Monday, August 19, 2013

12 Things I've Learned in 12 Years of Marriage

*Formerly titled "13 Things I've Learned in 13 Years of Marriage" except that I remembered I've only been married 12 years...

We celebrated our 12th anniversary yesterday. I can't believe I have already been married for a dozen years. That is 1/3 of my life! Sometimes I still get the "pinch me, I must be dreaming" feeling.

God brought this wonderful man into my life 17 years ago. We started courting in 2000, and got married in 2001. It has been a wonderful 12 years. Sometimes it has been rough and hard. But what good thing in life comes easy? Nothing. You must work for the good things. You must persist. You must keep going on-even when the going gets tough.

I am blessed to have married my best friend, my partner, my lover. He still makes me laugh, and he still brings me coffee every morning.

Here are my tidbits of wisdom from 12 years. Surprisingly enough, several of them are things that other wise and long-married couples told us....

13-if I'd been married 13 years, this is what I'd have told the good vacuum. Or register for it. Because your Hoover is not your mom's Hoover, if you get my drift. So, you end up paying the equivalent of a good vacuum anyway.

12-Don't go to bed angry. So, this is Biblical. And it is very pertinent for marriage. If I go to bed angry, I sleep angry, wake up angry, start my day angry, and still have to face the problem at some point the next day. May as well resolve your issues the night before.

11-It's the small things that make the big difference on a daily basis. Be it small irritations or small acts of love. I said that Mr. Hippie brings me my first cup of coffee every morning-whether he brings it to me in bed or in my rocking chair-he mixes in cocoa with the coffee and heats it to perfection Every day. A small thing, but it starts my day off perfectly. Small things like folding clothes right side out, or polishing shoes, or buying peanut butter cups. They make the world go round-or they bring it to a screeching halt if you let them.

10-Marriage is work. It takes cultivation, like orchids. It takes focus and determination to make it work. But marriage is also fun. Laughing together. Playing together. Dating. Hanging out with your bff. Oh yes! It is fun.

9-Praying with your spouse is a very vulnerable and powerful thing. There have been times when we are desperate-at the end of our ropes-and we get down on our knees and pray together. Literally crying before the throne of grace. That is a vulnerable place to be. Sharing your heart of heart with God, who knows anyway, and your spouse, who maybe doesn't. It cements you together like nothing else.

8-Road trips are for talking. We go road trippin' several times a year just to talk. We share our dreams. We discuss our history. It is fun. And our kids get to hear our stories too.

7-Money is key in marriage. Not just having or not. How it is or isn't spent. Money can be a great source of stress. Being unified and having the same outlook and goals in the area of money will help your marriage tick along better. We set savings goals in our first year of marriage. We determined together how to pay ourselves. We pray together about giving. We discuss major purchases. We keep an open dialogue about our finances.

6- Marriage is a series of compromises. Not bad compromises. It is giving and giving again on your own preferences for the good of the other or of the relationship. I am a morning person and Mr. Hippie is a night owl. He often gets up early for me. And I try to stay up late at least 1-2 nights a week for him. (preferably not the night before an early morning)

5-Marriage is a partnership. Mr. Hippie and I are partners in life. It really bugs me that unmarried couples often refer to the person they're with as their partner. I feel like it has lowered the word partner. But, the fact of the matter is, Mr. Hippie and I are partners. In just about everything. From running to swimming to racing to biking-we are partners. We are partners in business. We are partners in ministry. We are partners in parenting. We are partners in life. Our world got rocked this year-by good and bad things. It pulled us together, stronger than before.

that belly is the reason people keep asking me if I am pregnant. I'm not.

4-The merits of in-laws become much more apparent the longer the relationship goes on. I am so thankful for my in-laws now. Parents and siblings. What a blessing!

3-Like a bottle of wine, s*x also improves with time (and practice). It gets richer and better. It just does.

2-Marriage changes you. It has made me softer and more flexible. It has helped me be less black and white and more forgiving. It has made Mr. Hippie more rigid and on time. We have grown up together. In marriage you learn to share someone else's dreams. Your dreams no longer just involve you, but they involve your spouse.

1-A marriage built on Christ is God glorifying. It shows the world a small glimpse of how Christ loves His people, the church. It shows the world the way that Christians serve their Lord. It is a picture. Not the actual work of art, but a picture of it.

What have you learned being married? How has marriage grown and changed you?