My husband, Rich, and I are almost to the 34-year mark. I thank God for this miracle. Each of us has worked hard to be a better spouse (aka ball and chain)! I know I can improve so much more…
What Are These 5 Marriage Tools?
Through unbelievable trial and error, I have come up with five tools for being married in the best way.
How important is it?- https://al-anon.org/for-members/members-resources/literature/al-anon-slogans/I tend to get bogged down in the little things. I get too anxious over routine stuff. I have these little alcohol wipes, and bug my husband to wipe down his phone. I’m so OCD I do this task every day. It’s probably why the listening hole on my phone gets crusty! I need to pipe down my nagging!
- QTIP- Quit Taking Things Personally. https://theempowermentdynamic.com/q-tip-quit-taking-it-personally-2/This one is HUGE for me. I was always an oversensitive kid, so I get hurt feelings easily, when it was never intended. This happens when my better half and I are trying to assemble a workbench, or move furniture. Always tedious bad news! The frustration is consuming. I’ve often joked with hubby that instead of “irreconcilable differences” for a divorce reason, ours would be, “dissolved marriage due to big-couch-stuck-in-the-doorway cussing”.
- Listen with eye contact- https://www.betterup.com/blog/why-is-eye-contact-important#:~:text=When%20you%27re%20having%20a,and%20while%20you%20are%20listening. Our phones have really become our entire lives, these days. I have to put mine out of reach when Rich tells me something, remembering with gratitude that when I told him something, he put his down, for me.
- Be interested in their passions/Try to share fun times- https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/7-ways-to-support-your-spouses-passions/Richard Siller absolutely looks forward to camping. It’s a high point in his life. He relishes the process. I am a happy homebody who is perfectly content to go nowhere. My challenge is to try to enjoy camping trips with a good and patient attitude, and watching him in the trailer, like a kid on Christmas, is really cute. Both of us love coffee. He learned to do French Press-yummy! We share this, always trying new cafes, and it nourishes our friendship. We also share a love of animals. We make up dialogue for them. We just put up hummingbird feeders. Oh, joy!
5. Let Go and Let God- https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-let-go-and-let-god-does-and-does-not-mean-for-christians.htmlHere’s where I beg God for way more trust. I always worry about my spouse. How is his health? Did he get enough sleep? Can I help him not be anxious about anything? The truth is, I don’t control ANY of these things. I can helpfully suggest something, but ultimately, he is a very smart and capable guy. I just need to keep him in my prayers, always. God’s got him. (“Oh ye –me– of little faith”)!
What Does God Have to Say?
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 https://biblehub.com/niv/1_peter/4.htm
When I get furious, and yes, I have an Irish temper –I make myself remember all the kind things my groom does for me. Brings me tea when I’m sick. Ice when I’m injured. Makes sure my temperamental stomach has the exact food I need, if I run out. Cares deeply about my frustrations in life. Always, always supports my career endeavors.
“Love is patient, love is kind…” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=NIV We have all heard this epic and iconic reading at most of the weddings we have attended. The words are as perennial as the grass. I love the line that “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” I, unfortunately, have a really good memory for words said, even decades ago. Maybe this is because I am an audio learner. I do keep a record of wrongs, and have to check myself to remember to forgive past comments, delivered in the midst of a tense moment. After all, God forgives us seventy times seven times every day, and forgets our transgressions! My best friend, Rich, often jokes when I bring these ancient things up, “That’s you! Forgive and forget! (Not).” I’m working on this, I promise!
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26-27. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+4%3A26-27 Whenever we have a fight, I’m always the one to huff off and shut the door. My honey comes over later with an apology, or a patient, non-yelling explanation, always, before the day ends. He practices this verse really admirably! Yet another thing I will try to get better at, with God’s help!
I promise to practice what I preach. If we all would remember: How Important is It?, QTIP, Eye-Contact Listening, Shared interests /fun, and Let Go and Let God, our relationships and marriages can thrive!