My husband, Blake, and I have been together for just over 10 years. We were high school sweethearts and have been married for 4 years now. We are not pros, and we don't always know what the heck we are doing, but I am happy to say that, by the grace of God, we have not just a happy, but an intentional marriage. That being said, a lot of my single friends ask me questions about our marriage all the time. Including, but not limited to...
What makes it work?
How often do you fight?
What do you fight about?
How do you resolve things?
How do you handle finances and a joint account?
Was it scary getting married so young?
The list goes on and on. So here I am to share with you my answers to those very questions. And if you are totally not interested in getting married any time soon, just tuck this post away for you to reference later.
*It is important to note that Blake and I do not have children. I know children add entirely new challenges to your marriage. As our family changes and evolves in the coming years, our perspective and ability to do these things well, might change as well. Thank you Jesus for your never-ending grace!*
What makes our marriage work?
For us, it’s our faith, coupled with like-mindedness and complimentary but different character traits. We are both Christians and were both raised in the church, but naturally it wasn't until adulthood that we clearly chose our faith not because of our upbringing, but because it is truly our belief. Before we got married, it was incredibly important to us that our faith be in alignment and we’re thankful for all the friends and mentors God placed in our lives along the way to help guide and direct us.
We are incredibly like-minded. Whether it's religion, how to handle our finances, politics, child rearing...we both pretty much agree on everything. Now that doesn't mean that there aren’t areas within these topics that we disagree on. If we cannot find a common ground, which honestly is fairly rare, we agree to disagree. Or I pray that God will change his heart (mine is fine, justtt kidding), because sometimes you find yourselves at an impasse and prayer is truly the only answer to change your spouse’s heart, or yours!
We are also very different. I love this about us! His strengths are not mine and vice versa. I once heard in a sermon that our strengths are meant to help raise up our spouse. Isn’t that amazing to think about? Just that simple twist helps us be far more thankful for our differences because now we realize they make us stronger. We can analyze things differently and see things in each other that we probably wouldn't be able to see if we were the same. Our differences challenge us to be better.
Every week Blake and I try to make coffee time a priority. What is coffee time? Coffee time is time set aside for one another with no distractions. It is a time to discuss what is going on in our hearts, to share our frustrations in a judgement-free zone, and to talk about areas we really want to be intentional in. This has been so incredibly helpful for us. Some weeks there is not a lot to share, and others it feels like an intense counseling session. I truly believe this has been a key factor in our marriage thriving thus far. If you are not checking in with each other and voicing your frustrations or concerns (in a loving way), how are you growing together? I think it looks very different for everyone, but for us we have to have this time regularly so that we can continue to move forward together, supporting and loving one another.
How often do we fight?
Ok, let's talk about the difference between bickering and fighting. Bickering happens a lot. It's easy to fall into when you live with someone; especially when that someone is wired differently than you. So how do we avoid bickering? By staying in the word and focusing on Him. It shifts our focus from ourselves, to our spouse. And that’s crucial, because marriage isn't about you.
Now fighting, yes, it’s true - Blake and I fight. When we fight, it is typically over a big decision or a hurt that keeps being repeated. Blake and I have fought about careers, when to have children, a harsh word, etc. But we try to always fight well, if that’s even a thing. In other words, we try to fight with purpose. We fight in order to come up with a resolution. We try to be mindful to think before we speak or pray before we confront. We fight to communicate how much something has hurt us. If you are fighting without the intention of a resolution, then you are not fighting well.
So in that regard, there will be seasons where you and your spouse will agree on what seems like everything. Yay! But there will also be seasons where you just don't seem to agree. It can be very painful. This will be a challenging season and a season where you may have to seek outside help. But that’s marriage, ups/downs, good/bad, and everything in between.
How do you resolve things?
Ok, all of my feminist girlfriends are about to cry when I say this, but I believe I am called to defer to and to support Blake’s leadership for our family. There I said it, now let me explain. There are times we have faced a difficult decision and we haven’t agreed. Even though we may each feel strongly, but differently, we pray and pray some more and, if we still feel very differently, Blake will ultimately make the choice............are you cringing? I can feel you cringing. "How can I let a man make a decision for me?” you ask. Well, that all comes down to our belief system. We believe that Blake is the leader of our family, and, as the leader, sometimes it means he has to be the one to make a difficult decision. It is vital that he makes it for our good and not his glory. 1 Peter 3:7 says to treat your wives with respect so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Do you hear that?? If a man abuses his authority, does not respect his wife, God will not hear his prayers. This is a big deal and something to take very seriously. So, if the idea of being submissive to a man makes you cringe, just remember, if your spouse does not respect you and your input, God will not hear his prayers. So, ladies, marry a man who values your wisdom, knowledge and opinions and when the time comes to make a difficult decision, you’ll already know you can trust that in his love for you he is making it for the good of your family.
How do you handle finances?
Blake should really be answering this one because this is definitely his strength. Blake loves finances! If you need help with your finances and budgeting, please contact my husband because he loves to help and I promise you, it has been what has made our marriage better. We believe that every cent we make is our money. Not my money, not his money, but our money. We also believe that our money is a gift from God, so we try to steward it well. We discuss every category in depth before we put it in the budget. We also believe in living debt-free as best as we can. This means not living like everyone else so you can live like no one else one day. It means practicing self-control. It means not saying yes to everything. It means prioritizing. It means that when we shop, we have a budget to guide us. This has taught me to stretch every dollar (keep following the blog and you’ll for sure see more about this!) and get creative. But with that being said, we set these boundaries so that we can enjoy life within reason.
Was it scary getting married young?
Lol....YES! I look back and cannot believe we got married so young. I have seen countless people our age divorced after 1, 2, 3 years of marriage. You change SO much in your twenties and you just don't know if the person you married will continue to have and support the same beliefs and convictions you have. This is real life y ‘all. It is only by the grace of God that we have thrived. We have had countless men and women pouring into us, guiding us to truth and ultimately reminding us that we made a covenant. This means good, bad, ugly days, we stick together. I do not say any of this to puff us up or make us look good, because trust me our marriage has been the furthest thing from perfect. But what I'm thankful for is this -- we believe in the covenant we made on May 18, 2013, and intend to keep it. This will take a lot of prayer, a lot of confession and repentance, a lot of guidance and a lot of good friends holding us accountable to that covenant. And, I am telling you, prayer is powerful. Praying for your husband is powerful. Praying for your wife is powerful. Prayer is just downright powerful and necessary.
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