52 weeks ago I sat crying in my counselors office knowing that it would be the last time I walked in or out of there. A few months before this day, I finally decided I was ready to seek help when Adam kindly mentioned it again. I had been suffering from depression after my mom passed away 8 years earlier, childhood issues that I never wanted to address and really not knowing who I truly was, so I looked in all the wrong places to find “me” which ended up causing some major marital problems.
I had been meeting with “J” for about 6 weeks and thought everything was going well until this day. I was sharing that I had found a love for baking and then all of a sudden she tells me my marriage will never work and I should just quit now with it. I sat their stunned, not knowing what to say, or what I had said to get this response and then I just started crying. She continued talking and I honestly have no clue what was said after that. When my hour was over I got up, left and drove home.
For the next few days I didn’t know what to say or do…I wanted to talk with Adam but part of me feared that if she was right this would be the end to our marriage and family…the other part of me knew she was wrong and I wanted to share my thoughts with him. Finally after these 3 long days I worked up enough courage to talk one on one with him after the kids had went to bed. Thankfully that night wasn’t the end to us but a new start for us…one we desperately needed. While these last 52 weeks have been rocky at times we are stronger then we ever have been before and our love is deeper then I ever imagined.
These past 52 weeks I’ve learned:
1. Never to give up on each other, Adam could have easily given up on me but instead he stood by myside supporting me…even at times I’m sure he wanted nothing to do with me.
2. Be careful who you take advice from, I was in a Christian counselors office who ended up giving me unbiblical advice to leave my marriage.
3. I do think we each need a strong mentor in our lives that isn’t afraid to tell you when you are wrong or to suck it up. I’m thankful that within a few days of “J” telling me to leave, I had another woman step up and guide me, laugh with me, tell me when I was wrong or give me advice on loving Adam and my kids like Christ has loved us.
4. I’ve learned I can love someone even if I don’t really like them at the moment.
5. Spend quality time with each other. I’m passionate about weekly date nights but if that’s not possible in your relationship right now look for other ways you can spend some one on one time together. Maybe it’s a 5 minute phone call during the day, or washing the dishes together in the evenings.
6. I’ve learned that I suck at budgeting/bill keeing/etc and while I fought to keep control over that area I’m so glad I’ve released it fully over to him and don’t harbor anger at him anymore while he’s working on it each week.
7. Be submissive…even if you don’t like the idea it can do wonders for your marriage.
8. Don’t try to be someone else…God made each of us differently so be the true you and not a made up version of someone else.
9. When issues/problems come up in your marriage or life, take care of them right away and don’t stuff them down deep inside. I can promise you this, once they start coming back to the surface it can and most likely will explode and be very ugly.
10. Don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong…I’m sorry, please forgive me can go a long ways.
11. You don’t always have to be right, only do the things you want or have control over everything. Life will be okay and you will survive and probably thrive if you give some or all of the control up.
12. Bite your tongue.
13. Don’t talk about your spouse behind their back…you wouldn’t like it and neither do they. The issues that I’ve needed help with I’ve only shared with my mentor…not my group of friends, Facebook or the lady in line behind me at the store.
14. Be Kind…no matter what.
15. Show your spouse respect and love. Most guys want shown respect while most of girls prefer love…which I know has caused issues for probably many of us.
16. Be a team
17. Learn to work together…it will help with number 16.
18. Let the little things go…socks on the floor, dishes left behind? These aren’t life or death things and shouldn’t be blown out of proportion.
19. If you are thinking of leaving or have all of these reasons to leave, push those thoughts aside and think about all of the good reasons you have to stay with your spouse…you’ll always be able to find at least one.
20. Don’t try and make your spouse be like you…I love a closet full of clothes while Adam prefers just a few things that he really likes. I’ve wasted lots of money on trying to fill his closet with the lastest trends when he prefers his relaxed cut jeans, tshirt and a hoodie. (And I might add he looks mighty good in his clothing choice.)
21. Play together
22. Dream and plan together for your future and support each other with their dreams and goals.
23. Don’t compare your spouse to someone else’s…we all have issues that others might not have and vice versa.
24. Surprise them with something they love…it could be their favorite candy bar, a bouquet of flowers or a weekend trip.
25. Sometimes words aren’t needed but just being by their side can be the best healing medicine.
26. Make sex a priority…I’m not talking about once a month or every other week priority either.
27. Take care of yourself…I had to put my health first in the spring so I could be a better wife and mom…it’s okay to leave for a walk or a trip to the gym or the basement to get that workout in.
28. Never stop learning new things about your spouse…you might think you know everything but I bet you’d be surprised what you can learn when you slow down and listen or pay attention to them.
29. Encourage them to spend time with their friends or go out for hobbies that they enjoy…while time together or as a family is important so are relationships with others.
30. Brag about them to your friends.
31. Take time to get dressed, do your hair and make up for them…ask if there’s an outfit or style they like you in or maybe they like your hair done a certain way. This doesn’t have to happen every day but this is a way to show them you care about what they think.
32. Taking the time for number 31 can also help out how you feel about yourself, which in turn can do great things for your self-esteem and marriage.
33. Love yourself…you are worth it.
34. At times when you can’t love yourself and might think no one else loves you, remember that God always loves you and cares for you.
35. Pray about everything…big or small.
36. Find a hobby you can learn together or both enjoy.
37. Don’t harp, nag or whine about something you want them to do.
38. Enjoy sex with each…you aren’t a sack of potatoes laying in bed.
39. Help them out around the house…maybe it’s cleaning out the cars or garage, washing a load of laundry or scrubbing the toilets.
40. Make them feel loved, wanted, cherished and needed.
41. Give them grace.
42. Make your home a place they want to be everyday.
43. No need for baggy flannel in the bedroom…have fun shopping for something that shows a little more of you.
44. You aren’t perfect and neither is your spouse.
45. Don’t give up.
46. Be patient with each other.
47. Kiss each other often.
48. Compromise when needed.
49. Laugh and cry together
50. Learn how to talk and work things out with each other.
51. Forgive one another
52. Remember you are worth fighting for, your spouse is worth fighting for and your marriage is worth fighting for. Don’t give up, don’t throw in the towel or throw your hands up and turn away from each other. It will be hard at times, you might want to scream, yell and throw punches at each other, but it will also be rewarding at times and before long you will come out stronger, braver and deeper in love with each other. Every morning wake up and choose to love each other, beat the 50% divorce rate and built your future together.
I know that some marriages can’t be saved, but after these past 52 weeks I believe that all marriages deserve a fighting chance to be saved. If your marriage is possibly crumbling around you, I want to urge you to cry out to God for it, find a trusted mentor that you can seek guidance from and start rebuilding your life together one step at a time. At times you might take 1 step forward and 2 steps back but don’t give up on each other…your marriage is worth the fight. When we were engaged and several times throughout our marriage Adam always said divorce wasn’t an option…at the start I never understood why we would even have to worry about that, we were in LOVE and that was never going to change. Then the hard times of life happened and he stood by those words and by me and I’m so thankful he did. I now understand how important that statement was to our relationship.
If you would have asked me 52 weeks ago, I would have told you this trip last month would most likely not have happened with each other…so glad we fought for each other and never gave up.