When I look at the big picture, the past 8 years have been amazing. And when I think about the day-to-day, it’s been a lot of work. Like everything in life, hard work is rewarding. I’m thankful to have a partner who puts in the work with me. Here are just a few things I’ve learned the clumsy way over the course of our marriage thus far:
- My love language is Portuguese.
I know, I know. There are 5 love languages and everyone has a primary one. But honestly, I need different things at different times. It hasn’t rung completely true for me. So my love language probably seems like jibberish—unrecognizable and illegible the majority of the time. Kindness and patience always work. When in doubt, use those tools.
- “Put each other first” is easier said than done.
Donny and I are pretty good about taking a few trips here and there. We go to Notre Dame games, take kid-free vacations. But on the daily, putting each other first seems almost laughable. How do you put each other first when you’re both trying to get ready for work and there’s a naked 3 year old face down throwing a tantrum while you’re feeding the baby a bottle and listening to the 6 year old whine about how soggy her cereal is? We put each other first by helping each other survive. We make time and space for each other away from the daily routine because within it there isn’t much to spare.
- Communication is
Communication is so important in marriage, and you hear it all the time. But the weird part is that you have to communicate things you thought were just understood. See #4.
- Assumptions are the devil’s work.
Learning to live with someone who grew up differently than you did is hard! It’s easy to just assume that on Sundays you’ll go to church and your husband will mop the floors, or that Tater Tot Casserole will be part of the dinner rotation (say what!?). Those are really small, minor, non-deal-breaking examples but even the little stuff builds up over time. Say what you want or need before it makes you angry. Never assume your spouse can read your mind.
- When it’s hardest to love, love harder.
This one goes for pretty much all things in life. Usually when things get hard its because you’re growing. Either you or your spouse is growing personally or professionally or you’re all going through the natural growing pains of life, like buying a house or adding a child. Regardless, when you feel like you don’t have an ounce of energy/affection/kindness/support to give, give it anyway. You will be rewarded ten-fold.
Treat each other the way you want to be treated, not the way you feel they deserve to be treated.
- Forgiveness is not about the past.
Apologies are about the past. However, forgiveness is about the future. Forgiveness is a promise to trust your partner to do things right the next time. That you won’t hold it over their head. That you believe they will do better, and that they don’t have to prove it. That took me a while to learn.
- Keep arguments about today. Drop the always, nevers, evers and ….ests.
Nothing makes you want to run straight through a wall faster than hearing, “You always forget to empty the pant pockets before you do laundry,” when you mostly always remember, but had just got done cleaning poop out of the bathtub before starting this particular cycle. Amirite?
Say, “Hey, you must have forgot to empty the pant pockets today.” And boom, no Megan-sized hole through the wall.
Saying for a friend 😉
- Filter the advice you are given.
There is so much advice that comes from so many different people and places. Don’t let advice turn into expectations that turn into disappointment if they’re not properly communicated. Talk about advice you’re given with your spouse, and decide what works for you.
On to the next 8!