Can you imagine having grandchildren? Well, depending on where you are in the grand scheme of things, it may be years away or right around the corner. But let me just say that being a grandparent is an absolute joy! And what do you want to pass on to those beautiful, shining souls that will be part of your life someday? I know that I want to give them a legacy of family love beginning with the relationship I have with their Grandpa! And that means that years and years of work have been done long before those little cherubs make their entrance into the story!
So about that love story; Do you ever wonder if you are having to work harder at your marriage relationship than other people do in their relationships? And does it ever seem that the equation that pops into your head is: a relationship that requires hard work = incompatibility?
Do you find that you have opposing opinions and preferences to those of your spouse, and are you frustrated by that?
Well, I’d like to say, congratulations! And, guess what? You aren’t different than the rest of us!
If you see someone that has what appears to be a stellar marriage relationship, I’ll bet it’s because they have worked at cultivating it! (And I say appears, because none of us knows what is really happening in anyone else’s relationship! Which makes the comparison game even more ridiculous!!!)
Along the lines of what makes a marriage great, I’ll tell you what we’re going for:
1 Openness and honesty. When one of us is confused or upset by something the other person has said or done, we want to talk about it quickly, openly and honestly and be done with it before misunderstandings make things more complicated and messy.
2 Show courtesy. I know the things that drive my spouse crazy, so I do my best not to do them! Little things like, starting a conversation when he is trying to get out the door or waiting too long to get myself ready to walk out the door when we have an important set time to be somewhere, or any number of things I have learned are stressful to him. And that goes two ways. He makes great efforts to keep his things put away or to thank me for a meal or to ask me what he can do to help when I have a lot going on at home.
3 Show affection, often! When he walks in the door, my goal is to stop what I am doing and greet him with a kiss. When we leave each other we hug and give a goodbye kiss, and just when we are passing by we may grasp hands or offer an encouraging pat on the back or just sit close to each other in the evening and hold hands every opportunity we get. You really can’t be miffed at someone and be affectionate can you? Touching keeps you real and well-fed emotionally.
4 Be complimentary. I have learned that men enjoy compliments as much as women do. We strive to say kind and encouraging things to one another as often as we can. “You look nice today.” “I love your smile.” “Thank you for remembering that.” “You are really good at that.” “I really like you.”
5 Pray for each other. This year has been challenging and I have felt the power of the prayers of my husband for me. He has told me on several occasions that he has petitioned God to allow him to take my pain. Writing this brings me to tears again, because I don’t think love gets richer than that. Praying for your spouse changes things, mostly I think it changes you. It is hard for me to pray for my husband without getting teary eyed because the words bring my love to the surface and I feel God’s love for him too.
6 Stay committed. When difficulties arise, we restate our commitment to working things out. That means not bolting out the door when there is a difficult problem to solve, or talking to someone else about the problem. Little by little, the time it takes to put things right gets shorter and shorter. And boy, progress feels wonderful doesn’t it?
I encourage you to keep trying and keep loving! Keep on letting go of pride and stubbornness. Don’t stop learning and taking responsibility for your own problems and issues.
With practice and work and patience we will have a beautiful love story to pass on to our posterity.
Love is a beautiful thing!
I wish you the best!