Relationship Goals

My husband and I have heard, time and time again, that we are other peoples "relationship goals".  And while flattering, it has sparked many conversations between us on not only why but how we got to where we are...and how we could help others as well.  I've made a list of ten things God has taught us throughout the ridiculously blessed, hard years we've been married.

Keep God at the center of your marriage.  This is a lesson we learned the hard way. Marriage is difficult. Actually, difficult is an understatement.  Let's be real here, there are going to be days you hope he chokes on his cereal.  The hardness of marriage is obvious when you see how many couples end in divorce. It's two imperfect people living together, failing daily. The only way to make your marriage truly work is to center it on Christ. You have to rely on God for wisdom, power, love and strength for your marriage.  And forgiveness, for that one time you hoped he would choke.

Allow him to lead without stepping in the way.  This was a hard lesson for this stubborn, independent girl to learn.   Um, hello...I took the words honor and obey out of my marriage vows. I know, not my most stellar moment.  I would tell him I wanted him to lead but then tell him he wasn't doing it right.  Sure as the sun rises and sets, I'd step in and take over.  I wish I could say it was easy to stop, but I'm stubborn.  And it took lots (read this as an abnormal amount) of life lessons from God and probably the hardest heart work He's ever done. 

Never stop trying to improve your marriage.  We've been married for 21 gloriously hard years, and we are still looking for ways to improve.  Keep reading, keep learning, keep improving and don't ever get comfortable and let your guard down.  If one thing doesn't work, try something else.  The best advice I've heard is to run your marriage like a business.  Successful businesses are successful because of the amazing foundation they're built on.  

Don't put your kids first. Hear me out on this one. Don't allow your mothering to take precedence over your marriage. Is being a Mama important? Well, absolutely! Pour your heart into those littles, but don't neglect your man. Oh how many marriages I've saw fail because the kids were made top priority. The kids grow up, move out of the house and the parents look at each other like strangers. You have to nourish your marriage!  As for us, both our kids will be moving out in six months.  We're already planning the things we'll do together!

Let others know he is yours.  I don't mean buy him one of those "I love my wife" shirts and making him wear it every other day.  Although once upon a time I may have bought my husband that exact shirt.  I mean post on his Facebook once in a while, shout out a Tweet to him, take a snap of the two of you watching a movie and just let it be known, he is yours. 

Sex is important. No, it's not everything...but it's one notch below.  God designed sex and marriage to go hand in hand. God intended sex to create a oneness within our marriage. We don't want to feel deprived and neither do our spouses.  I read a book a few years ago that was a sex game changer and I highly recommend it to all married couples.  It was Intimacy Ignited by Dr. Joseph and Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter and Lorraine Pintus.  Also, The Passion Principles by Shannon Ethridge.  

Most fights are over stupid things. Honestly, stupid things that don't really even matter.  I once spent an entire day furious at my husband for buying me the wrong value meal from McDonald's.  I mean, after this long he should know what I like...right?  I could fill this blog post and four others with the absolutely ridiculous, stupid things I've gotten mad over.  When I was younger {okay, and even sometimes now} I always wanted to prove my point and have the last word. Not one of my most endearing qualities. I've learned it's more important to prove your love than your point. And what's the best way to do that?  Not arguing over dumb things.  And eating that burger, even though it has onions on it, and you hate onions, and he should know that. 

Never stop pursuing him. Write him love notes and tuck them in his lunchbox. Send him a racy text (I highly suggest knowing the location of his phone before this one. Remember...on smart phones, said text will pop up on the screen.) Tell him how much you appreciate him. Buy the stinkin' lingerie that he likes on you, even if you feel it's a waste of money. Kiss him and hold his hand, even if you're in a horribly long checkout line at WalMart.  Pursue that mans heart daily.

Don't be disrespectful. Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. {Ephesians 5:33} I've read this verse over and over again trying to find a loophole.  There isn't one.  It doesn't say respect your husband only when you feel he deserves it, it doesn't say he has to GIVE respect to GET respect and it's certainly not up to us to deem when he is worthy of it. God was pretty clear with this verse, the wife MUST respect her husband.

Have fun together! One thing I can say about my husband and I is we know how to have fun {and laugh ridiculous amounts} doing anything!  Some of it may be at inappropriate times and places but at least we're laughing.  You need to make sure you have fun together too! Fun is a key ingredient to a successful friendship. No one wants to spend time with a Debbie Downer (or someone that gets super mad over onions on their burger). Laugh. And laugh. And laugh some more.