Is the honeymoon over yet? Do you still feel like you’re living with the love of your life? Is prince charming all you thought he would be? Ever wonder how to live with your husband and love him too? Chances are, if you’re like most women, you’ve realized by now that marriage is not all the glam and glitter you thought it would be. The romance might be dwindling or even absent now, especially if you now have kids. Your husband may have dropped from prince charming status to now just being an annoying roommate! Does he watch too much tv, play too many video games, and/or disgust you with his bad habits? Do you wish he would help out more, clip his nails more, or spend time with you and the kids more? HAHA! You are not alone!
After returning from our honeymoon 13 years ago, I went through a couple weeks of ‘post wedding shock.’ I went from having girls for roommates, to now living with a MAN! Nothing was the same. (OBVIOUSLY!) I had to learn to live with the person I knew I was in love with. Going on romantic dates is NOT the same as living with someone! We would get on each others nerves, drive each other nuts with our different ways of doing things, and go insane learning to love our in-laws! Add to that all our other differences, and you have a pretty challenging first year!
Current statistics show that 50% of of 1st marriages end in divorce. WHAT??! Those aren’t very good odds! How the heck do you learn to LIVE peacefully with the person you fell in LOVE with? It’s not easy and it takes constant work. Here are some things I have learned from my own marriage and from others who are working on their own.
Let it go. Some things are worth fighting for, and some things just need to be let go. It’s more important to love than to be right all of the time (even if you are:) I’m somewhat of a control freak and I like things to be done a certain way, not everything, just MOST things. I can tell you all the things my husband does (or doesn’t do) that drive me nuts, but if you get HIS side of the story, he’ll most likely tell you how frustrating it is to try and keep up with all my ‘expectations.’ Here’s one example: I absolutely hate grungy sinks. I was raised to always scrub out the sinks after doing the dishes and make them shine. So, of course, after my husband is sweet enough to do all of the dishes at night, what’s going through my head? Yep! I’m hoping he scrubbed those sinks! On the other hand, he’s thinking, “Who cares about the sinks! I just washed all of the dishes for her!”
Seems like a little thing, but it’s all those THINGS that add up and destroy marriages! That leads to the next thing….
Show Appreciation. If we focus more on the things our husbands are doing well, the other things won’t be as prominent. When asking people what tips they had for loving their husbands my good friend, Danielle, shared this:
“A few years ago I was telling my husband that I appreciated him not complaining when the house is a mess and things don’t get done. He told me, “Well, I just assume you’re doing the best you can.” I was totally floored and humbled by his response. Now, I KNOW that there are days when I’m not actually doing my very best (like when I get caught up in a book) but his comment sure as heck made me want to at least try! And ever since then, when I start to get annoyed because he hasn’t done something on my honey-do list or he forgets something, I try to remind myself that HE is also doing his very best. I think it helps me love him even more because it’s caused me to step back and look at the bigger picture and take notice of all the things he does for me and our family on a daily basis, instead of letting myself get caught up in the little things.” (thanks Danielle)
Laugh. What fun is a relationship with someone who doesn’t laugh? Life is too hard when taken seriously all of the time. Just e few months into our marriage, we got into a heated argument about something that I’m sure I would think was stupid now. Anyway, we were lying on the bed trying to ‘talk it out.’ Ladies, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, men don’t like to ‘talk’ it out. They’d much rather just kiss and make up and get on with life. Well, this time, I was just yapping away about my frustrations, thinking all the while that he was listening intently. I asked him how he felt about what I had just said only to hear…silence. His head was lying on my shoulder so I hadn’t seen his face this whole time. I shifted so I could see why he wasn’t responding. He was ASLEEP! And not only was he asleep…he was DROOLING all over me! Gross! I could have been angry at my sleeping, drooling husband. After all, the whole time I was venting out my frustrations thinking he was listening, he was in dream land! For a brief second, though, and miraculously, I was able to shift my thinking and see the humor in the situation. I started laughing histerically. In fact, I was laughing so hard, I fell off the bed! Of course then he woke up wondering why his wife was lying on the floor laughing. We have had hundreds of arguments over the past 13 years and I can honestly say I don’t remember most of them but, I DO remember that one! So, lighten up, and laugh it up!
Serve Him. My very own husband has been a good example to me of this principle. One day when I was really frustrated with him, I finally told him that I was having a hard time loving him and being attracted to him. (I know…OUCH!) He could have been very hurt (maybe he was) and angry with me. Instead, he said this, “Katie, whenever I have a hard time getting along with someone or loving them, I serve them. The more I serve someone, the more I grow to love them. That’s what I do for you when I am struggling in the same way.”
So, this could be taken several ways. I could have been ticked, and thought he was being a jerk and that he just wanted me to serve him, or I could have thought, “He only serves me because he doesn’t LOVE me!” and ran crying to the bedroom.
Before, you all think my husband is a big fat jerk I must tell you that he was being sincere when he shared that with me, and that he was right. Why else do you think mothers have such a strong bond with their children? (other than the fact they carried them in their womb for 9 VERY LONG months!) It’s because we take care of them and serve them EVERY SINGLE DAY! When we serve other people, we grow to love them. I’m not saying I think women should be door mats and slave over their kids and husbands without ever taking a thought for themselves. That’s not the same thing. I just mean that when we do things for the people that we love (or want to love), with the intention of growing closer to them, we do! When we do things because we feel like we have to and we’re bitter about it, the opposite is true. Make sense? Soo…if you’re husband is driving you crazy and you want to smack him upside the head, go take a moment (alone) to breathe and think of something you can do to make his day! HAHA! I know, easier said than done, right?!
Pray for him. I know I’m treading on thin ground here, actually suggesting to angry, frustrated, and possibly exhausted wives, that they pray for their husbands. You may not even be a religious person. Every person is different. Every marriage is different. I don’t know your circumstances, or what you’re going through. Maybe your marriage is just going through a temporary rough patch or maybe it feels like it’s permanently damaged and there’s no hope for repair. There have been times I have been so angry with my husband, that the thought of doing ANYTHING for him just seemed impossible at the time. That’s just how life goes sometimes. Marriage is a union between TWO people and that means it takes TWO people to make a marriage work. That being said, ONE person can make a powerful impact! You can’t MAKE someone want to work on a marriage, but you can ALWAYS pray for them. You can also pray for help to love someone. You can pray for them if they are going through a difficult time or if they are stuck in life. Heck, just pray for them…PERIOD! I’m not a marriage counselor, and I’m not a preacher, but I do know that prayers are heard because of the experiences I’ve had in life. So, what the heck? What do you have to lose? Just get on those knees and give it a shot! Worst case scenario, you’ll just think I’m an idiot and I’m ok with that!
I hope you have fun as you learn how to LIVE with your husband and LOVE him too. Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack in the process! Good Luck!
For more great ideas on strengthening your marriage, check out some posts from my sisters: