If you missed part I (I Take You) you can find it here.
As a sick SAHM with a sick little boy…I have had a lot of time to think about just about everything.
In between the multitudes of used tissues, I’ve thought…a lot…over the last week or so about my journey into full-time blogging and attempt at free-lance writing. Admittedly, in my ideal, perfect world, a magazine finds one of my long editorials and is so overcome with “yeah girls!” and “mmmhmm’s…” that said editor finds that magical “contact me” form and offers me a full-time gig as an editorialist. Of course, the Editor suggests that I choose my own content for said editorials; much like my blog, I get to write about whatever it is that strikes my fancy for the day and get paid to do it.
It has taken 65 posts for me to realize that this will never, ever happen. After all, there are so many extremely talented writers who have been at this much longer than me. As far as the blog-osphere goes, I am a neophyte.
I have worked really hard to market my blog as a relatable daily resource for new spouses and new educators. I have spent hours writing, editing, and re-writing my posts. I have hustled to find small business owners and attempted to trade free marketing for them as well as for me. In my copious amount of free time, I have been busy writing my own novels; reviewing other novels (for Family Christian Bookstores); soliciting my blog for affiliate programs, and researching other free-lance writing opportunities. Writing for a living will never be something that just happens. You have to want it. As Britney Spears would suggest, “You better work…”*This lyric has been edited to be suitable for a G rated audience. Still, I know that if I work at it, I can become a professional, paid writer.
Marriage, just like writing for a living, will never ever be ideal if you wait for your spouse to use the “contact me,” form. Tom and Yoonhee of the documentary 112 weddings blames the deterioration of 1 out of every 2 marriages on our culture selling marriage as “ideal.” What I loved about his interview was that he suggested that marriage could be ideal, but not without a few bumps and bruises along the way.
The second line to traditional wedding vows is usually something like, “I vow to love and respect you all the days of our life.” Olivia and Dennis of 112 weddings suggested that there have been moments in their marriage when they “didn’t respect each other,” but miraculously they did again after a little while. Olivia suggested that Dennis would do something or say something that reminded her why she married him, and she would almost instantly fall in love again.
Loving and respecting each other in marriage looks very different to different couples. Some spouses need plenty of gifts to feel loved; others need for their spouse to help support them to feel loved; others need physical touch very consistently; some couples prefer to show each other they love each other through spending time together; and most people need a combination of all love languages to feel loved. Married couples without children have a tough time pouring into each other in marriage in order for each other to feel loved. Married couples with children have added lives in the equation. While I am new to being a parent, I’ve found that when Steven and I can share some time together alone, it reminds me how much I miss him; how much I love him. That is our love language: quality time. I don’t measure the time in minutes, but rather in concentrated effort to talk to one another and really get to the heart of what is going on in each others’ lives. Sometimes it is in the fifteen minutes we get for dinner together; other times, it is a carefully planned date night. I crave that quality time. I need that quality time with him in order to feel loved.
Like I said, not everyone feels loved by the same actions. There are some things that work for other couples that would seem artificial in our marriage. If I begin to compare what Steven does or does not do by the actions of other husbands, I will begin to covet a marriage that is not mine. Comparison is the thief of joy, after all. I chose to marry Steven; I love him for who he is. I do not resent him for what he doesn’t do…and oddly enough, that breeds security in our marriage. There is freedom in our relationship as I know that our friendship is the bond that connects us. I trust him completely. I respect the man that he is and believe that he will make decisions that are good and honorable for our family.
Respect is tantamount in our marriage. I really don’t think there is a higher virtue for both of us. I realize that most of us have heard the old adage that men need respect and women need love. I don’t know about you, ladies, but I need respect too. I crave respect for working hard to pour into our marriage, maintain a home, raise our son, keep myself fit…and squeeze in some time to take a shower every now and again. I desire respect for the work that I do to become a writer. I want my husband to respect my mind and spirit. When I think about my desire to be respected, it occurs to me that I need to respect my husband for the same reasons.
I respect my husband by never fighting in public. We can argue and we do argue. We just don’t fight in public. It is my understanding that any and every argument can wait until you make it to the car. ANYONE can fake their way through a social event. In my experience, fighting in front of others makes others uncomfortable and it destroys your marriage. Neither one of you is proving himself or herself trustworthy. It is inappropriate and suicidal for a healthy marriage.
I respect my husband by never checking his phone. I trust all of my husband’s decisions. If he is texting with a woman, I trust that he is talking to her in a way that is honoring to our marriage. I never need to know the ins and outs of all of his conversations. I believe that he is an honorable man.
I respect my husband by affirming his hard work. Sometimes I don’t understand what my husband does. Sometimes, he is able to tell me what he does in a way that I understand. I never suggest ways he could do things differently. Instead, I tell him that he is doing a great job. I let him know I am proud of the work that he has done. I try to make it a point to ask about his day and offer him ways I can help around the house…not in his work.
I respect my husband by never keeping tabs. This goes for past arguments and keeping up with what he is doing and where he is going at all times. Most of the time, he tells me where he is going; sometimes he doesn’t. That is ok. He tells me what I need to know.
I respect my husband by supporting his opinions and decisions. I never publicly shame him. Sometimes, it is easy for us to get into debates with our spouses. Social time is not the time to spar with your spouse. Just as you wouldn’t want him to call your point of view ridiculous, you probably shouldn’t either.
This was our wedding day. This is not our marriage. Marriage is refining and fulfilling. Marriage is not an every day party with your closest friends and family. And that is not what marriage was ever intended to be.
Marriage can be ideal, but not without some hard work and investment in your spouse.
Next week I will try to tackle what it has meant for Steven and I to be married in good times and in bad.