There is so much to say on this topic alone but I’ll uncover just a few ways Dre and I have been able to make our marriage last for 10 years this May.
We have certainly had our fair share of ups and downs as well as tragedy and triumph. The mundane became the norm and the love between us has faltered at times. It’s no lie that marriage is a ministry and that it cannot be taken lightly. But, if I had it to do all over again, I would.
Here are a few things I’ve learned to do throughout the years as not just a married couple but as a wife and mom of three.
First, help yourself!
You know when you’re on the airplane and the stewardess explains to you that in case of cabin pressure loss, you need to secure your own mask first before assisting others? That’s true in life and especially in marriage.
Now, fair warning, I am not talking about a marriage that suffers from infidelity, abuse or any other unnatural ups and downs in marriage. I would never advocate for you to check yourself first if you’re a victim. That’s another issue that reaches far more into help than what I can offer.
But, for those of us who are just having a hard time, or can’t seem to get on the same page with our spouse or are just having a moment of unlovingness, this is for you.
Secure your mask first.
What are you doing in this marriage to encourage the life you want to live? What exactly is your responsibility for making the changes necessary? I’m not talking about what he does or what she does… what do you do to make it better?
I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in right or wrong that we can lose sight of our own humanity. None of us are completely right or completely wrong so it is up to us as a mature adult to self reflect and figure out what our part in the mess is to begin with.
For me, I had to ask myself, truthfully, what do you want? What do I hope will happen? And then I had to find a way to make that happen for myself. Did I want to be touched more, appreciated more, pampered more… what? And so, I did the things I saw necessary to make even the smallest things make me feel better.
I bought face masks, I took baths, I relaxed, I got help with the cleaning in the house, I told myself I was doing a great job, I started a morning routine, I started to wake up earlier and so forth.
I could not hold my husband responsible for the things I wanted that I wasn’t even willing to do for myself. So, for the first step, I suggest that you just put your own mask on first before trying to point the finger elsewhere.
To my surprise, it was working. I was more at peace with the ebs and flows of life because even the smallest thing I did for myself, made me feel good.
Next, you must talk to God to see what He wants you to do.
I asked God in my morning devotion and prayer to show me, me. Show me what I can do to fix this, change this or help this situation. And, He did! He showed me how I was playing a part in the arguing that had come about and He showed me who I needed to be for my husband during these difficult times we were having. (SN we collectively have lost 4 black men to murder, suicide and sudden death within 18 months and it was putting a strain on our marriage just from the sheer exhaustion of pain we both were experiencing. More on that another time…)
So, I asked the Lord to guide me to me and to help me be the helpmate that He has called me to be. It suddenly brought more peace to our house and I don’t think we’ve argued since then. That was over a year ago.
When it came to the arguing that was happening with us I had to learn not to press the issue and demand to talk about it. It seems counterproductive, but it’s honestly nothing harder than trying to get a man to talk about something that he can’t even fully articulate himself.
I was running myself ragged trying to be a silent help, trying to be a vocal help, trying to just be around and in reality, I needed to just let peace be still and be a helpmate and not a force-mate. Everyone is not ready to talk about what you want to talk about, right when you want to talk. That’s not reality. Selfishness has no room in marriage. This is a selfless ministry that we are joined in and once I came to that conclusion, things were instantly better.
I was advised by a pastor and his wife to read this book and it really changed the game. I would gladly advise or encourage anyone in a relationship to read it for a better understanding of yourself and you.
There’s the golden rule also… Do unto others as you want them to do unto you…
There were several times I had to look at this thing from another perspective. I want him to fill in the blank so I will xyz to him first. That takes time to get to but it’s not that hard of a concept to adopt. If you want to get kissed more, kiss him more. If you want to go on dates more, then plan the dates… etc. It’s easier said than done for sure but it still can be done. Then, a transformation is bound to happen.
My husbands tips for making it to 10 years in marriage are to not take everything so seriously and to enjoy each other when and how you can.
I firmly believe that when we look at things from a temporary standpoint, which many things are, then we can truly enjoy and appreciate what we have right now.
The reality is that you have someone that loves you. You have a partner in this life that is willing to love you and to be there for you. You have someone that can share the difficulties in life with you and this thing that has a hold on your marriage right now or when you start to feel like the love is waining, just try to remember these things. If you left this relationship, would you be happier without them? Would going into another relationship just continue to bring up issues? Yes. It’s going to be some downsides to marriage no matter who you’re with. So, it’s so worth it to work on this one, with the one you’ve promised yourself to and to hold on to what is temporary anyway, for as long as you can.
Stay the course, stay together and work on you! Love will always return, follow and grow as long as you do.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV