What did God show you about marriage in 2018?
2018 got billed by many as a “bad” year. And maybe, for you, that’s true. Maybe you were desperate to turn the calendar to January so you could see the fresh start. Or maybe 2018 was bliss and you’re concerned 2019 won’t measure up.
Here’s what I know for certain: no matter what season of life we’re in, no matter how hard or easy a period of our life we’re experiencing, God has things to teach us. One of the main ways he teaches us to be more like himself is through our marriages. Think about it – our spouse is the person who we depend upon most. We build a life together. The stakes in that relationship are incredibly high. And, unlike with our parents or our children, we choose who we marry. Living with the consequences of that choice, both positive and negative, is a major means of our sanctification.
Last week I asked readers on Facebook for what God taught them about marriage in 2018 and I got some great responses. I asked my assistant Joanna to pull together ten of the best ones, and I thought you may enjoy them and be encouraged, too! (And you may enjoy some of the rabbit trails I’m leaving for you all here, too!)
1. Remembering my husband is God’s child first
God taught me that my husband is firstly his son, then my husband. God loves him more than me (crazy?!) and will look after him when I can’t.
Love this! In fact, Thought #1 in 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is that Your Husband is Your Neighbour. Sometimes we find it easier to be nicest to strangers. With those we love, we can think of all the reasons they don’t deserve it. But it’s okay to be kind! Here are 25 ways you can start:
2. Learning to communicate with questions
How to ask good questions. For example: instead of asking “what’s wrong” or “are you mad at me?” – I ask “I think we are not on the same page, I noticed this… Do you agree or did we get off somewhere different?”
Great thoughts! In fact, one thing that I’ve found that’s helped us when resolving conflict is to stop thinking of it as a conflict, and start thinking, “what is it that I need from this situation right now? What does my spouse need?” That really turns everything around!
3. Adjusting perspective to thrive not just survive
We did a lot of “let’s just get through this”. Which led us into a very unhealthy path of just getting through everything and not seeing the joy… We are still working on it. But recognizing this was huge.
We’ve gone through periods of our marriage where that happened too! I shared it in 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, but here’s the short version of why we grew apart for a time.
4. Weathering the storms can make you better
That trials can make your relationships stronger if you let it as you hold each other up.
This is actually true. You know, right after our son died, one of his cardiologists told us, “you should know that 50% of couples who go through this divorce within a year.” That was hardly helpful.
Nevertheless, Keith and were determined not to let that happen, and I think walking through something like that really did help us grow together, rather than apart. Here’s a bit of my story:
5. Working together–teamwork makes the dream work
We are ALWAYS on the SAME team.
Amen! One of the reasons that people fight so much is that we forget that we’re on the same team. Marriage should not be a win-lose situation, where one of you gets what you want. It should be win-win, where you both get something good. That’s how you really find peace! And that’s Thought #7 in 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage.
6. Prioritizing your relationship as a couple
Fitting in time for just the two of us is critical.
Absolutely! Don’t drift apart. Here are some posts to help:
Like this post so far? You should also check out:
7. Checking in with yourself before conflict arises
To be aware of my inner moods (I.e. is my anxiety level going way up? Is it out of proportion with the situation? Why might that be?) And then to deal with my own emotions first before I give in to the “shortcut” of picking a fight to relieve my inner tension.
I’m so glad someone mentioned this, because I think we forget how often this happens! One day your husband may come in late and it doesn’t bother you at all. The next day you have a conniption. His actions are the same; your reactions are not, because often, when we get ticked off, it’s about something going on with us.
Not ALWAYS. But often. And it’s good practice to ask yourself, “is this something to do with me or with him?” before you get upset.
8. Understanding that selfishness isn’t okay
God has taught me so much this year. He’s taught me that selfishness has no part in a Godly marriage. He’s taught me to take joy in my husband in every situation. Whether stressful or happiness. I’m so proud of the man I married!!
Amen! When we stop looking at everything bad that is happening, and find gratitude, life is a lot better.
I love what John Gottmann said about the two keys to a successful marriage, which fit in great here. I’m afraid that most people won’t see that these apply to them–but please read with an open mind!
9. Persevering–Just keep swimming!
That it can always get better. Even if you already have a good marriage, it can always be better. And it’s worth fighting daily for.
What are you doing to keep your marriage growing this year? Here are 10 marriage habits. Maybe one of them is just what you need to keep persevering!
10. Remembering the romance
To remember how we were as a dating and newly married couple and to hold on to that!
Before we’re married we often can’t stop touching each other, but so often the passion disappears. Some quick ways to reignite passion:
Marriage Shouldn’t Be BORING!
Thanks for sticking around for 2018! I’m excited for what’s going to happen in 2019, including the podcast that launches this Thursday.
Let me know–did God show you anything new about marriage in 2018? Let’s talk in the comments!