When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Over the weekend Andrew and I celebrated seven years of marriage. In a lot of ways it feels like we were just meeting for the first time (which in fact was August of 2005 but that’s another story). And in a lot of ways it feels like we’ve know one another for a life time. As my friend Emily says, there is something really special about another person knowing you so intimately which comes hand in hand with marriage.
And I sure love a beautiful marriage.
This blog post was one I stumbled upon after reading Em’s blog post and it struck a chord with me. So I wanted to share my own seven intentions for my marriage moving forward into the next seven years. In no particular order:
Sharing more unconditional love. I want to give more of it to my husband. I’m a very loving person by nature and a pretty open person too, so often I feel like Oprah handing out love left right and center. But it seems in times of conflict, exhaustion, stress, frustration, etc it’s usually my husband who receives the least amount of love and the leftover parts of me. Or at least it seems like he receives less love in the forms he responds to best (like words of affirmation and physical touch which are not my love languages so it’s not a natural thing for me). I’d like to work on making sure his emotions and needs are met more unconditionally.
Become more patient and compassionate towards Andrew. I am a quick mover, fast decision maker, and rarely pause my pursuit of the next thing on my list. I look at pockets of spare time as moments to get things done, and well, Andrew views life a little differently. Instead of always rushing him, expecting him to jump fast into decisions with me, or judging him for taking a rest or break to just be still, I want to be more patient and compassionate, and maybe when I’m feeling brave enough, even join him in contemplation or rest.
Lead by example in our home for Lachlan and future children. I’ve always known marriage to be important and have valued the union of two people on a professional level thanks to my job as a planner. But my personal opinion of marriage didn’t quite shift so radically until my parent’s divorce which unfolded the same time we became new parents. I want to honor my husband and love him outwardly not because I committed to doing so but because there are little eyes watching and listening, and one day those little eyes will grown into adults who will Lord willing have spouses and families to cultivate love within too. This is a small piece of a bigger puzzle on my passion for legacy but it’s an important one.
A recognition of my husband’s arrival home each day. At a previous MTH one of my Daily 5 Essentials was physically getting up out of my chair and remembering to greet my husband with a hug and a verbal acknowledgement of some sort, like “How was your day?” or “I’m so glad you’re home!” And sadly that was a ‘thing’ for only a couple weeks before last minute emails, calls, or whatever seemed to carry on when that garage door opened and in came Andrew. I’m going to place a sticky note on my calendar and create an alert on my phone as a reminder to do this every day until it becomes habitual.
Learn to be less hardheaded and stuck on being perfect. I’m awful at taking compliments from my husband because I feel like sometimes he says them out of duty as my other half. How terrible of me to dismiss heartfelt words of love! I want to learn to appreciate and be grateful for the compliments my husband shares even if they are seemingly simple and mundane. Comments like ‘Good dinner,’ or ‘Thanks for the coffee’ count at gracious compliments! As for my perfectionist tendencies: I’m such a 110%-er and I want to learn to find joy in operating at 90% sometimes. Because that’s just fine with Andrew.
Be more in the ‘how’ and less in the ‘wow.’ Our marriage counsellor (everyone needs one, I swear by ours) says there is always a ‘wow’ and a ‘how’ person in every relationship. The ‘wow’ person is the dreamer always scheming up ideas, jumping into things fast, thinking big, and getting very excited about the potential of anything. Whereas the ‘how’ person is a bit more logical (!) and thoughtful in their thinking process, carefully going over each step and sacrifice necessary to making the ‘wow’ happen. I’ll give you one guess as to who is who in our marriage! My constant wow can be overbearing and exhausting, and more candidly, can allow my husband to question my contentment with our life together. So I want to be a walking example of contentment along with keeping my ‘wows’ in check and or sharing them at appropriate times.
Spend more private time in one another’s company. Andrew and I are both perpetually awful at taking time away for the two of us alone. This past weekend celebrating our anniversary was our first time away for the night alone since Lachlan was born (which you can do the month, he’s nearly two years old). One thing I realized is I really love my husband! He’s hilarious and smart, very handsome, makes me feel safe when we are together, and his loyalty and attentiveness to me make me feel loved and adored. He’s always asking me on date nights and my mama heart has a hard time saying yes out of fear for leaving L behind, so I’d like to work on honoring date night even if they are just at night on the couch with a movie and our phones and laptops out of sight (and mind).
Like anything worth cultivating, an intentional marriage isn’t always easy word but it’s good work and work worth doing! I welcome any of your own intentions or favorite things about marriage below. Have a great week, everyone! Xo
Photo by Shannon Griffin.