Six important lessons I’ve learned in five years of marriage

WEN_0035-2Five years ago I became a Mrs. and made a promise to love the man I chose to spend the rest of my life with, no matter what.  I’ve learned so much in the last five years and been swept along in a real life fairy tale by my extraordinary husband.  It’s been an beautiful journey so far and lots of hard work, but by far the most worthwhile five years of my life.  Here are six things I’ve learned so far and truthfully still am working on!

1. There is no such thing as being the perfect spouse.

Ok, I had many visions of being a wife and imperfections weren’t in my visions…unfortunately they are definitely here in my reality…our oh, so, real reality. I make mistakes, I screw things up, I yell, I fight, I get really impatient and I have weekly moments of wondering how to be a ‘good’ wife.  It’s ok to not be perfect though! Let’s face it, none of us are, and placing that expectation on yourself as a wife can make you feel like nothing less than a complete failure.  And it’s the same with my husband.  I’ve learned to not put expectations on him to be perfect in every way, that’s just not fair on him!  A little bit of grace goes a very long way and I’m pretty sure I learnt that in the first year.  Love and grace, love and grace, love and grace!  It’s said that love covers over a multitude of wrongs – it’s true!  Instead of perfection, I’m determined each and ever day to be my best. To be the best wife I know how to be. To allow room for improvement. To be open to ways to always do better and to love and cherish and support my husband no matter what. I’m not striving for perfection anymore, I’m learning every day how I can be better. And do you know what?…I will never stop learning.

2. Serve with a joyful heart!

When we were first married, I’d find the greatest joy in doing things for Nic – making him food, washing his clothes, feeding him cheese – it was pretty much, ‘yes darling, ok darling, anything you want darling.’   Now somewhere in there the novelty wore off a little and there have been many times I don’t want to serve.  The whole revelation of serving with a joyful heart hit me a few weeks ago after Nic and I had a pretty heated disagreement.  There was probably some slamming of objects mixed with a bit of silent treatment and a very angry atmosphere.  Anyway, It just so happened to be lunch time so I’d stormed out of the office to get our children something to eat.  Normally I’d get Nic something too, but I was so mad I simply didn’t want to, but then I realized that marriage is serving with a joyful heart all the time, even when you don’t feel like it.  I realized it’s my duty to honour Nic all the time and love him no matter what.  So I made him a sandwich, and I didn’t want to admit it at the time but as soon as I made that decision I actually began to enjoy making it for him.  I took it to the office where he was still sitting and placed it in front of him silently with a glass of juice and walked away.  After that everything calmed down and we were lovebirds again, but that realization brought me to the place of being aware each day of how I serve Nic. Whether I serve him at all and if it’s with a joyful heart or not.  I only hope I will remember to serve him always, with a joyful heart, even when I feel like pegging a sandwich at his face.

 

3. Never stop loving; Never stop forgiving.

If you are a human being then there are probably some things about your spouse that simply put – annoy you.  That way they slurp there food, grunt when there frustrated, or think about your question for 10 minutes before answering you.  But even more than that, sometimes your spouse may disappoint you, hurt you and screw up.  Every time I get annoyed at Nic now or get upset about something he did or said, I remind myself that I also do the same.  It’s not a one way street,  it’s just a fact of life that we are not going to please each other 100% of the time and that’s not a bad thing.  I’ve learnt to allow grace to wash over our marriage and to work through whatever it is that just happened to make us upset.  We are always conscious of addressing our problems when they arise and not letting them sit and swell out of proportion.  It takes work, it takes grace and it takes forgiveness – an unlimited flow of all.  But even above all that, something that we tell each other every day – “I love you”.  It takes a whole lot of love.  I said before, love covers over a multitude of wrongs, and it’s true.  When you actually realize what love truly is – patient, kind, not selfish, not easily angered, always perseveres, (and one of my favourites) keeps no record of wrongs, just to name a few – it’s a challenging statement, but an honourable and treasurable one.

