But marriage is not like that. Especially for two people mostly raised as only children. We both were, and still are,perfectionists to a certain extent. Which of course means we believed that our way of doing things was right.
We ended up fighting about silly stuff that in the scheme of things didn’t matter at all – how to put a cup in the cupboard – rim up or down; how to properly load the dishwasher; how to get the toothpaste out of the tube; but fortunately, we both put the toilet paper on correctly so that was one battle we didn’t have to wage. Amongst all these silly little battles were bigger ones too…like baggage from our previous relationships and issues around our family of origin.
Yes, we loved each other but over time these things can really wear on a marriage, especially when we didn’t want to deal with them. Sometimes we just got tired and instead of dealing with an issue head on, we “swept it under the rug”. Some friends of ours who are marriage coaches and lead a marriage ministry (WGHJ) say you can’t put a baby snake under the rug because it just grows into an adult snake and then it’s worse to deal with. That’s so true. WE never realized we were sweeping so many baby snakes under the rug but once it came to our attention, we had to make a decision – kill the snakes or slowly kill our marriage. My husband is my greatest helpmate, encourager, lover and defender and I should be his. In order to give our marriage a fighting chance, I learned I had to give up.
Because I love my husband…
1. I’ve given up holding my phone when he’s around me. Instead, I choose to hold his hand and have a face-to-face conversation. I let him know he is more important to me than what’s happening on Facebook or in someone else’s life.
2. I’ve given up on trying to understand how snuggling next to him while watching a movie and not talking is quality time. He says it is, so I indulge in this as part of his love language.
3. I’ve given up some of my time to learn about a sport I thought was pointless. Now, I can hit a tiny ball into a tiny hole and one of his favorite sports is something we can enjoy together.
4. I’ve given up saying “I’m too tired” or “Not now” to his advances. Rachael Carman actually challenged me and a roomful of women back in May to take a 30 day dare. Basically, the dare is to kiss your husband back every time he kisses you and enjoy him at every sexual advance. Now, I am here to say that I am so glad I took this dare! Do it and you’ll see why. Actually, I dare you! I guess the best way to sum it up is to quote Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” – “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” And I promise you, it will help get rid of any pre-sex headaches you may have had!
5. I’ve given up my independent nature. Wait. Wait. Give me a minute to explain. I am the only child of older parents. I was raised to be able to take care of myself in case they died early. (Grim but true.) I am one of those people who can eat in a restaurant or go to the movies alone and be completely content. I lived an independent life before getting married and actually carried it over into my married life. If I wanted to do something and had time in my schedule, I did it without even discussing it with my husband. It was my schedule not his. I was always overbooking our life and he was exhausted and missing me because I didn’t always include him in my plans. About 3 -4 years into our marriage it became a real problem and then one day it hit me, my schedule affected his schedule…oops – our schedule. We didn’t get married so I could still be independent. When I said “I do,” we were pronounced “Mr. & Mrs” and planned on building a life of togetherness and sharing, deciding things together not separately. Now, our marriage is so much stronger because we are communicating about our future together instead of slowly drifting apart in our separate directions.
6. I’ve given up waiting for an apology. Sadly, between us I’m the one who instigates most conflicts. THEN, I get mad at my husband for engaging in the conflict instead of calming me down. (Makes sense, right?) I must confess I am still working on this one. My pride gets in the way many times, but my goal is that when I start a fight or even if I don’t, that I be the first to make an apologetic move and thus, calm the situation. I want our kids to be a respecter of people, even when others are not nice to them. Who better to practice on than their own precious Papí? My husband is a wonderful man and I should show him not only love but also respect even when I’m in a bad mood or feel like he has done something wrong. (Hint: Learn more about this in the book Love & Respect. It’s a great resource!)
7. I’ve given up my Victoria Secret catalog and even Athleta. I mentioned before my husband is my protector and I am his. We have such an open relationship that we feel free to share our struggles with one another. Because he wants to cherish only me instead of having others filling his head, one day he asked that when a Victoria Secret catalog or something similar came in, if I would look at it and dispose of it before he got home that way he wouldn’t be tempted in any way. I so appreciated his heart and honesty that I canceled the catalog altogether. In helping to guard his heart, I’m guarding our marriage in a way that I never even contemplated. He still gets to see the fun stuff, just on me! It’s a win-win.
Truly, I guess I’ve given up very little (actually lots of pride & selfishness) and gained a whole lot in return. This year my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Our marriage is thriving. Don’t get me wrong, we still have our struggles but now we are working as a team, which makes all the difference. I’m not normally a quitter, but I’m thankful that over the years I’ve learned it’s better to give up in some areas in order to blossom in others.