I am calling us the in betweeners! We are somehow in-between. We are passed the honey moon, googly eyes, goose bumps, can’t wait to see each other, and can’t keep our hands off one another phase. Yet, we are not at the married for 25 years, renewing our vows, super in tune, reading one another’s minds and anticipating unspoken needs. We are somewhere in between.
We are starting a business, while employed by soul-crushing, unreasonable dictators. We are changing nappies, fighting about who’s going to wash the dishes, arguing about who is the worse driver, and who’s mother we owe an overdue visit to more. We are struggling to make ends meet, juggling multiple commitments. Most days the romance is faded. It’s “take your kids and leave me alone” moments more often than I would like to admit. Some days you want to run away. Luckily these days are scarce. But the truth is, these days exist. And they feel really bad.
For some reason I have this expectation that marriage could be heaven on earth. In the back of my mind this is a thought that is just stuck there. I heard it somewhere and I believe it. This is ordained by God. Marriage is His idea after all. Yet all around us, couples are battling to “leave and cleave”. All the outside influences and inside pressures can take a toll. It can take away from the joy filled, hopeful, power-couple you start off as.
I have come up with five things that you can do today to create the married life you dream of;
1. Call him what you want him to be
At a point when I had a hard time finding anything sweet or lovely about the man I married, I started calling him these two very intentional names ; “honey and sweetie”. At the time, this seemed counter intuitive. It felt downright odd. However, over the course of a few weeks, he started acting strangely sweet. He became oddly thoughtful. He began to anticipate what I needed in order to get a smile out of me. He was determined to live up to the name, “sweetie”.
2. Make your needs known
As obvious as you might think it is that you need help. That you need to take a bath or even a nap, that you cannot get to all the cooking, cleaning, work, ministry, studying, household chores, after school activities and homework in the 24 hours you’ve been given, you will still have to “spell-it-out”. Tell your husband exactly what you need him to do. Be it do the dishes, bath the girls, check homework, buy take aways, or read bedtime stories so that you can answer emails. Be specific. Verbalize it.
3. Support his vision and dreams
As wives we are called helpers. That’s what the Bible calls us. If you have a “strong personality” or low tolerance for the “work in progress”, it’s easier said than done. But having your husband’s back is a awesome principle to start implementing immediately. Whether he dreams of playing music full time, starting his own business, preaching, writing a book. Be his chearleader. Be his safe place. Work together towards making these things a reality.
4. Get a life
Literally, please, get a life. Find what interests you. What is your purpose. What makes you feel fulfilled and pursue it. What can you be excited to get out of bed and do every day. You can not be a good “better half” if you have nothing going for you. The reason this is so important to me is because I was literally the most boring person I knew. In case you didn’t know, if you have nothing to do and nowhere to go, you are tremendously draining and needy. As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
5. Prayer, prayer and more prayer
Soak your husband in prayer. Pray for your kids. Pray for your marriage. Bring your marriage before God daily. In fact, do it more than twice a day. Do it as often as it comes to mind. This way, you invite God into your marriage. Allow Him to be a part of what you are building and give Him unrestricted access. Complain about your husband to God. Instead of talking about the problem to outsiders, talk to God, who is the only one with the power to change your husband and even your own heart and broken places, from the inside out.
Remember, you are not alone. Being a wife or husband and a parent is not as easy as it looks from the outside looking in.
I hope these five tips help you on your journey to creating the marriage of your dreams.