4. Glamour and Beauty is not an every day experience in our happily ever after.

Certainly it is not!  Now, before I elaborate on non-glamorous things, I will firstly say, that even though glamour and beauty may not always be an every day experience, it doesn’t mean you never experience it!  There are plenty of times of romance, beautiful moments of serenity and amazing rushes of being swept off my feet by my love.  But sometimes Nic walks in the house and I’m speaking like a wild animal while trying to clean up a toddler that’s just peed in the kitchen and retrieving our crawling baby from splashing around in the pee puddle.  Sometimes gross things just happen and if you have kids, well then, gross things probably happen all the time.  Sometimes you smell like baby chuck, sometimes you’re up to your armpits in poo explosions, and sometimes you’re hair is so frightfully out of control because you haven’t had a chance to do it yet that you look like a gog.  Sometimes you can’t even see the light of day because your baby just squirted poo in your eyeball – yes your eyeball – now you’re afraid of being riddled with pink eye.  Glamorous doesn’t even make it into your vocabulary some days.  And then there’s childbirth…I can’t say I’ve seen it, but I sure have felt it and it doesn’t feel attractive…at all.  I’ve learned to embrace the gross moments though (ok, maybe not ALL the gross moments).  I don’t know how many hours my husband and I have spent scrubbing poo out of the carpet with various concoctions, joking and giggling, the times we’ve all but cracked ourselves laughing when we finally see the funny side of something disgusting, or how completely hilarious it is when my husband wakes me up at all but midnight to tell me he just did ‘the ultimate ghost poo’.  Even though things get messy sometimes there is beauty in the gross moments!

5.  It is completely acceptable to have differences.

This is something I’ve probably learnt and still am learning in the last little while.  It took Nic and me about three years into our marriage before we actually had a fight and from then on, we often don’t mind expressing our differences of opinion to each other.  I always used to think that we had to fight it out till we both agreed on the same thing but now I realize it’s ok to feel differently about things and it’s ok to disagree on some things.  It’s made me realize how we are both wired and made differently and we don’t need to think the same all the time.  It doesn’t mean we are divided, and it doesn’t mean we are in dis-unity, but it does mean that we appreciate each other and the way we both think and act.  I’m learning more and more to embrace Nic and his way of doing things and his way of thinking – I may not always understand it – but when I can embrace and appreciate that he is wired differently and thinks differently, and his view of things is completely different to mine, it won’t just allow him space to grow and flourish in himself but it will also allow us both to grow and flourish together as husband and wife and allow our differences to bring unity to and compliment our marriage.

6.  Always be thankful!

I realized this, when, a few times I went to thank Nic for doing something simple, like wiping down the benches or changing one of our children’s nappies, and stopped myself because, well, he never thanks me for doing that!  I’ve come to this conclusion though.  It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t thank me for doing little things (and he does sometimes anyway), I want him to know that I am thankful for him being in my life and I appreciate him and ALL that he does.  I want him to know that I don’t want to take him for granted and that the things that he does matter and I notice him.  It’s in the little things as well as the big things that I want him to know I’m grateful, and I am thankful for having him in my life.  Besides, doesn’t it make things more enjoyable when you know you’re appreciated?!

So all things aside, we had a beautiful day celebrating and reminiscing about the day we became husband and wife.  May I say it was our very first date since our last ripper of a date back in May after which we were probably too frightened to try again anytime soon.  Haha!  Nic’s lovely parents came to look after our children so we drove to Orange – just the two of us.  If you have ever been to Lake Canobolas Reserve, it’s beautiful!  We strolled around the lake, lazed around in the sun, placed little bets on weather or not this awesome goer of a mature aged man would make it out of his inflatable canoe on his feet or his face, had a gorgeous picnic in the shade and dreamed about days to come.  Then we went to a lovely winery on the outskirts of town where we tasted 10 different bottles of wine and spat most of them out (so romantic!).  The winery owner gave us a free bottle of wine at the end just because it was our anniversary.  So kind!  We ended up buying another one just to say thanks and now they’re probably going to sit in our pantry for 15 years because neither of us have had wine in years! haha.  We went exploring in an old sheering shed after that before coming home and having a lovely dinner with our little children and a relaxing night soaking up a beautiful spring breeze and thunderstorm.  It wasn’t extravagant, but it was spent with my love, my darling, my amazing husband who I’m so grateful and thankful for.  Never could I imagine anyone else I would rather spend my life with, have children with, love, adore and cherish, laugh with, be incredibly stupid and crazy with and share dreams with.  Five years ago I became a Mrs and I am so blessed by my Mr every day of my life.  This beautiful journey continues as we live our lives hand in hand, hearts united, and loving unconditionally – as husband and wife.

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