted this mini-blog series impelling you to seek more of God’s best for your marriage – knowing that you too have the potential to celebrate this gift for a lifetime.

I’ll be back next week! Until then, which learned lesson resonated most with you? Comment below!

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PS. In case you missed it, read my last blog post here...

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8 "I-Wish-I-Would've-Known-This-Sooner-Marriage Lessons"; Part 2.

8 "I-Wish-I-Would've-Known-This-Sooner-Marriage Lessons"; Part 2.

31 Ways to Make Your Husband Smile.

31 Ways to Make Your Husband Smile.