Before Anthony and I wed in May of 2013 we did premarital counseling. At the time I thought it was silly, but now I am so thankful. Anthony’s Granddad, a preacher, was to be our officiant therefore he counseled our premarital session. He and his bride, Dean, have now been married 65 years- so I think the man has some great wisdom in this area of life.
Some of the words he spoke have stayed with me ‘til this day. “You will always have to put work into your marriage. When you think it’s perfect, you’ll need to work on it.” “Aside from God, your marriage comes first. Above children, finances, work, and yourself.” Now those might not be his exact words, but you get the gist.
Anthony and I have been married for 4 1/2 years, and we have been together for 9 1/2 years. Never a day apart. We are not perfect, we are not preachers or counselors, and we don’t have the perfect marriage. But we are raw, real, and honest.
[Disclaimer: to my mom and MIL- sex will be spoken about. So if you don’t want to read about that, skip that section] 😜
Faith in marriage
If you are married, especially in the south, more than likely you were married “under God”. “Marriage and faith should be a triangle. You on one side, your spouse on the other, and God on top. The closer you come to God, the closer you come to each other.” This is harder than it sounds. Most often one spouse holds more faith than the other, typically the wife. This is also true in my marriage. I long for a marriage that prays together, but I can say we are heading in the right direction. The best and really only advice I have for this is to pray for your spouse daily.
Every night when Anthony and I go to bed, he typically falls asleep before me. And every night I place my hand on his body and pray for him. Sometimes about his work, sometimes for his tired or achy body, but almost always about his faith. That God will “soften his heart and jump right in.”
Earlier in our marriage, when my faith was blooming I would “make” Anthony go to church with me. It was probably the worst thing I could do. You can’t force faith. By making someone go to church it can cause resentment, not only towards yourself, but possibly even the church. That happened to me, to us. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but it seems so clear now. As I matured, I saw what was happening and simply started offering. I would ask if he wanted to come with me. If the answer was “no” or “I need to cut the grass” or “I need to do XYZ”, I would try not to get upset. If the answer was “yes” I would be so thankful and I would show him that appreciation.
We are still in this season of our marriage. I’m excited that we get to grow our faiths together, even if I am a little “ahead” for lack of a better term. For now, I will just continue to pray for him, his heart, his body, his work, his fatherhood, and his faith.
Will you be my best friend?
It’s easy for a man and wife to become “roommates”, to just coexist. When you’re just going through the motions. This happened to us a couple of years ago. It was work and parenting and everything else above US. Neither one of us were at fault, it just happened. We didn’t argue or fight, we were just there. If something exciting or new would happen with our kids or at work, I found myself telling my best girlfriends before him. I can’t speak on his behalf. As far as I know this was a “me” thing.
I finially realized what was happening. I didn’t want a roommate, I wanted a companion. So I fixed it. Every new or funny story that happened, I made sure to tell him first. Instead of asking him how his day was and accepting “Good:bad:hot” or any other short phrase, I would continue to ask questions. “What did you work on?” “Did you finish that project?” “Did you work with so and so today?” I found myself actually wanting to know rather than just making conversation. If you know Anthony, you’ll know he is a man a few words, while I’m quite the opposite. I would get so internally excited when he would open up into conversation.
Having a best friend as a spouse is truly amazing. It tends to open up lines of communication- which of course is VITAL in a successful marriage. If something troubles me, I’m able to open up to him about it and we can converse through it.
Be naked with your souls. Be vulnerable with one another. Laugh and laugh some more. Talk each other’s heads off. Be best friends.
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Another VITAL part of marriage is SEX. Yes! Intimacy! Be careful with this part… I mean we’ve had 3 babies in 4 years.
It’s hard to have sex when you’re in a funk. Clearly every funk I’ve been in hasn’t lasted long. (HA!) It’s because I have noticed it every time I’ve been in one. I would have to force myself to have sex with my husband because I knew it had been a few weeks. And let’s be real, I doubt there is a man alive who will go several weeks without ANY interaction. If they ain’t getting it from you, they’re getting it somewhere. That could mean cheating, or porn, or a good ole “shower scrub”. See 1 Corinthians 7:5 for refrence. So have sex with your man! I don’t mean “what are we having for dinner tonight” sex or “I need to wash my car” sex. I mean good, intimate, passionate, togetherness sex.
If you’re in a sexy funk, get out of it NOW. Start by flirting. Never stop flirting. It makes everything fun. Go for the butt grab or longer than normal hug. Turn the kiss on the cheek to a kiss on the lips. Shower together. Wear something that you KNOW will get your mans attention. By doing these tasks, I found that it made me feel better about myself! By feeling better about myself, I was able to feel more confident in our “togetherness”.
“The husband should meet his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should do the same for her husband. The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Don’t refuse to meet each other’s needs unless you both agree for a short period of time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come back together again so that Satan might not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 CEB
“May your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts intoxicate you all the time; always be drunk on her love.”
Proverbs 5:18-19 CEB
Keep your children close, but your spouse closer
I feel like this part is one of the hardest on the marriage. I’m in several moms groups and so often I see that children have taken over the number one spot in the household. It’s easy to do. Your children depend on you, and if they are little, they need 100% of you for survival. Trust me, as a mom of a 3 year old, 2 year old, and a 4 month old I KNOW.
Hear me when I say this, KEEP YOUR MARRIAGE FIRST. When you keep your spouse before you’re children, not only will you thrive more, but so will your children. In no way am I saying to love your children less, but rather to love your spouse more.
If you put your children first and your spouse second you could potentially be putting your marriage in turmoil. Arguments start to fester. Your parenting decisions won’t be in unison. By keeping marriage first, you could potentially prevent your children from having to choose who they want to spend Christmas morning with. Your children will thrive in a stable and healthy home environment.
The best way to love you’re children is to love your spouse.
“Wives, submit to your husbands in a way that is appropriate in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and don’t be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, because this pleases the Lord. Parents, don’t provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them.”
Colossians 3:18-21 CEB
In this scripture you see that the job of the husband and wife is to honor and love one another. The job of the child is to obey their parents.
And everything else…
Obviously marriage is more than being friends, having sex, and putting your spouse above your kids. It takes trust and communication an most importantly LOVE. Genuine “I love yous”. That being said I leave you with one of the most popular verses:
“Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CEB