One of my absolute favorite quotes about marriage was one I heard in the film, Still Standing, by Ronnie & Lamar Tyler: “The only way to know if you have unconditional love, is if conditions come to test that”. This quote is undeniably powerful whether you’re married or not. And if you’ve been married for any length of time, then you know that tests and trials are a natural part of the union. Sometimes they are forced on you, other times you (or your spouse) may force them upon yourself. Either way, conditions and challenges will always present themselves in your marriage. The difference between those that remain “still standing” and those that don’t is how they choose to handle those conditions. Are you always right, or are you willing to admit when you’re wrong? Are you willing to continue learning and growing in your marriage?
This past Tuesday, I celebrated eight amazing years of marriage with my husband. It always amazes me when I think about how far we’ve come since we began dating in 1999. I thank God that he didn’t give up on me, but that he allowed me to grow up in our marriage.
When I look back on the things I used to say and the things I used to do before we got married, and even early on in our marriage, I just shake my head. I can now see how I contributed to unnecessary stress and tension. I think about how I handle things now, and how I used to handle them…small changes that have lead to big strides in solidifying my commitment in my marriage. Below, are eight areas I’ve been reflecting on, when I think about the last eight years of marriage.
Learn to let go of being defensive.
This was always a challenge for me but I never really understood why until I took the time to reflect and work on myself. Yes, growing up the sixth child out of seven and in between my two brothers may have something to do with it. I was always on the defense. I had to learn how to put my guard down with my husband, and realize that he was trying to fight with me and not against me. Do you find yourself quick to defend or justify something that even sounds like an accusation?
Learn to let go of being right.
Some of us tend to have the “I’m always right” mentality. I can’t think of any relationship where this mentality works, but it can especially be detrimental in a marriage. If your spouse never feels comfortable expressing himself or coming to you with a disagreement, then that’s a problem. My husband used to hold things in all the time because I would hardly ever see or agree with his point of view. After a few blowups, I understood the role that I played with only seeing my side. Can you put yourself in your spouse’s shoes the next time you feel the need to be “right”?
Click here to see 7 more ways to grow up in your marriage.