I am not the first, nor am I the last to say that marriage is hard. This does not negate that marriage is also very fulfilling and rewarding when two people make a decision to walk together in agreement. There is no formula that will ensure that two people will learn to work together, nurture one another, cry with one another, respect one another, and commit to love each other over and over again. However, I have my theories about what it takes to have a fulfilling marriage that promotes the growth of both parties involved.
Very rarely do I share my marriage journey; however, when I do the end result is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. This gratitude is in response to seeing God at work in my marriage and ultimately in my life. Very few people know that my husband and I only dated approximately 6 months before we got married. We have been married for almost 7 years. Prior to getting married, I longed to be a wife. I longed to meet someone that I could grow with, be myself with, pray with, and build a life with. I had ideas about what I thought the man of my dreams should look like, the type of career he should have, and the type of character that I would like for him to have. But nothing that I could envision could actually prepare me for the gift I received.
Let me start by saying, we have always had a friendship that was grounded in mutuality and respect. We naturally have a chemistry that made the evolution of our relationship seem almost simplistic to a fault. Nevertheless, in our first year of marriage we faced one of the lowest points in our relationship and the first 2 and a half years were filled with many tears, doubts, disappointments, and even grief. Yes, I said it grief. Despite all that we were facing in the onset of our marriage there was something that held it all together and that was an unwavering commitment to each other and the fight within both of us to preserve our marriage and ultimately our friendship.
Fast forward to the present and it is hard to believe that some of my darkest moments were just a few short years ago. Today, I see a man who has grown tremendously. If I had to characterize him today I would describe him an amazing, supportive, and loving husband and father.
You may be wondering what is working for us. Ultimately, I believe what is working for my marriage and its survival is a willingness to pray for my husband and my marriage relentlessly. I also believe that my faith and trust in God is the foundation for how I choose to show up in my marriage daily. There were times where I felt as if my husband could and should do something differently or better and I had to choose to shift my perspective and show up in a manner that would solicit the experience I wanted to create. If I wanted love, I needed to be love. Likewise, I know that I can’t fight fire with fire meaning that if I feel wronged in some way making my spouse feel bad for their wrong never works but loving them in spite of their wrong is a true sign of compassion. In a marriage their needs to be no tally of wrongs committed because deep down inside our intuition has a way of revealing truth to us and it is up to us whether or not we humble ourselves and right our wrongs. Also, when I think back on what worked and is working and I believe that God knows that my earnest desire is for God to be present in my marriage in every way. Lastly, praying with my husband changed my marriage and enhanced the intimacy within it.
Recently, I have encountered several people who want to be married and to top it off they want to add children to the equation. I immediately think to myself, “Do you know what it takes to be married?” and “Do you have the character required to be married?” I do not ask these questions to pass judgement. Knowing that marriage is work, I really want them to think about what they are signing up for because very rarely do we know what we are getting ourselves into. Marriage is a decision but it is also a commitment that runs deeper than our feelings because if my feelings dictated my level of commitment my marriage would have dissolved long ago.
Marriage is like a mirror. It shows you more about yourself than you can ever imagine. I have found that some people don’t like who and what they see when they actually take the time to evaluate who they are and it becomes even harder to deal with that reflection when two people are involved.
If I could give any advice to those who are seeking to become married I would tell them that communication is important. This isn’t profound, it’s obvious. I would also say that prayer has also been a saving grace for my marriage. Prayer allows me to relinquish control and allow my spouse to make his own decisions in his own timing. The more I let go, the more are visions became synchronized. The point is, no one wants to be told what to do or controlled. You marriage is enhanced when both parties understand that they get to not have to. Gratitude shows up when reciprocity (both parties give and both parties receive) is present.
For my married readers, what are you grateful for in your marriage? What is working? What’s not working and what do you get to be to create the experience that you want in your marriage?
For my single folks, do you know what it takes be married (probably not…lol)? What do you want to create in a marital relationship and who do you get to be?