On April 6th it will be my six year wedding anniversary. I had originally planned on us taking a day trip to our favorite out of town restaurant but, we obviously can’t do that anymore. So I thought since we can’t celebrate the way I wanted, maybe I could write a tribute post for us. This way I’m at least honoring our day a little bit. So while this is a tribute write, I also wanted to make it interesting for you all to read as well. Saying that, I really hope you enjoy reading about what I have learned in the short six years of marriage I have “under my belt”.
A quick summary of how our relationship began before we get started on what I’ve learned from it.
I met my husband seven years ago. I was 17 and had just finished high school. After we put titles on our relationship, we actually only dated for seven months before we got engaged. A lot of people thought we only got married because we were pregnant, but that isn’t accurate. What we were, was young, dumb, and in love though. Also God told us to get married, and who argues with God, right? For those of you who don’t have the same beliefs as me, this part might sound crazy, but hang with me a little more. Anyways, there was only 103 days from proposal to “I do” (yes I did count just for this article).
I know what you’re thinking, “Did you just elope?” “Courthouse wedding?” No, no we did not. That might have been the smart thing to do, but we planned an entire wedding for over 200 invited guests from ceremony to reception to honeymoon in just under three and a half months. It was stressful, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but I also wouldn’t change it for the world.
We were babies.
Obviously going into marriage I felt like I knew nothing. We had such a short relationship that I didn’t fully know the man I started a life with and being only 18, I honestly didn’t even know who the person looking back at me in the mirror was yet. I was lost. I knew I loved this man. I knew this was the life I was suppose to start, but I didn’t grow up with good examples of what a healthy marriage was suppose to look like. I didn’t know what it meant to be a wife and I sure didn’t know what a good husband was suppose to look like either. To say we were a hot mess would be the understatement of the year.
Now we’ve been married for six years, and in those six years I feel like we’ve learned and grown a lot. In honor of our 6th wedding anniversary I thought I’d share the most impactful things I’ve learned along the way. By no means is this advice, God knows I am not qualified to give that, this is just the key things my marriage has taught me thus far.
How To Fight
This already sounds like we’re off on a bad note, I know. It sounds like we’re in the basement doing fight club every night, but let’s be honest, arguing is an important part of marriage. Yes, I said IMPORTANT. If you are planning on spending the rest of your life or even a significant part of life with your spouse, it’s inevitable that you guys are going to have disagreements. If you don’t disagree I’d be concerned actually. The key is though, to make sure when those moments happen, you are able handle them in the best possible way. In a way you won’t regret later.
To give you a little bit of background, I grew up in a household where fighting was the norm. I’m not talking about dumb little disagreements here and there. I’m not talking about just coming from a “loud” family, even though we were a very loud family. I am talking frequent full on screaming in your face, threats being thrown, names being called, things getting shot across the room, and straight up being hit, kind of fights. If anyone had any doubts, I thought I’d inform you, that is what a toxic environment looks like.
To go straight from a toxic environment to a healthy one was earth shattering. I literally could not comprehend what life was like not walking on eggshells all the time, because in my family of origin when you loved someone, you fought, and when you fought, it was explosive and if it wasn’t explosive, was it even a fight? I brought all that energy and baggage into our marriage. To be honest, how could I not? It was all I ever knew, but it made the transition into married life HARD. It was hard on me. It was hard on Jordan. It was hard on our marriage. Well, it was probably hard on our neighbors we shared a wall with too. If you guys are out there and ever get a chance to read this… I’m really sorry, I was learning how to be a productive, high functioning adult.
It took a long time, a lot of work, a little bit of medication, and an all powerful God for me to be able to control my anger and my need to constantly be fighting. At that point, I was able to discover that I didn’t need to fight with someone to show that I loved them and I learned that frequent explosive fights weren’t normal in a healthy relationship.
The cake was a tombstone, made by one of my best friends for my 20th birthday party. It was delicious.
Today we hardly argue, but when we do it’s usually a calm conversation and a respectful one at that. If we identify that we are getting heated about something, we just drop the conversation until we are able to separate the our emotions from the situation.
Guard Your Peace
This lesson is really an ongoing lesson for me, and something I’ve always struggled with even recently. Over the years though, I have learned how to guard my peace in several different ways and from several different influences. I have learned to guard my peace at work when I sliced my finger and had to deal with a workmans comp “investigation” and at a different job when I was working my absolute hardest but being talked down to at the same time. I learned to guard my peace with my friends when they became easily offendable and when some would low key insult my husband to my face. Lastly… for now, I had to learn to guard my peace when it came to my family of origin, like when I didn’t invite certain people to my wedding or when someone wanted to create unnecessary drama around the birth of my daughter.
It’s been a wild ride, and I bet some of you are asking yourselves what this has to do with marriage, right? Even if you aren’t, I’m going to tell you. Guarding your peace is key to setting the dynamic in your relationship. If you allow the cares and stresses of the world to penetrate your heart and influence your peace, you will carry that home with you. You know who is at home? Your spouse, and in the end it will affect how you communicate with the them. So, before you go biting their head off for cutting the lettuce the “wrong” way (been there done that) protect your peace with everything you got. They deserve more than that and so do you.
Something that helps me is journaling every single morning. I will continuously write, “I am at peace with the world” every day, because the more I confess it, the easier my subconscious is able to grasp on to the concept, resulting in it becoming my truth.
Always Push Him To Want More
My husband is a very unmotivated person by nature, and I mean that with all the love in the world. He knows he should/needs to do something but unless he has an outside source holding him accountable and pushing him for to reach for more, the probability of him getting it done is slim. He definitely enjoys being comfortable, but then God was like “okay, well here you go. *insert permanent accountability*” I’m of course referring to myself.
