10.6.01 was a special day.
Bean and I celebrate 10 years of marriage today! A month ago or so I put this list together for a class I was teaching. Here are some principles from our marriage that I think have helped us along the way. We are both pretty easy-going people, but the stresses and tensions of life are usually what create the most challenge in our marriage.
But these things have helped keep us connected along the way.
Always sleep in the same bed. Even when we are mad, we are selfish and want good sleep. Neither one of us wants to be the one to sleep on the couch. Sometimes we still wake up frustrated, but I believe this has been important for us.
Validate each other’s feelings. I’m always cold. He’s never cold. Early in marriage Bean used to try to convince me that it wasn't cold. But if I FELT cold, how could he tell me how I felt. He may not feel the same way, but he has to at least validate that I feel cold. We've extended this principle into more serious matters in our marriage. If I say something that offends or upsets Bean, I have to own that my remark caused those feelings, even if I didn't intend it.
Tag team: go with your strengths. He is good at paying bills. I manage all the doctor and dentist appointments (although Bean does take the kid too). He cooks & often washes the kids clothes. I fold and put away (usually). While Bean cleans up from dinner and does dishes, I bathe the kids. I'm the one who organizes, goes through toys and clothes. Bean keeps up the yard. We embrace each other's strengths and try to not feel like the other isn't pulling weight in a particular area, because they are probably weight in another area.
Just be together. He likes to watch TV. I like to be on the computer or read. The laptop was a great invention in our family. We sit on the couch at night and both do our thing. Which is exactly what we're dong right now. He goes to bed early with me, I’ll stay up later with him. We just like to be together.
Alone time can be almost as important as together time. I run or have the occasional girls night. Bean enjoys doing the yard or running errands alone. I try to get him to take time to exercise or be social, but he'd rather keep busy. When I can, I will take the kids out of the house for an hour or two so that he's at least home alone.
Remember WHO you married THEN. Sometimes when I’m frustrated, I have to remind myself—he was this way when we got married, because it's usually true. And I was this way when we got married. We made it work then, we looked past it, it didn’t matter so much—and we can still get through it today. When I’m frustrated with who I AM, I remind myself that he married me this way, for better or for worse.
You will not always be IN love, you will not always be in like. But choose to LOVE. Marriage is hard work. Being in love is hard work. We all go through seasons of marriage---summer, fall, winter, spring. In the darkest winters of our marriage relationships, we have to remember that spring will come again.
Marry me, marry my family. Bean and I have taken on each other's family as our own. He treats my two sisters like they are his own daughters, or little sisters. We have seen Bean's mom through breast cancer.
Sometimes it’s just going to stink. Usually, it’s outside circumstances that have the most influence on your marriage. And sometimes, life itself just sucks…which makes your marriage difficult. It’s going to happen. It’s at these moments we say “there’s no other person I’d rather do this with.”
When all else fails, pray. Yes, prayer should always come first. But when it comes to everyday life and the little things about your spouse that drive you crazy, prayer isn’t always the place we turn to first. There is so much about life and our spouses we can’t change. God is the only one who can. His change often comes slower. And sometimes, it’s US he changes first. So don’t forget about prayer. Prayer helps us communicate more clearly and can increase patience.
The last 10 years have held quite a bit for us. I finished my graduate degree, we've lived in 5 different homes, we had 3 children in 5 years, we've each changed jobs once or twice, life has handed us a lot of challenges.
But we've done it together.
I have no doubt the next 10 years will be just as full of life, just different. Our children are growing and in 10 years, Miss Rose will be nearing the end of high school! We own a home and may still live here 10 years from now.
I can't wait to do the next 10 years together, and 10 after that and 10 after that...you get the picture.
I am grateful this man loves me, cares for me, protects me and always sacrifices his best for me. I love you Bean!