If you've been married for more than one day, you know. Love within marriage is sacred and thrilling but it does not come and stay without intention. It's kind of like my mom and I joke, "If we aren't trying to lose weight...we're gaining it!" :) If we're not mindful of a goal then the scale will just keep inching upward! Ha! And the same is true of love....if we aren't mindful of it and in pursuit of it, it's likely not growing. And a growing love within marriage is worth working for. It's worth focusing on. It's worth going after with all of your heart!
This year we get to celebrate our tenth anniversary! I cannot believe it. I'm loving how much excitement is building in my heart to get to celebrate the milestone with him! Ten years. Ten years of being married to this person who has helped me grow, who loves me, who likes me, who pushes my buttons, who believes in me and who causes me to grow in respect for him every year.
I'm not the biggest self-help book reader. But, I do search and seek out wisdom wherever I get a hint of it in the air. Wisdom on marriage is so valuable! At ten years in, I feel like I'm still in the thick of learning and so I hold onto the bits of encouragement that have been passed to me. And there have been three women, who at three different times have given me wisdom that has really impacted how I think. Ten years in, I can actually say that these pieces of wisdom don't just sound good....they have really helped me grow as a wife.
Each week I'll focus on one of the three pieces of advice leading right up to the day before Valentine's Day. Here we go!
The Wise Woman: Cheryl Booth (aka my mom, my friend and Mimi)
The Wise Woman's Advice: Let everyone play to his/her strengths within marriage. Let each person bring his/her strength to the table on behalf of the unit.
It sounds unbelievably simple! But the longer I'm married the more I'm certain that it is anything but simple! Mom has proclaimed this truth for years but it takes a bit of marriage seasoning to really start getting what she's saying - or it did for me at least.
I think of that one of life's great challenges is wrestling with the concept of 'normal.' Normal is nearly always a figment of something we believe to be true but often doesn't pan out to be that consistently true. And it tends to stir nothing but issues when it's applied to marriage!
It is far too easy to have an idea of what a normal husband/wife does, is, or thinks/acts/responds like. And often, we have that image in mind when we come to a point of conflict! Everything inside of us wants to scream...."WAIT THIS ISN'T NORMAL!!!!!!"
But normal is a love and life killer if ever there was one.
The more I lean in to my mom's wisdom, the better my marriage becomes. I want to let myself play to my strengths within marriage...even if it's not what I consider normal. And I want to let my husband out of the 'normal' box and let him fully be himself - playing to his strengths on behalf of us. It all sounds so straightforward but my experience has been that this is a hard core choice you have to make at certain points.
What if my strengths for our unit don't look like my other married friends strengths? And therefore my marriage looks significantly different than her's does? What if the way my strengths combine with his strengths look different from what it looked like for my parents and in the home I grew up in? The list could go on and on....
When we talk about loving well, wouldn't this be included? That we invite another to be fully who he is? Bringing his strengths to the table and being celebrated for them instead of pondering endlessly why his/her strengths are different than someone else's? I know that I so appreciate it when Zion welcomes my strengths instead of pondering my weaknesses. It breathes such life into me!
So here's to a piece of wisdom that continues to teach me so much. Here's to my mom for practicing this truth so well. And here's to embracing the combination of us within our marriages that makes each couple unique, quirky and strong!
Happy Friday y'all! Happy Weekending!