One of my fundamental beliefs is that anyone and everyone can do anything as long as they are willing to put in the necessary effort. You have to work hard but your dreams can and will happen if you go after them full force. Another thing I also believe is that if you are not growing then you are dying. I believe these two things with every fiber of my being. So from very early on in our relationship I always subconsciously pushed him to reach for more than just being comfortable. Let me tell you, the times he has actually gotten out of his own way and gone after something has always created the most beautiful rewards in our lives.
“You really need to move out of your dads basement” “Yeah, I know I do.” After months and months of having the same conversation, I finally tell him “Okay great, here is a list of rentals, let’s take a look at them right now and fill out some applications”
“You should just start your own construction business. Everyone tells you that your work is great and you could be really successful with it.” “Yeah I would love that but what if I can’t find work.” “You’ll never know if you don’t try. God will provide.” “Yeah I know.” After a few years of this conversation, I sat him down and said, “You’re doing this. You have to. I made you a Facebook page, so you can’t back out. It’s official.”
The most recent, “What’s your dream job?” and for the millionth time he says, “Professional video gamer, but I know you don’t like that answer.” “It’s not that I don’t like it, you just need to freaking do it instead of just talking about it. Just do it already.”
Through all these experiences I have learned that I need to believe in him when he doesn’t. I need to cheer him on when he doubts. I need to remind him to stop talking about it and take action. I need to push him for more. I’m his number one hype-man/cheerleader, and I love seeing how much he can accomplish when someone is rooting him on.
You Are A Team
I’m actually going to break this “team” concept down a little further, specifically into two different sections. It is very important for me to explain these two completely different ideas properly, so you get the big picture of what I mean when I was “You are a team”. Hopefully while addressing a couple different aspects of this concept you are able to see why and how the topics are relevant.
He is for you
Last February I was at a MOPS meeting and they had a panel of more experienced couples speaking to us and answering some questions about marriage, family, and kids. It was actually a really cool meeting. As I was listening to all the wisdom they were sharing I caught on to something that was said. This has really stuck with me too, but to this day I cannot, for the life of me, remember what the original question was that prompted this, but she said, “He is for you. Your husband is for you. He isn’t against you at all. He is on your side.” I may not have quoted that perfectly but you get the idea.
Feat. Our Juniper journey
At the time I didn’t think much of it. I actually remember thinking, “Well duh he’s for me, he’s my husband.” but there was something in her voice. There was something about those words. There was something I just couldn’t get out of my head, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I thought about that specific moment in time frequently in the weeks to follow, and the more I thought about it the clearer it became. Yes, my husband is for me and I realize that now, but how long have I felt that way? I haven’t always felt like he was on my side. When we were first married and I was picking fights about anything and everything I could, I definitely didn’t think he was for me. Remember now, I was still in “walk on eggshells” mode, so in my young baby Mallory head my husband WAS enemy number one.
It actually took me a few years to fully understand that my husband didn’t want any harm done against me. My husband was for me not against me. He was suppose to be (and is) my number one cheerleader. He had no hidden agenda. He had no sinister plot against me. He wasn’t sitting in a back room keeping track of all my wrongdoings just to use them against me in the future. He wanted to love me. He wanted to care for me. He wanted to do life with ME, and that’s exactly how it should be.
If you’re like me you grew up going to a local Lutheran church in your little hometown. You didn’t understand everything being taught and you especially didn’t understand everything the adults were saying, though I do have my suspicions that some of the adults didn’t understand what they were saying either. If you did grow up that way I’m sure you are familiar with the saying, “Wives submit yourselves to your husbands.” If you have never heard of that saying I probably just shook your world.
As I grew up without a healthy relationship to model, well anything after, I started to hear this saying being tossed around more and more, and I wanted to know what it meant. It became especially important to me as my wedding day drew closer. I don’t know why but six years ago baby Mallory decided that understanding this one part of scripture would make me a good wife. It took a little time but I eventually decided that it must mean that Jordan gets to make all the decision about everything for the rest of our lives and essentially, my opinion wasn’t needed. God bless my little heart and naive thoughts. In case anyone is wondering that idea was only played out once and didn’t even make it to the wedding day.
My opinion matters in our marriage, in our household, in our finances, in our everything. I matter. God gave me to Jordan to help him and God gave Jordan to me to help me. We are equal and both of our opinions count, because you know what? He’s going to think things I never would have considered. Just like, I’m going to look at things from an angle he wouldn’t have thought was possible. To me, marriage is about helping each other be the best possible versions of yourselves. If Jordan was the only one who got a choice on anything and I was just along for the ride, why would God want us to get married? Wouldn’t Jordan be able to do everything he wanted a whole lot easier if he was single? And vice versa? We are equal partners made to build each other up and challenge each other to go to heights we never dreamed of.
I think this might help some of you right now too, so here you go…
“The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.”1 Peter 3:7 MSG
Like I said at the beginning, this article is definitely not intended to be advice. What you’ve read here is just what I’ve learned along our short six year journey together. Either way I hope you enjoyed reading this tribute to my husband and the six wonderful years we’ve been married.
I love you, Jordan, with all my heart and I’m so proud of the person you’ve become and the life we have formed. God really knew what he was doing when he gave me you. The patience you have shown me thus far and the grace you’ve extended to me is an incredible thing that not many people get the opportunity to experience. I cherish you, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of our story has to hold.
“…But forever you and I will be the ones who found out what forever means…” 04.06.14
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