I can’t say enough amazing things about Krista’s post earlier this week on marriage. The wisdom she shared was absolute gold. You know how they say breast milk is liquid gold? Well I would have to say her words were verbal gold. Okay I just said breast milk in a post. Moving on!
It’s purely coincidence that today I’m sharing what I’ve learned about moving (we’ve moved three times in the past four and a half years, all to different states!) and how it’s affected my marriage (yes! Thank the Lord almighty we are still married after all that!). Moving is tough. Marriage can be tough. But they’re both exciting, adventurous and fun, too. Put the two together, though, and sometimes it can make for a rocky ride. It’s like hiking when you don’t know how much further you have to go– or going to spin class when the instructor won’t tell you how many more dang hills you have to climb! It takes endurance and it’s hard sometimes! And believe me– we have done the worst, the best, and the stupidest (throwing bibles— really?!) things to each other. We are nowhere near worthy of giving any sort of advice. So take this not as advice but as what one FTW (Field Traveler’s Wife) has learned– and truthfully– is still learning.
For us, the most important thing we’ve learned:
::Our spouse comes FIRST. Not our daughter, or extended family, or home… Our spouse. Our spouse comes first.
I know, you’re probably going to gag yourself right now and stop reading. But I’m not talking about the mere idea of putting someone first– like letting them pick out the ice cream flavor or something ridiculous like that. I mean really putting someone first. I mean surrendering my right to be right. This is woah-crazy-bite-my-nails-hard for me. Naturally, I default to myself. Moving is a challenge in and of itself– and begs us to neglect each other. Throughout our moves, David’s been learning a different job while I’ve either been unemployed, working, or taking care of a baby. My needs are different from his while we’re adjusting to a new place and figuring out a new routine, and needs have changed with each move based on our circumstances at that time. I thought after one move we’d be golden for the next one! But time passes and things change, and so do our wants and needs. But if I can remain true to really putting my spouse first, then I can focus on what’s important and communicate love. It’s when I focus on how much I abhor ironing his plethora of suit pants that I lose sight of how much I love my husband. Get it?
Our first Christmas as a married couple was exhausting.
We had a whirlwind of parties and events to attend, all which were incredibly fun but taxing on our time together as we’d only been married just six short weeks. We were still unpacking our wedding gifts, sleeping on a futon by the Christmas tree in our small living room and getting back into the swing of things after a Thanksgiving honeymoon in Cancun. The holiday season had crept upon us quickly! Suddenly we were juggling family commitments and traditions while trying to create our own. I wanted to go to every Christmas party we could, David was less inclined to accept every invitation. We had to juggle and schedule family Christmas celebrations now that we were married and had two sets of families! It was emotional because we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by coming late or leaving early to make the next get-together!
It was then we realized we had the focus all wrong.
We had to put each other first, not our extended family’s parties! 🙂
As we’ve moved, this has been very critical for us. When we lose sight of each other and putting each other ahead of ourselves, I can bet we will argue. We will fight. And the fights will be dirty and last longer the longer we put off loving and respecting our spouse by putting them first. And Christmas? Christmas gets even more complicated after a move! There are more people to see and things to do and parties to go to. We always feel pressure to do everything. But when we put each other first, it does make it easier!
A-Rod said on the news today “I have to fight for myself. If I don’t fight for myself, no one will.” Putting our spouse first ensures we don’t have to put ourselves first, because someone else already is.
::Believe the BEST about our spouse.
I married a reasonable, sensible, loving, caring and adventurous man. So why is it that I don’t always believe the best about him? When he has to work later than expected, I’ve got to believe that decision is truly the best for our family that day. When his travel schedule coincides with something I’ve planned, I’ve got to choose to believe that he loves me, wants the best for me, and is the best man for me. Believing the best about my spouse reminds me that there’s a bigger picture, and even if I’m upset or disappointed my spouse has the best in mind for our family.
I remember when David was looking for homes with the realtor when we first moved here. I wanted to see these places so much! I wanted to know what the homes were like before having to actually live in one. But I moved into this house sight unseen, believing that my amazing husband would find something that would work perfectly for our family. And of course he did! I was so incredibly happy to see this beautiful house when I walked up the porch steps for the first time! I still wonder if I might have even gotten in the way of us getting it if I had been here! I’m so glad I believed the best about him. It gave him the freedom to really be the best without me getting in the way!
And now… The tricky one…
::Have great expectations.
Mid-discussion one night, David turned to me and said, “I’ll live up to your expectations of me.”
I remember staring back, soaking in what he just said. What?!
As we continued to talk through whatever it was we were discussing at the time, I ‘got it.’ Our spouse truly will live up to what we expect of them! If you expect a lazy bum who eats cereal out of a mixing bowl on Saturday morning while watching old reruns in his boxers with one sock on, you just might get that. If you expect someone who will wake up and go to the gym with you before church, you just might get that. Having great expectations of our spouse doesn’t mean that we have unrealistic ones, rather, we expect the best because we believe the best and put each other first. Isn’t it funny how they all tie together…
Let me tell you that I am still learning all these things. I have not mastered one of them! I would like to though! 🙂
Moving isn’t easy on a marriage, but it doesn’t have to be ridiculously hard. It can be a time that helps shape us, but doesn’t necessarily define us!
Marriage doesn’t ensure moving will be easier, but it always can make moving better!
***If you’re not moving right now, I can almost guarantee one day you will! And when that day comes you’ll be ready! Not because you read this post but because you are amazing, fearless, beautiful and strong… And well-equipped for the journey ahead. As I prepare to move again in the next six months, please pray that I would put my husband first, believe the best and have great expectations! Thanks again for reading.