I'm so excited to be collaborating with Charlene from Enduring all Things again! We decided to swap blogs write posts talking about the focus and goal of each of our sites. Charlene wrote the awesome post below sharing how your marriage can Endure All Things. She got vulnerable and shared her own personal experience of enduring in marriage and it is fantastic! After you're done reading, head over to her blog where I'm sharing more about making your marriage a priority.
I believe that a marriage is meant to last forever. I also believe that it's very possible to achieve that. And I believe that staying married is almost always the correct decision. I don't think these beliefs are very popular in our society these days.
I really like the phrase “Enduring All Things” (from 1 Corinthians 13:7) because love endures all things and so should marriage. I believe that true love, as a choice – not just a feeling – can endure anything. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying that it’s worth it. My marriage is the most important thing to me and ending it is simply not an option. So my husband and I work on it daily. -Paraphrased from my about page.
How can our marriage endure? To put it in one word, united. I think people often forget that they as a couple are a team. You're not working against each other but rather for each other against divorce and anything that can tear down your marriage.
People always joke about marriages ending and if they don’t end, then they’re miserable. This makes me so mad because that is not the universal truth. Just put in a little effort and your marriage doesn’t have to end and won’t be miserable either!
Our society sees everything through the lens of self-gratification these days. And instant gratification on top of that. It’s all “Me. Me. Me.” And “I’ll love you and stay with you as long as you meet my needs.” And they see a marriage as something disposable like our phones or cars. They just upgrade when they’re not happy anymore or they find a better model.
Movies and TV shows glorify divorce. They preach “do what makes you happy” and “follow your dreams” and “if you and your spouse want different things, split up.” To that I say, no! Work on your marriage. Compromise. Yes, you should follow your dreams but your dreams may sometimes shift a little to accommodate the person you vowed to love for the rest of your life.
Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about giving more than you receive. You shouldn’t rely on your spouse to make you happy all the time. That’s a lot of responsibility for one human. But at the same time, make it your goal to make your spouse happy. You will fall short, but it should still be your goal.
Remember a house divided cannot stand. Choose unity. Choose to work together and find ways to compromise and cooperate.
So what does it look like daily to build a marriage that can endure all things?
I think it starts with our attitude.
We must stop seeing our marriage as disposable. We must remove the word “divorce” from our vocabulary. We must remember that we are a unified team, rather than working against each other. When we do these things, it becomes possible, and dare I say easy, to endure.
Next, work on your relationship every day.
Even if you’re not having trouble in your marriage at the moment and everything seems fine, you can still work to make it stronger so you can endure the challenges when they come.
Continue to date and flirt with each other. Hold hands. Send cute texts throughout the day. Find hobbies to do together besides just watching TV. Try to have dinner together as much as possible and talk about your day. Take that time to connect without distractions. Make memories through traditions and rituals.
Communicate all the time. Be open and honest and vulnerable. Don’t keep secrets. Don’t assume your spouse knows what you’re thinking and feeling and likewise, don’t assume you know that about them either. And remember, good communication involves listening to the other person as much as making sure you are heard.
When you argue, fight fair. Don’t bring up past arguments unless they directly relate to the current issue. Don’t lose your temper and say something you’ll regret. Take time to cool off and evaluate the issue and try to see the other person’s side. Be willing to compromise. Remember, you’re a team.
Don’t take each other for granted.
My husband and I fell into this trap last year. We were busy and neither of us were making the other person feel very important. We both put other priorities above our marriage. Scheduled date nights and weekend plans were broken. We would go days without even talking to each other. It was bad. And it could have gotten a lot worse if we didn’t realize what was going on and make some changes.
Now we always check in with each other before we make plans. Not because we need “permission” but just to make sure our schedules line up. We schedule a date night every week and try our best to make that happen. We check in with each other for at least a few minutes a day and we always kiss each other good buy and greet each other at the end of the day. And, possibly most importantly, we receive each other’s love and affection with gratitude. I never have to wonder if I’m loved or appreciated. Life can get busy sometimes but these little ways of keeping your marriage a top priority can make a huge difference.
Having friends who are in a similar life situation as you is essential for helping your marriage endure. You can go to them for advice. You can bounce ideas back and forth. You can double date. You can even switch off watching each other’s kids for date night.
It is true that men need respect. But women do too. Maybe just not to the same degree. Stop trying to control your spouse (I’ve certainly been there). Learn to trust his or her opinion. After all, you married an adult. And you married them because you fell in love with their personality and quirks (or at least I hope so). So trust that even if they do something differently than you, they have a reason and it might be just as good as your way.
And lastly, don’t compare.
I know you’ve heard it before but comparison is such a thief of joy. Marriage can be hard. You’re combining two different people with different experiences, values, likes, and dislikes into one life. Trust me, you’re not the only one struggling with it. But most people don’t post their struggles on social media. So don’t compare your everyday struggle to your friends’ highlight reel. Nothing good can come of that.
Likewise, don’t compare your marriage to other media. Movies and TV shows are there for our entertainment. They don’t portray real life. If your marriage doesn’t look like the relationship in romantic comedies, relax. That means you’re normal! So many celebrities have broken marriages and if we’re not careful, we might start believing that is the norm instead. But it’s just simply not true.
Every marriage is different and if you just spend a little time and effort, yours can endure anything life throws your way!
Awesome, right?!? Do you want to add more marriage inspiration to your day? Head over to Enduring All Things and read my post! I had a lot of fun writing it and I may be biased, but I think it's pretty good ;)