How do you make your marriage last? How do you save your marriage? What is the secret to a loving marriage?
When you meet a couple who lived out sixty-two years of loving each other to the max, you wonder, “What is their secret?” My grandparents were that, and even after my grandfather’s passing last year, my grandmother continues to show her unending love in the way she speaks of him. My husband’s goal and mine has been to walk in their footsteps since the day my husband met them and said, “I want to be like them. I want to be so in love even when we are gray and old.”
My grandmother has a heart for sharing what made their marriage last–and not only last–but be strong and love-filled the entirety of it. She sat down with me and shared her heart. What I give you is part one of her “12 secrets for a lasting marriage.”
1. Let all the “small stuff” go! Most differences of opinion are not significant enough to address. But if you feel strongly about something, then it does need to be discussed. (Addressed in next point) A funny story my grandmother tells begins with my grandfather saying, “I have something important to tell you. Sit down.” This was very out of character for him. My grandmother says she couldn’t fathom what he had to tell her and was worried she had done something drastically wrong. My grandfather looked at her very seriously and said, “I do not like the way you put cookies in the cookie jar.” He proceeded to explain he liked a certain number of cookies in the jar at a time and was adamant that the cookies would go stale if done another way. While my grandmother did not agree with his reasoning, or this being a huge issue, she decided to relinquish power of the cookie jar over to him.
2. Wait to talk about major issues. The important thing about major issues would be to wait until the “right” time to calmly and patiently talk it out. When my grandparents had a major difference of opinion, God gave them the wisdom for how to settle the issue.
4. Give 100%. This applies to BOTH individuals. Some people believe that if they each give 50%, it will total 100%. This is incorrect thinking. Give 100% of yourself, each of you. Give, receive, give, receive. The husband and wife both need to try to do what blesses the other — back and forth, back and forth.
5. Express gratitude to one another. Say “thank you” frequently. Say it for the big things. Say it for the little things. Say it for cleaning the kitchen. Say it for running an errand. Say it for dinner being cooked. Say it for everything.
6. Acknowledge communication differences. Acknowledging reality of the differences in male/female basic communication desires, my grandmother says she tried to keep conversations of general nature to a short duration. She knew my grandfather didn’t really care about all the tiny details. Figure out what those differences are in your marriage and choose to communicate in effective ways. This is not to say that you should not share your heart or have long meaningful conversations–you should!
Stay tuned for part two! ❤
I feel like if I had a series, this would probably be PART 2. But sometimes you just have to write where you are. And I know this can help some people because you are going to be here soon.
Jake and I were just talking today about how it finally feels like, after SEVEN months, we are in a groove with our TWO children. I mentioned a couple months ago that life with two finally felt manageable (and that was true!) but now I feel like we finally reentering a season that tickles the edge of NORMAL again. A new normal.
Hadley is about as predictable as a baby can be at this point. Emmett it hardcore into the toddler years with potty training, verbal sentences and a state of independence (which is sometimes welcome and sometimes not.)
It’s a state of beginning to plan life in between naps, bedtimes, and going out. Of course it is the dead of winter here in western pa, so going out looks different, but if it was summer I would bet you we’d be out doing 5ks right now!
How did we get here? Why did it take seven months? Is there really life after kiddos?
Or you might be saying, Girl, I see you in real life. You do not have it all together!
Well, that’s true. 😀 We definitely don’t have it ALL together! But I’d like to think we have a couple things 😉 …a couple things that I DID NOT KNOW SEVEN MONTHS AGO!
Here it is, for all its worth.
Joint sleeping times. These are a must. I am an introvert to a fault. What I did not realize was how much this played into my time at home as a mother. I need a solid hour to myself daily. It energizes me and gives me what I need as a mom. My children are both now on a routine that lends itself to nap time everyday from about 1 to 3 (Hadley another in the morning) and bedtime from about 7:30-7:30. If you ever wondered where I find time to edit and write, it is there. Don’t call me then! Kidding…..kind of..not actually. We established the start of a routine with both kids early on. Hadley was a little harder because we didn’t pull the pacifier till this month. Now she sleeps her hard earned 12 hours and we partake in several of them as well.
Your spouse is your team mate for life. I cannot imagine parenting alone. Jake is the cheese to my macaroni and I rely on him so much. We trade off watching the kids so we can both get our side jobs done. We divide bedtime sometimes. I cook, he cleans. I grocery shop, he fixes my car. He dresses the kids on Sunday mornings, I make sure the diaper bag is packed. If your husband is not your team mate, parenting is going to be harder than it needs to be and parenting is already HARD. Get matching jerseys and get to work. You made these kids together, now raise them together. ( I applaud single moms. I really do not know how you ladies do it. You are seriously heroes.)
Get yourself ready before your kids. OK, I am saying this because it is true but because I also need to get better at it. We have literally just started sleeping through the night without any interruptions. And now that sleep is here, I think it is time I do this. If your child is NOT sleeping through the night yet, only some pointers from this will apply to you, because sleep is MOST important. If you can wake up before the kids, have devotions, a cup of coffee, exercise, etc. JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS AT LEAST, your day can start off so much better and you will feel like you can take on the day. Sometimes though, just getting out of my pajamas and putting my contacts in is all I have time for and this usually happens after breakfast (#sahmtruth). But it makes me feel human and sets my mind up right for the day.
enjoy the time you have one-on-one. After getting into a solid routine of Hadley’s nap times, I sometimes use her first nap of the day to spend individual time with Emmett. We might bake, do a craft, or just read a book. But that time with him is important. (I don’t spend the entire nap time with him necessarily but part of it. There is still a house to clean and things to be done!) Often Hadley wakes up before Emmett does on the second nap, and I can have some time alone with her. Sometimes it is spent playing with her, but I also will just stick her in the bumbo or high chair while I cook dinner or read while she play. Even though I am not giving her undivided attention it is still just our time together.
Time heals all insanity. I know this is not what everyone wants to hear. We have a love hate relationships with time. We know that if time plays its part, things eventually happen. But we have to wait. Patience. Those first couple weeks after Hadley was born, as great as I felt physically, there was such a lack of normalcy. My time with Emmett was divided. My Netflix nights with Jake had a third party. Grocery shopping became a nightmare. My nursing cover became an extension of my daily wardrobe. But this too passed. All of a sudden I found myself being able to put Emmett to bed again. I found he and I reading books alone during the day. I take Hadley out and no feeding times happen till we’re home again. Jake and I now watch TV uninterrupted after a JOINT bedtime (see above). Time heals all insanity.
I share these as my opinions and things that work for me. I share them in hopes that maybe it will help other moms who are braving the unknown of multiple children. I still feel like such a newbie at this and internally wonder if I really have much to offer. But I write because I know where we have come from. It felt like the trenches for a while and still often does. But there are days that glimmer and rise above the rest and these tips have helped us get to those days!